Political Correctness: A History of Semantics and Culture / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $28.15
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 34%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $28.15   
  • New (5) from $32.99   
  • Used (2) from $28.15   

Overview

Political Correctness is now an everyday phrase and part of the modern mindset. Everyone thinks they know what it means, but its own meaning constantly shifts. Its surprising origins have led to it becoming integrated into contemporary culture in ways that are both idealistic and ridiculous. Originally grounded in respect for difference and sensitivity to suffering, it has often become a distraction and even a silencer of genuine issues, provoking satire and parody. In this carefully researched, thought-provoking book, Geoffrey Hughes examines the trajectory of political correctness and its impact on public life.

Exploring the origins, progress, content, and style of PC, Hughes' journey leads us through authors as diverse as Chaucer, Shakespeare and Swift; Philip Larkin, David Mamet, and J.M. Coetzee; from nursery rhymes to Spike Lee films. Focusing on the historical, semantic, and cultural aspects of political correctness, this outstanding and unique work will intrigue anyone interested in this ongoing debate.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Prof. Hughes' Political Correctness deals with both its history and its use at present. And he deals with both aspects in a masterly fashion. Consequently, this book is highly recommendable because of what it says as well as, what is probably more important, because of the multitude of suggestions and questions it inspires." (Australian Journal of Linguistics, February 2011)

"Some books are written to be read, and other books are reference works. Political Correctness: A History of Semantics and Culture is unusual in that it is both jam-packed with detailed information and yet makes for a good read. Everyone should read this book and also keep it on the shelf as an excellent reference work. This informative and well written book covers more than just the notion of political correctness (PC) in the narrow sense. It encompasses far more than the problem of increased, PC kinds of concerns, as discussed in Part I, Political Correctness and Its Origins." (PsycCritiques, August 2010)

"Hughes ultimately comes down against artificiality, suggesting that political correctness is a form of social engineering that arises from good intentions coupled with Puritanism. A useful book for anyone interested in language and culture." (CHOICE, June 2010)

“Hughes' book provides a wide-ranging examination of a phenomenon that has had an immense influence on our culture, for both good and ill. Political Correctness: A History of Semantics and Culture is an entertaining, thought-provoking foray into an interesting and important area. Hughes focuses mainly on the effect of P.C. in contemporary Britain, America and South Africa, but he looks at earlier historical periods (such as the Reformation) too. This is the best book written on the subject, and that by some distance. It is an essential study, rigorous and critical and absolutely indispensable.” (Compulsive Reader, April 2010)

“Focusing on the historical, semantic, and cultural aspects of political correctness, this brilliant and unique work will intrigue anyone interested in this ongoing debate.” ( Lavoisier, November 2009)

"One must maintain a sense of humour when entering this arena, where voices of the global cultural elite sometimes present themselves as brave and daring for taking potshots at the sidelined or powerless. An emeritus 'historian of the English language', Hughes knows a lot about dictionaries of every stripe, whether orthodox or slang. He can provide the history of innumerable words, enabling readers to follow semantic changes, neologisms and other evolutions in the 'word field.'" (Times Higher Education, November 2009)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405152792
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/9/2009
  • Series: Language Library Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey Hughes graduated from Oxford, was an Honorary Research Associate at Harvard, and is Emeritus Professor of the History of the English Language at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is the author of An Encyclopedia of Swearing (2006), A History of English Words (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000), Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English (1998), and Words in Time (1988). He is currently Honorary Research Associate at the University of Cape Town.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface viii

Acknowledgments xii

Epigraphs xiii

Part I Political Correctness and its Origins 1

Chapter 1 Defining Political Correctness 3

Chapter 2 The Origins and the Debate 60

Part II The Semantic Aspect 85

Chapter 3 Words and Authorities: Dictionaries and Lexicographers 87

Chapter 4 The Evolution of the Word Field 106

Part III Zones of Controversy 113

Chapter 5 Issues of Race, Nationality, and Difference 115

Chapter 6 Agendas Old and New 178

Part IV Cultural and Historical Issues 215

Chapter 7 Political Correctness in the Past 217

Chapter 8 Culture 236

Conclusion: The Right Thing to Do? Progressive Orthodoxy, Empty Convention or Double Standard? 283

Bibliography 298

Author and Subject Index 309

Word Index 317

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)