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  • (W)rack is such a rich word. I was immediately reminded of Prospero’s speech in the Tempest about the cloud-capped towers that vanish and leave not a (w)rack behind. The image here could be that of damage and destruction, but in fact it is a reference to another old meaning (though not as old as the rack and ruin one): A bank of cloud, fog, or mist; a wisp of cloud or vapour. But wrack also – appropriately for the play – meant a shipwreck, or items from a shipwreck, as well as a type of seaweed. I wonder how many of these meanings would have been in the minds of spectators at the time…