Words: epigone, n.

SUCH IS what publishers (and zoologists) call territoriality that there is still no sign in Britain of Anthony Burgess's One Man's Chorus. As do Urgent Copy and Homage to Qwert Yuiop, these essays keep offering something new.

Of Evelyn Waugh he notes, "I do not think it profitable to assign him a place (better than Greene, inferior to Ivy Compton-Burnett, a mere epigone of Ronald Firbank?)." Little used, epigone comes via French and Latin from the Greek for those born after. Used of the seven sons of the heroes in the war against Thebes, it only became English in the 19th century - when, also from the Greek, it also meant the membranous bag which covers the spore-case of young liverwort, which makes for another word with opposite meanings.

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