All My Eye & Betty Martin

All My Eye & Betty Martin

By John Lucas

Price: £8.50

ISBN: 1 904338 49 9

Published by Redbeck Press

The literary critic, Hugh Sykes Davies, who coined the word “ecolect”, explained that he meant by it “the distinctive language and customs that small family or friendship groups use with each other to cement their special bonds, and reassure themselves that things are as they have always been.”

All My Eyes and Betty Martin provides an explanation of sayings, some obscure, others now obsolete, which form one such ecolect, and in the process tries to clear a path back to a vanishing moment of English social history. For though things cannot be “as they have always been” the desire to know what once they were is essential to an understanding of the present and of ourselves.

Lucas’s work is alive with a quick, erudite sense of English social history, from which he properly refuses to divorce the history of English writing.”
Terry Eagleton, Independent on Sunday

All Lucas’s work…has a pungent exactness and sense of scholarly detail which often makes startling and unfamiliar points.”
John Bayley, Times Literary Supplement

Only a dedicated sourpuss could fail to be swept along by Lucas’s zest and intelligence…He is unfailingly observant, trenchant and appreciative.”
John de Falbe, The Spectator

All My Eyes and Betty Martin is available from:

Redbeck Press – 24 Aireville Road, Frizinghall, Bradford, BD9 4HH
Central Books – 99 Wallis Rd, London, E9 5LN – Telephone: 0208 9865484 – Website:
and distributed through Shoestring Press.