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Lost Worlds: What Have We Lost and Where Did It Go?


Lost Worlds: What Have We Lost and Where Did It Go?

4.5 (3104)

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    Available in PDF Format | Lost Worlds: What Have We Lost and Where Did It Go?.pdf | English
    Michael Bywater(Author)
They...go. They vanish. People. Civilizations. Languages. Philosophies. Works of art disappear, species are extinguished, books are lost, cities drown, things once thought immortal suddenly aren't there. Dunwich is drowned, Pompeii buried, Athena's statue gone from the Parthenon. Whole libraries of knowledge, galleries of secrets. Gone. Lost worlds. Little things, too. Five Boys chocolate. Train compartments. Snuff, galoshes, smog. Your mother's perfume. Your father's tobacco The way Paris used to smell. Our culture, our knowledge and all our lives are shadows cast by what went before. We are defined, not by what we have, but by what we have lost along the way. And so, Lost Worlds: a glossary of the missing, a cabinet of absent curiosities. No mere miscellany, it weaves a web of everything we no longer have. Lost Worlds: the book that falls open at every page.

'A book to dip into.It is a wonderfully eclectic selection of vanished ideas, objects, habits, words and assumptions' -- Cambridge (Cambridge Society magazine)A book to dip in and out of, but also a book to be taken seriously -- The Independent on SundayBywater brings a wit and irreverence to his musings which lifts the book way above standard nostalgia fare -- Dublin Evening HeraldSelf-mocking, poignant and occasionally glitters with real wisdom, which is another thing you don't see much of these days -- The ObserverThis is a catalogue made to preserve...Well above the ordinary -- GuardianWhile sometimes inducing a fond whiff of nostalgia, it can also leave a sense of regret -- Good Book Guide‘Few books have the capacity to enchant with both amusement and melancholy.This gem is one of them’ -- The Herald (Glasgow)

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4.3 (3257)
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Printable? Yes

Book details

  • PDF | 304 pages
  • Michael Bywater(Author)
  • Granta Books; New Ed edition (3 Oct. 2005)
  • English
  • 7
  • Reference

Review Text

  • By L. Owens on 20 November 2013

    Its a cute idea - lost things. The sort of things that defined your youth, the films you watched, the books you read, the little unremarked and unremembered things that have slid unnoticed down the back of the sofa of life, a family photo album of your lost days. And it does that very adeptly. Remember hats? Canford Cliffs? Park Drive cigarettes? You'll probably smile at the recollection. Then he sneaks out the baseball bat and smacks you right across your emotional Achilles Heel. Dog. Mother. The Dead Zone. Believe me - you won't be expecting it. And even Mozart's Little Buttocks (yes, really) won't shake your conviction that this is a genuinely important book. Read it. It's an exercise in lapidary style, deft intellectual brachiation between every literary source you've heard of and many you haven't, and an effective wringing of heart strings that will leave you pondering for days. Read it. At once.

  • By Guy on 23 January 2013

    Ideal to pick up and dip into when you have some time, continues to fascinate. History as it should be taught

  • By Elizabeth Speller on 25 November 2004

    Pick this up in a Christmas-stacked bookshop and you might think you were browsing (yet) another of those Schott-like lists, albeit an aparently denser one.But do not be deceived by the alphabetical arrangement or the deliciously eccentric index; Bywater's book is not just, or even, a lexicon of loss. It is in reality an autobiography, a celebration of the life of Great Britain in the second half of the C20, its certainties, its conventions, its style and aspirations and of a child growing into a man as some of those solidities proved themselves ephemeral. Darkly elegaic at times, luminous and lyrical at others, angry, affectionate, erudite, self-indulgent and, above all, terribly terribly funny.(Perhaps garters and Virol will come in the second edition?)

  • By Richard Carter on 9 February 2006

    I came to this having greatly liked Michael Bywater's work in The Independent and I wasn’t disappointed: it’s a marvellous book that contains nostalgia but which is informed by a very sharp sense of humour. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read ‘Ancients, Wisdom of the,’ and each time it makes me laugh again. Wonderful!Incidentally, theodorawayte is wrong that the Bakelite telephone with its little drawer is missing: it’s right there, in footnote 67, page49, under Bakelite.

  • By Ian Richardson on 14 July 2011

    To enjoy this book you will need to be in your "middle years" and preferably slightly aghast to have got there. You must also be able to accept that the spirit of comedy lies cheek-by-jowl with the spirit of tragedy (as in the greatest works of our greatest playwright). Michael Bywater has compiled a huge treasury of things that most of us half remember. He has done so with a bitter sardonic wit and a glittering eye. He takes us by the lapels and, like the Ancient Mariner, will not release us until he has told his story. He unpicks the things that we take for granted and forces us to look at them afresh. Fortunately, he does this with great wit and I found myself laughing out loud repeatedly. Even the index is a comic masterpiece and had me re-reading numerous entries, just for the fun of linking the index description to the actual piece.However, it is not all fun and games. Michael Bywater manages to slip in observations and asides of extraordinary power. He is, as one reviewer says, "...pretty much right about everything." Indeed, everything from Hats to Mortality. One of the most moving and profound entries, "The Dead Zone", tells us more about the latter in the simple memory of a friend than most whole books ever achieve. This is writing full of perceptive wisdom all mixed up with the farcical and the surreal. Hard to tell which is which sometimes and rightly so.Of course, some people will think that Bywater is pretentious or merely "showing off". This is because they are ignorant (and I mean that as a simple observation and not in a pejorative sense). If you have been around for a while and have a reasonably good memory, you will understand and be enormously entertained.

  • By Secret Spi on 15 May 2006

    I'm so glad that good writing, intelligent humour and fascination with the obscure have not vanished into some lost world! This book made me so happy to be of an age where I can remember some of the lost ideas, objects, smells and values the author so wonderfully recalls and describes.An unusual book that I won't be throwing or giving away in a hurry.

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