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Paraphernalia: The Curious Lives of Magical Things [Paperback]

Professor Steven Connor
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

15 Aug 2013

From keys and handkerchiefs to sweets and rubber bands, the curious objects we surround ourselves with, though often seemingly mundane, have a magical quality.

Their surprising power to disturb, soothe, seduce or absorb give these quirky objects histories and meanings we rarely ponder. Yet we would be lost without them.

Take bags, for example. Why do most women carry handbags, while men rely on pockets? Why do so many houses have bags of bags? And why do we 'let the cat out the bag' or 'give someone the sack'? What significance do our bags hold for us?

In this highly imaginative and entertaining book, Steven Connor embarks on a historical, philosophical and linguistic journey that explores our relationships with the curious things with which we have a forgotten but daily intimacy.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (15 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846682711
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846682711
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 224,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Steven Connor is among the most eloquent and original cultural critics at work today. (Daily Telegraph)

Urbane, witty and seductive... challenging and often enchanting (Michael Bywater Independent)

Ingenious, whimsical, imaginative and entertaining, this is a magical little book; a pleasurable and fidgetable stimulus to the mind. (Iain Finlayson The Times 2011-06-25)

Connor has a nimble wit and fresh eye (Stuart Kelly Scotland on Sunday 2011-06-12)

A critic and essayist of exceptional tact and daring... a writer who can seemingly conjure the profoundest insights out of the most minute or mundane topics... fascinating... witty and charming. (Brian Dillon Guardian)

Recommended... Readers will enjoy Connor on the "eroticism of rubber", the fascination of pop-smoking, the joy of fidgeting and the relationship between spectacles and the existential drama of "self-invention". (New Statesman 2011-07-04)

Book Description

A unique and quirky exploration of the stories and meanings behind the everyday objects that shape our lives.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Mark Pack TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The author, Steven Connor, is Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at Birkbeck College, a post that signals the sort of book this is - long on literary theory and short on technical historical detail. It is not a more diverse version of, say, The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance but rather a playful application of literary theory to household objects. If that is what you like, then you should find the book highly enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous 25 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The writing has a precise gossamer lightness that belies a vast hinterland of knowledge. Tremendous. A tour de force.
David Foster Wallace woud have approved.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars misleading 2 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
thought this would be full of graphics when in fact it just the written word.Not the kind of book I expected from write up I saw in the Telegraph
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