MODERN AMERICAN USAGE: A Guide by Wilson Follett


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Wilson Follett (1887-1963), whom Edward Weeks as editor of the Atlantic Monthly ranked with Fowler ""as one of the two liveliest champions of English Usage in our time,"" planned his Guide to be ""American to the marrow."" In succinct grammatical statements of principle and practice, with explanations in non-technical, terms, he aimed to offer not what was permissible but what was really good and appropriate ""for the America of 1960."" When he could not complete his volume, Jacques Barzun did so with the collaboration of Carlos Baker, Frederick W. Dupes, Dudley Fitts, James D. Hart, Phyllis McGinley and Lionel Trilling. This impressive roster has produced a book which is equally impressive for its clarity of concept and expression. It appears more independent than Margaret Nicholson's American-English Usage while often presenting the same points. It proceeds with contemporary usage to the point of contact used as a verb but only with painful tolerance of the abstaining older generation; no hang-ups or cop-outs sully its pages. It remains essentially classic in its conception and concerns.

Publisher: Hill & Wang