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MannyRayner

Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten
Les Onze Milles Verges: Or the Amorous Adventures of Prince Mony Vibescu (Peter Owen Modern Classics) - Guillaume Apollinaire I was introduced to Les onze mille verges by Matthew, who ought to be ashamed of himself. You'll recall that Socrates was put to death for corrupting the youth of Athens. I don't know what they did to youths who were found guilty of corrupting the middle-aged, but I'm sure it was very nasty.

I decided after mature reflection that I wasn't up the task of reviewing M. Appolinaire's masterpiece - though I will point out, for people who don't know French, that the title is a pun on Les onze mille vierges. There is, as one might put it, an iota of difference. Since this is pretty much all I'm prepared to say about the book, I will hand over without further ado to my guest reviewer, Professor Tom Lehrer. If you want to hear him live, he's on YouTube; for example, try this link

Take it away, Tom!

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I do have a cause though. It is obscenity. I'm for it. Unfortunately the civil liberties types who are fighting this issue have to fight it owing to the nature of the laws as a matter of freedom of speech and stifling of free expression and so on but we know what's really involved: dirty books are fun. That's all there is to it. But you can't get up in a court and say that I suppose. It's simply a matter of freedom of pleasure, a right which is not guaranteed by the Constitution unfortunately. Anyway, since people seem to be marching for their causes these days I have here a march for mine. It's called...

Smut!
Give me smut and nothing but!
A dirty novel I can't shut,
If it's uncut,
and unsubt-
le.

I've never quibbled
If it was ribald,
I would devour where others merely nibbled.
As the judge remarked the day that he
acquitted my Aunt Hortense,
"To be smut
It must be ut-
terly without redeeming social importance."

Por-
nographic pictures I adore.
Indecent magazines galore,
I like them more
If they're hard core.

(Bring on the obscene movies, murals, postcards, neckties,
samplers, stained-glass windows, tattoos, anything!
More, more, I'm still not satisfied!)

Stories of tortures
Used by debauchers,
Lurid, licentious, and vile,
Make me smile.
Novels that pander
To my taste for candor
Give me a pleasure sublime.
(Let's face it, I love slime.)

All books can be indecent books
Though recent books are bolder,
For filth (I'm glad to say) is in
the mind of the beholder.
When correctly viewed,
Everything is lewd.
(I could tell you things about Peter Pan,
And the Wizard of Oz, there's a dirty old man!)

I thrill
To any book like Fanny Hill,
And I suppose I always will,
If it is swill
And really fil
thy.

Who needs a hobby like tennis or philately?
I've got a hobby: rereading Lady Chatterley.
But now they're trying to take it all
away from us unless
We take a stand, and hand in hand
we fight for freedom of the press.
In other words,

Smut! (I love it)
Ah, the adventures of a slut.
Oh, I'm a market they can't glut,
I don't know what
Compares with smut.

Hip hip hooray!
Let's hear it for the Supreme Court!
Don't let them take it away!