Roland Barthes

A 50-year obsession with the white stuff: Milk, by Peter Blegvad, reviewed

It’s been a while since I read a good cento, from the Latin and derived from the Greek, I need not remind Spectator readers, meaning ‘patchwork’, and thus a literary work composed of quotations from other writers, the earliest known example being Hosidius Geta’s Medea, consisting entirely of lines from Virgil and which is almost as good as it sounds. Contemporary literary centos, or cento-like creations, include a lot of very bad found poems but also Graham Rawle’s simply incredible Woman’s World (2005), a novel collaged from cut-up lines from women’s magazines, and David Shields’s profoundly plagiaristic work of literary criticism, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (2010).  Peter Blegvad’s Milk: Through