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State of the Language, The

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Souvenirs to St Joan of the Stockyards (Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe)

an encyclopaedic work made up of contributions by well-known writers and academics, on various aspects of the English language and its current usage. First published in 1980 and edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels, the book was sponsored by the English-Speaking Union (San Francisco Branch). The second edition, published in 1990, opens with a combative essay by David Dabydeen, ‘On Not Being Milton: Nigger Talk in England today’. J. Enoch Powell's contribution, entitled ‘Further Thoughts: Grammar and Syntax’, bemoans ‘the loss of Latin as an obligatory element in school education’. ‘Further Thoughts: They Can't even Say It properly now’, by Kingsley Amis, attacks ‘fashionable malapropisms’. Other notable contributions include Marina Warner on ‘Fighting Talk’, Michael Rogers on ‘Computers and Language: An Optimistic View’, and Walter J. Ong on ‘Subway Graffiti and the Design of the Self’.

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