Thursday, May 22, 2008

Man-of-letterish qualities

At the TLS, John Gross appealingly brings to life an aside in Stefan Collini's new book:
An otherwise admirable account of The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is perhaps a shade too chummy (“I feel no inclination to ‘nag’”), but to compensate for this there is a hilarious excursion of several pages in which Collini recounts his adventures tapping selected phrases into the ODNB’s online search engine – “forceful personality”, for example, or “insufferable bore” – and seeing what comes up. He has virtually invented a new computer game.

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