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The air loom gang and our present emergency

      Mike Jay is an interesting writer. He gets ahold of fascinating topics, but sometimes this means he gets ahold of a drawerful of research notes and throws them in the public’s face, like in his last book on Mescaline. Excellent topic, excellent intro, and then a march through historical particulars as arid as spray on deodorant. My favorite of his books is a more Shandian venture, illustrated beautifully, about a lunatic assassin, one James Tilley Matthews. Jay goes into the nitty gritty of this story from the 18 th century – 1796, to be precise, with a story that goes on into the early 19 th century – with a much more able touch. The book is entitled The Air Loom Gang, for it is this gang that had entranced and imprisoned the mind and body of James Tilley Matthews, with an intricate demonology worthy of one of   Blake’s longer poems. Matthews went mad, it seems, in the Paris of the Terror, where he was confined to his apartment and suspected of being an English spy. What h
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Negative twenty questions modernism

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The American creepshow

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