Tuesday, 22 February 2011

CURING HICCUPS WITH SMALL FIRES


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Title: CURING HICCUPS WITH SMALL FIRES
Author: KARL SHAW
Dr Samuel Johnson is said to have shaved off all his bodily hair just to see how long it would take to grow back. The poet Shelley once tied a cat to a kite in a thunderstorm to see if it would be electrocuted. Spencer Cavendish, Eighth Duke of Devonshire, once related an experience he had at Westminster: 'I had a horrid nightmare. I dreamed I was making a speech in the House of Lords and woke up to find I actually was.' The English aristocrat John 'Mad Jack' Mytton died a bloated, paralysed and penniless debtor in prison. His premature demise was partly due to injuries sustained while setting fire to his own nightshirt to try to cure hiccups. It worked! Here in a delightful miscellany of great British eccentrics are over 200 aristocrats, inventors, artists and just plain weirdoes. An 18th century French scholar once attributed the British talent for eccentricity to a 'mixture of fogs, beef and beer…aggravated by the tedium of an English Sunday.' Do we agree? Much fun to be had in 298pp in paperback.
Published Price: £10.99
BIBLIOPHILE PRICE: £3.50

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