Words: callipygous, adj.

NO SOONER had Stephen Crook mentioned Nabokov's penchant for callipygous than Julian Barnes said that he revised the OED's entry for the word, first used by Sir Thomas Browne, rarely since.

"One-armed attempts to revive a word rarely succeed," says Barnes: an Aldous Huxley letter announced his campaign, and callipygous recurs in his fiction ("one does not fall in love with a loud speaker however attractively callipygous"). Wodehouse picked it up, but the entry misses Anthony Burgess - and Humbert's fantasy of "helping a callypygean slave child to climb a column of onyx". Barnes surmises that Nabokov read Huxley and took it for common parlance.

We owe it to Huxley's shade to speak of the callipygous Gwyneth Paltrow.

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