“Language maven” is just one of William Safire’s claims to fame. He is also a bestselling novelist, a political columnist for The New York Times, and the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. In a previous incarnation he worked as a senior speechwriter in the Nixon White House. Mr. Safire’s books include Freedom, Full Disclosure, You Could Look It Up, Take My Word for It, Safire’s Political Dictionary, Good Advice, and What’s the Good Word?
LANGUAGE MAVEN STRIKES AGAINby William Safire
Good news! America’s master wordsmith strikes again with a new collection of erudite, witty, provocative, sometimes barbed, frequently hilarious “On Language” columns. Published in The New York Times and syndicated in more than three hundred other newspapers, these opinions from the “Supreme Court of Current English/i>
Good news! America’s master wordsmith strikes again with a new collection of erudite, witty, provocative, sometimes barbed, frequently hilarious “On Language” columns. Published in The New York Times and syndicated in more than three hundred other newspapers, these opinions from the “Supreme Court of Current English Usage” cover everything from the bottom line on tycoonese and the accesses* of computerese to portmanteau words like televangelist and Draconomics (the language maven’s own plan for our bloated economy).
Although Safire makes an admirable case for adverbs and adjectives, advocates of strong verbs will be heartened to hear that he also: pleads for the preservation of the subjunctive mood; delivers, hot off the college campus, the latest lingo in which ‘rents means parents and yesterday’s wimps are today’s squids; decries the brevity-is-next-to-godliness literary school; bids farewell to anxiety (it’s been replaced by trendy stress or swangst); noodles over such weighty geopolitical questions as “when an intercept of a fighter is a buzz”; bemoans the loss of roughage to fiber; and rides herd over the language spoken in Marlboro Country.
More good news! Safire again spices his own wit and wisdom with correspondence from Lexicographic irregulars, those zealous readers and letter writers who reply to his columns with praise, scorn, corrections and nitpicks—anything to match wits with Super-maven.
If You Could Look It Up and Take My Word for It occupy prominent spots in your bookcase, then Language Maven Strikes Again belongs there too. If they don’t, then begin with this Safire and work your way back.
*That’s not a typo—that’s a pun.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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- Random House
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- 3 MB
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