views, reviews and previews
CLUB TO CATWALK
London Fashion in the 1980s
Victoria and Albert Museum
10 July 2013–14 February 2014
OCTOBER IS the cruellest month for the exhibition reviewer. Copy is submitted by the 5th of the previous month and many shows close in early September to be replaced in mid-October. Do the math, as my nephew says, and that makes October and November editions hard to cater for. Hence the time-honoured tactic of writing a guide to future shows. And I am looking forward to Chinese painting at the Victoria and Albert (from 26 October, so that’s December’s ND), late Viennese Painting at the National Gallery (from 9 October, so that’s also December), and Paul Klee at Tate Modern (from 16 October, better make that January).
In the meantime, the nearest to fresh meat is the Victoria and Albert’s ‘Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s.’ I went to this on the Terentian principle of ‘nihil humanum mihi alienum est’ and in the sure and certain hope that if the show didn’t work out the V&A has some very fine porcelain which is worth spending time with. And the exhibition is limited. It shows Eighties club and fashion garments on tailors’ dummies and there are some videos of clubs and catwalks, all expounded by the obligatory – and perfectly good – accompanying notes. Since the clothes were designed to be worn and shown off big time, they are not that interesting except to fashion professionals.
What is much more interesting for outsiders is the history of the emerging club scene. For most of the period covered by the exhibition I lived a couple of miles away from the hotspots of Billy’s, Club for Heroes and Heaven. Newsstands were selling the new magazines i-D and Blitz. The New Romantic and High Camp (a technical term) styles were in fashion. The boring old City of London was then undergoing its fastest ever expansion and the corruption of practice which led to the worst depression since the 1930s but the centre of the universe was actually a group of ‘fashion designers, musicians...dancers and filmmakers’ out of St Martin’s and the Royal College of Art.
The links then forged between music, clubs and catwalk have continued to impact on our culture, and on our Church too – the generation Christians need to bring to God is a generation which goes clubbing more than pubbing. This show helps explain how the clubbing culture took off, led by the hedonistic gay and Ibiza scenes with Warhol’s Studio 54 in the background. Its story is told in fashion terms so that it is coy about the impact of AIDS and drug-taking on the longevity of the leaders of the scene. And it would have required a bigger show to deal with how the impoverished punk protesters against the Fashion Establishment became a wealthy part of that Establishment. There are hints though. The use of modern fabrics and the sheer hard work it took to design and make the look suggest that when it came to clothes these designers took their work just as seriously as any other dedicated worker. And like Oscar Wilde, John Galliano and other leaders of fashion were works of art in themselves.
This show, though it is aggressively self-regarding, does suggest the power of Fashion to shape lives when allied to wider social trends, in this case the availability of drugs, rising prosperity across all classes and highly developed leisure and garment industries. And the sheer strength of these kinds of trends is something the Church has struggled with ever since St Paul argued with his ladies in Corinth about how they should wear their hair.
Anyone not tempted by the dreams or thoughts this show provokes might explore the Oriental collections of the V&A with their emphasis on timeless beauty. The land of the National Living Treasure still produces wonderful craft which is not there to show off the maker. But even here dangers lurk. The Museum buys contemporary Japanese work, not just pots but also youthwear, notably the so-called ‘Rococo’ style which readers will be familiar with from Nakashima’s ‘Kamikaze Girls.’ Tokyo was one of the first cities where the new wave of London designers broke through in the Eighties, and it shows. There is no escape from the stars of ‘Club to Catwalk.’
An Advent Course in Four Sessions
York Courses, Booklet, CD
and transcript booklet
978 1909107007, for price and other details see <www.yorkcourses.co.uk>
THIS IS the latest offering from the respected York Courses. As usual it consists of a CD, a transcript of the CD and an accompanying course booklet. The format is a simple one of a relaxed conversation between Canon Simon Stanley, the co-founder of York Courses, and Bishop David Wilbourne. Bishop David was chaplain to three Archbishops of York (including David Hope), a parish priest, and is now Assistant Bishop of Llandaff.
The course is designed to help individuals or groups of Christians to examine how they can ‘Expect Christ’ this coming Advent. However, I would have thought that it could be used as a teaching aid at any time of the year.
The course is split into four sessions. Session one is ‘Expecting Christ in Family’. The second is ‘Expecting Christ in Me’. The third is ‘Expecting Christ in Prayer’ and the fourth, ‘Expecting Christ in the End’.
Bishop Wilbourne is an engaging speaker whose spiritual and theological style reflects his wide experience of priestly ministry coupled with his refreshing ability to laugh at himself!
Included in the conversation are the voices of four people who contribute their own experiences of being Christians who are trying to ‘Expect Christ’. At the end of each session there are some appropriate Bible readings and questions for people to discuss.
The first session makes the point that family is not a helpful concept for those whose personal experience of ‘family’ has been abusive or simply unhappy. He is at pains to say that he is talking about how we can ‘Expect Christ’ in our human relationships.
He begins by examining the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and works his way through a number of uncomfortable examples of how God appears to ask human parents to do terrible things to their families. Moving to the New Testament, Bishop Wilbourne does a Bible study on the sayings of Jesus in Luke 14.26 where he appears to be telling his followers that they have to hate their families.
He develops this theme by challenging us to reflect about what it means to be in a family. He concludes this session with two quotations that I love. The first is from a former Dean of Durham who quipped: ‘When Jesus told us to love our enemies, he was good enough to give us relatives to practice on!’ The second is a challenge to each of us: ‘What of Christ have I seen in those around me this day? And what of Christ have those around me seen in me?’
In the second session the bishop’s starting point is that he loves cycling, mathematics and mending things. Using these facts about himself, he invites us to look at how we open ourselves to God, how we understand who God is (and what he wants from us) and how we can accept that at the heart of Christianity is the fact that nothing, however broken, can be separated from God’s love. Or as he puts it: ‘everything is resurrectable’.
The third session moves up a gear. Starting by saying that ‘after 30 years of ministry, I am absolutely appalled.... how hopeless I am at prayer!’ Bishop Wilbourne then goes on to show just how his life and ministry is steeped in and underpinned by conversations with God.
I will not spoil the joy of listening to or reading this session – it really is too good to try to describe – by saying any more about it here, but I want to leave this session with the image of Orthodox Jews, at any act of worship, having a person waiting at the synagogue door to watch out for the Messiah – or as we Christians might say, ‘Expecting Christ in Prayer’!
The final session starts with the question, ‘how is it all going to end?’ Bishop Wilbourne examines how we are good at beginnings and middles, but tend to run out of steam by the end. However, he reminds us that the Gospel starts at good endings like Golgothas, Resurrections and Ascensions – prodigal sons, good Samaritans, Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus.
Reflecting on his own father’s death, he asks that God will bless all of us who dare to pick ourselves up after our personal crucifixions and dare to expect resurrection. Again he has a masterful way of finding words to end each session by saying of the words at the end of a mass, ‘Go in peace’, that in New Testament Greek it actually reads: ‘Go into peace’. ‘Which is go into Christ’s peace, both at your start and your end and all the stops in between.’
I thoroughly recommend this course for this Advent, either for yourself or for a parish group.
WITH SAINT JOHN OF AVILA
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Denise Clare Oliver
Gracewing, 176pp, pbk
978 0852447666, £9.99
IN THE final months of his Pontificate, on 7 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI declared St John of Avila, together with Hildegard of Bingham, Doctors of the Church. Arguably because of her music Hildegard is at least a name to many, while John remains largely unknown outside Spain.
Denise Oliver’s short exploration of his life and teaching is therefore both timely and helpful, especially for those wanting to know why ‘the Apostle of Andalusia’ has been so elevated as the 34th Doctor of the Catholic Church.
John was born in sixteenth-century Spain, of a wealthy, pious conversos (converts from Judaism) family and from his early years was drawn to a life of prayer and penitence. Stories are told that from a young age he had a great love of God and despite his parents’ desire for him to become a lawyer he eventually gained their consent to offer himself for the priesthood. (This had included living for three years as hermit in the family home, largely on bread and water and sleeping on a plank of wood!)
Among his writings, perhaps the best known is his ‘Audi, filia’ (Listen, O daughter) a manual of spiritual direction for a young woman seeking to walk unencumbered in the way of Christ. As John explained, ‘The purpose of the book is to give some Christian instructions and rules for beginners in God’s service...’
John, however, delivers far more, and his insights into the spiritual life, lived within the framework of the Catholic Church, were to have a profound influence on the Council of Trent and on generations of clergy and religious.
Denise Oliver rightly relies heavily on the ‘Audi, filia’ as she helps the reader first to enter into the world of sixteenth-century Spanish spirituality and then find those nuggets of gold that are as helpful now as they were in John’s own time.
For most of his ministry our Saint was a diocesan priest, ministering to his congregation, and engaged in the everyday duties of parish life, celebrating the Eucharist, hearing confessions, visiting and teaching. But he also had a zeal for renewal, both for individual Christians and most especially for those called to the sacred priesthood. John founded schools and colleges and at any one time there were a hundred priests or more who looked to him for spiritual direction and support. Many were to find themselves subsequently drawn into joining and enriching the newly constituted Society of Jesus.
Perhaps most significantly of all, John had a profound influence on such spiritual giants as St Francis Borgia, St John of God, St Peter of Alcantara, St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross.
As Denise Oliver gently guides us through John’s teaching and advice for progress in the spiritual life we can see how influential his writings have been especially on St Teresa of Avila and then on John of the Cross.
So, for example from one of John of Avila’s letters: A‘ large fire is increased, rather than quenched by the wind, so, though a weak love of God is, like a candle, easily extinguished by the first puff of air, yet true charity gains force and courage by its trials. This is the fire which comes down from heaven, which no water of tribulation can extinguish.’
And so when St Teresa was desperately trying to find someone to affirm that her locutions were authentic, it was to John of Avila that she turned for help and support. She explained in ‘The Book of Her Life’ all that was happening in her prayer life and it is a gift to us that her autobiography has survived and that St John wholeheartedly confirmed her experiences.
Denise Oliver has done an excellent job in introducing St John of Avila to a wider audience.
I for one found myself reaching again for my copy of his ‘Audi, filia’, marvelling afresh at his profound spiritual knowledge and encouraging advice for progress in the way of faith.
Pope Benedict XVI, in declaring him a Doctor of the Church, wisely described John of Avila as ‘a pioneer
in pointing to the universal call for holiness’. The Apostle of Andalusia’s teaching is as relevant, urgent and necessary today as it was in sixteenth-century Spain.
+ Norman Richborough
IN THE CHURCH
OF ENGLAND 1857-1957
Timothy Willem Jones OUP, 240pp, hbk
978 019965510-6, £55
I RECENTLY read again Death in Holy Orders, the murder mystery by P.D. James set in an Anglican theological college. One of the detectives is known to have studied theology at Oxford (as it gave him a better chance of admission than the history degree which he would have preferred). His colleagues are puzzled by the practical purpose of such a qualification, but he chooses not to share with them his chief gain from his studies: ‘a fascination with the complexity of the intellectual bastions which men could construct to withstand the tides of disbelief’.
Sexual Politics in the Church of England 1857–1957 is an important book which sheds much light on contemporary disagreements within the Church, but it appears to begin from a premise not dissimilar from that of James’ fictional detective; so that when Timothy Willem Jones writes (for example) that certain aspects of nineteenth-century Anglo-Catholic views on marriage might sound ‘faintly ridiculous to a modern ear’, one suspects that the author is rather more in sympathy with this proposition than an objective and impartial historian ought to be. Of course, the author may turn round and say that I am disqualified from writing an impartial review, since I am unable to escape from my own starting premise that Christianity as revealed in the Scriptures and developed and taught by the tradition of the Church is fundamentally true. Be that as it may. Notions like the ‘symbol system’ of Anglo-Catholics, and phrases such as ‘Christ’s power was gendered and sexualised’ are very much the order of the day here. This can make for uncomfortable reading for orthodox Christians, as well as more traditional historians.
Does all of this mean that the book is unimportant, uninteresting, or irrelevant? Fortunately, it does not. Indeed, while making no bones of the fact that I disagree with quite a lot of it, I am still able to say that this book is an important and engaging study which (aside from its purely historical significance) has much to offer Anglicans of all varieties as we continue to struggle with the complex area of sexual politics in the twenty-first century.
For example, the chapter on the ordination of women should be read by anyone who has an interest in today’s debates on the subject. It makes explicitly clear the trajectory of the arguments in favour, not least in the implicit understanding that priesthood is akin to professions such as medicine and the law, which were rapidly being opened up to women practitioners in the first half of the twentieth century. When priesthood is viewed in this light, then naturally objections to the ordination of women do indeed look rather flimsy.
The rest of the chapter on the ordination of women is highly problematic. Jones repeatedly asserts that opponents did not have logical or coherent theological justification for their arguments, before giving details of precisely what those arguments were! He claims that Scripture and tradition played a surprisingly small role in the debate, before acknowledging that the point was made that the ordination of women had never been known in any of the mainstream Christian churches, and would without doubt hinder reunion with Rome. And while some of the arguments against the ordination of women are undoubtedly unwelcome to twenty-first-century minds (Jones quotes many of these at length) his suggestion that the then Warden of Keble College in particular, and opponents of women’s ordination in general, were de facto guilty of sadomasochism, strikes me as being a little fanciful, to say the least.
When Jones does mention the principled arguments against the ordination of women, he dismisses them as being ‘seen to be in some way theologically significant’. In short, too much of this chapter veers perilously close to caricature for it to have much of a claim to historical objectivity. Indeed, the author makes his own position clear in the last paragraph of the book, where he concludes that while ‘the maintenance of a sex-bar in the episcopate enshrines sexual subjugation in the Church’ the eventual ordination of women to the episcopate will ‘remove one of the last major symbols of sexual subordination from the British religious imagination’. Perhaps Jones’ discussion of this matter is of more significance as polemic than as history?
In his treatment of women religious (by which he means both sisterhoods and the deaconess movement), the author shares the outlook common among almost all recent historical commentators which sees sisterhoods as proto-feminist organizations rather than spiritual or vocational ones (thus he writes of the possibility of a ‘career’ in a sisterhood), though he is less sanguine than other historians as to their success in this field, arguing that by enabling middle-class women to undertake work traditionally carried out by working-class women, religious communities transgressed class boundaries but not gender ones.
In the chapter on ‘Sex and suffrage’ Jones both outlines the growth of women’s suffrage within the representative and legislative bodies of the Church, and postulates a correlation between ‘political suffrage’ and ‘sacerdotal status’. In the chapter on ‘Contraception, sex and pleasure’, he sees as crucial for subsequent developments the separation
between reproduction and sex which was implicit in the 1930 Lambeth Conference’s cautious acceptance of contraception. This is a significant point: Jones demonstrates how even the cautious acknowledgement that mutual pleasure within (married) sexual relationships is God-given and to be celebrated paved the way for further realignments in the church’s teaching on sexuality in subsequent years; realignments which are still causing controversy now as the Church struggles with how to respond to the innovation by the state of gay marriage.
Finally, the chapter on celibacy and homosexuality concludes that the first half of the twentieth century saw
celibacy being increasingly explicitly associated with homosexuality, but for the most part in a ‘remarkably positive’ way: ‘both in supporting gay law reform, and institutionally accommodating homosexuals the Church of England of the 1950s was thus surprisingly ahead of its time’.
Sexual Politics in the Church of England is an engaging and important book with much to teach us, not least in its conclusion that the Church of England has been ‘grappling with its understanding of sex’ since the 1850s, and for much of that time has been ‘at the forefront of social change in the areas of gender and sexuality’. However, it is undermined by three systemic flaws.
The first is confusion between ‘Church of England’ and ‘Anglican Communion’. The book’s title claims to address the former, but much of the evidence is taken from Lambeth Conferences, which naturally brings in pan-Anglican material.
The second weakness is a general eagerness to identify Evangelicals with liberal social thought, and Anglo-Catholics with conservative social thought; and a concurrent keenness to label people, sometimes inappropriately. The descriptions of Charles Gore as ‘conservative Anglo-Catholic bishop’ and ‘aging patriarch of Anglo-Catholicism’ would probably not have been welcomed either by Gore or by the Anglo-Catholics from whom he had in many ways diverged by the 1920s and early 30s.
Finally, and most worryingly, Jones cannot conceal his dislike of the conservative (= Anglo-Catholic) subjects of much of his book. ‘Hysterical’ and ‘outrageous’ are among the epithets thrown at their views. This may or may not be justified, but if and when it is true, then surely the views being quoted would speak for themselves?
The editorializing to which he is prone only undermines Jones’
objectivity and credibility.
In short, Jones is far more adept at dealing with the sexual politics side of things than he is with the Church of England which he has chosen to be the locus for his study. But there is still much to be learned – and enjoyed – by reading this book, and it is to be hoped that a paperback edition will make it more widely accessible in the future.
LOVE IS HIS MEANING
The Impact of Julian of Norwich
Gracewing, 148pp, pbk
978 0852448182, £7.99
JOHN SKINNER claims to have published a ‘modern English translation, using inclusive language while still retaining the rhythmic lilt of Julian’s Middle English’. He describes the 1901 edition by Grace Warrack as ‘seminal... in spite of her favouring archaic English...a mannerism that lasted into the twentieth century’. There are assumptions here that I do not share, and do I detect a degree of self-satisfaction? Some would not care for the term ‘mannerism’ in this context, and would be repelled by the very idea of ‘inclusive language’. Some, perhaps, would not mind having a stab at the Middle English as conveying an authentic taste of what was originally written.
Having said that, it must be acknowledged that Skinner’s quotations from Lady Julian (and from his own translation) are ‘generous’ and do have a rather pleasing lilt and clarity about them. This book is worthy of careful attention. It may still be worth asking what makes a ‘great mystic’. It is also permissible to ask what a mystic is and how we are to be sure that mystical writing might not conceivably be a sort of spiritual fiction. Skinner’s references to Julian’s ‘theology’ might seem to make this a possibility, though still richly valuable. Three things, it appears to me, make Julian’s work what would now be termed ‘self-authenticating’. First is the dreadful illness she suffered,
which all around her believed to be terminal, and from which she seemingly miraculously recovered. Another is that people came, some from far afield as well as locally, to consult this holy woman. Then, too, the study of her revelations or ‘showings’ has grown from relatively quiet beginnings to an international reverence in all churches, which can only be further increased by publications like the one under review.
Love Is His Meaning starts in the middle, which may seem an odd place to start, but the author tells us that for twenty years after the appearances of Jesus to Julian she mulled over what she had been shown and told. ‘Every inch a woman’, she followed a winding way through the showings until eventually she had sorted out the many-layered meanings to her satisfaction and wrote the first ‘book’ by an English woman. Skinner examines to some extent her remarkable English style, rhythmical and allusive. For instance, she relishes the work ‘overpass’ as a sort of pun on ‘Passover’. Gradually we are given the key concept, that God pities us sinners in an earthly sense; yet at the same time rejoices with us for the divine love he is going to give us in heaven, waiting for us to run like his children into his loving arms.
One thing in the book I would dispute. The author complains that C.S. Lewis described Lady Julian’s writings (in a letter to a friend) as ‘a dangerous book’, and he speculates that Lewis was afraid that if he had read it much earlier it would have changed his life. This is not a charitable speculation. In Lewis’s Letters to Malcolm, he himself makes a better suggestion: the danger is more that people with no calling to mysticism might be tempted to experiment with it and find themselves face to face with much more unpleasant company than they had hoped for. Julian saw the same ‘danger’ and advised that most of her ‘even Christians’ should not dabble in mysticism but stick faithfully to the teachings of mother Church, happy in the knowledge that all prayer is initiated by God the Holy Trinity.
This review has provided little detail of the showings themselves: that and
their careful explication is what Skinner’s book is about. I hope that this
understanding of the Gospel will be as attractive to others as to me.
THE CALL TO HOSPITALITY
The Origins of the Hospitaller Vocation
Mark Turnham Elvins
Gracewing, 167pp, pbk
978 0852448168, £12.99
ONE MIGHT understandably not wish to pay £13 for what is a very slim paperback, nor indeed to purchase a title seemingly so specific in its subject matter. But Fr Elvins has, in The Call to Hospitality, written what is really a very good book. The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (more commonly, the Order of Malta) celebrate this year their nine-hundredth anniversary of foundation, and perhaps The Call to Hospitality was commissioned by the Order to commemorate this. But really only two or three chapters of the book deal specifically with the history of the Order, and these are evidently well-researched and well-presented. However, what makes this such an interesting read is Elvins’ description of the theological origins of the religious vocation to hospitality, alongside a socio-historical commentary on that vocation’s outworking, particularly in this land. At times this latter material ventures too far into anti-Protestant polemic, but the author nonetheless writes persuasively on the calamitous consequences of the Dissolution of the monasteries and the inadequacy of subsequent legislation (including the establishment of the modern welfare state) designed to ensure the care of the poor. Elvins considers the fundamental principles of Christian morality in respect of the treatment of strangers and the disadvantaged, beginning with the social duties laid down by Jewish law, and moving through the Gospels and the practice of the early Church to the situation of the poor in patristic writings. It was moving to learn of St Augustine that on the anniversary of his ordination he would throw a banquet for the poor. Elvins reminds us that the growth of the early Church was due in significant part to the Christians’ reputation for generous hospitality – doubtless a lesson to be re-appreciated in our own day. The Gospel ‘preference for the poor’ was given concrete embodiment in the ministry of the Hospitallers, who were instructed to address those in their care as ‘My Lords the sick’ and ‘My Lords the poor’. Patients also dined off silver plates and drank from silver goblets: to Elvins this ‘indicates the seriousness with which the Order regarded its ideal of treating the sick as Lords, but given the antiseptic character of silver it had a hygienic purpose as well.’ On entering the Hospital, the Order’s Grand Master and its officers ‘would lay aside their rank and...as simple brothers...assist where they could.’ Should it prove desirable, Elvins could profitably expand this work beyond its one hundred and seventy pages. There is an extensive bibliography, and the text is elegantly typeset. In his foreword, Fra’ Matthew Festing, the Order’s current Grand Master, suggests that ‘this work will prove to be an influence of great interest for those who feel themselves ready to respond to The Call to Hospitality’: this title is not simply a documentary of Christian service of the poor or a commemorative history of the Order of Malta – it is also a compelling demand to rediscover the priority of hospitality in Christian life, a call the modern Church ignores at its peril.
RULES FOR REVERENDS
Jeremy Fletcher and
BRF, 160pp, pbk
978 1841016573, £6.99
ONE WINTER’S evening, Jeremy Fletcher was looking for a house to do a baptism visit. It occurred to him that because it was dark, the house he was looking for would inevitably be the one without a number clearly visible. And then, that when he did eventually find the house, the doorbell would not work. He wrote these ‘rules’ down when he returned home, and put them on his blog. They were well received, so he wrote some more – and the result is this book.
Rules for Reverends has a flippant title, but while it is often light-hearted, it is far from being disrespectful or frivolous. Indeed, there is much practical (and quite a bit of theological) wisdom distilled into these small, attractively set out pages, with Dave Walker’s black and white line drawings adding a wry visual twist to many of them.
In fact, these rules are not just for reverends at all. Anyone inflicted with the habit of regular church-going would do well to read them, since they offer advice to all concerned which, if followed, would bring sunshine and smiles to many a parish.
Some of these rules are solidly practical: ‘If you want something to thrive, threaten to abolish it’. ‘Always accept a resignation’. ‘Never handle any cash. If you have to, get a witness’. Others reflect a deep-seated knowledge of how a church community works, and will raise a knowing smile on the face of many a reader: ‘The length of a PCC discussion about finance will be in inverse proportion to the amount of money being discussed’. ‘There is a ‘right’ tune for every hymn. It’s just rarely the one you chose’. ‘The people who get most annoyed that the vicar doesn’t visit are not the ones in need of a visit, but those who think that other people need one’. Still others are (in the words of Homer Simpson) funny because they’re true: ‘Never be afraid to admit that part of you is in it for the dressing-up’. ‘The tiptoeing thing people do when they’re late into church doesn’t work’. ‘People have long memories, and everyone is related to everyone else. Be careful’. But the best of these rules are the ones that are quietly (or not so quietly) profound. ‘If your church has lots of needy people, it’s probably because it’s doing the right thing. But that doesn’t make it easier to handle’. ‘You may not be designed for small talk. Watch a master, and steal three phrases which will help. Asking people about themselves is a good starter’. And the last rule in the book: ‘No, it’s not a job. Yes, it is the best in the world’.
This is a good and clever little book. It would not be a bad thing if every parish had a library copy somewhere in church. Let me end with a rule of my own: ‘Reviewing books is sometimes difficult. When there is nothing else to say, quoting large chunks of text will fill the page nicely, and with a bit of luck, nobody will notice’.
Peter Westfield ND