Why has the English-language novel ended up in the hands of ventripotent thumb-twiddlers and feckless gaberlunzies? Remember when Charles Dickens wrote those compendious novels rich in voluminous word-spinnery (The Circumlocution Office in Little Dorritt, or the legal satire in Bleak House?) Remember when James Joyce blasted the ultracrepidarians with his beautiful masterwork Ulysses, and dis- and re-assembled the language for the craic in Finnegans Wake? As the novel continues to exhaust and normalise taboos, one taboo forever shunned is the unmarketable and temerarious practice of engaging with the dictionary. Why do all these spoffokins with their stercoricolous “lit-fic” offerings refuse to colour their prose with geflugelte Worte? Their ramfeezled dribblings hardly deserve a second glance beside thegalumptious masterworks by writers like Alex Theroux and co. That’s all.