Kingsley Amis

Snobs & Stuffed Shirts

Sayings of the Century

By Nigel Rees

Allen & Unwin 278pp £8.95 order from our bookshop

Wordly Wise

By James McDonald

Constable 303pp £9.95 order from our bookshop

The State of the Language: English Observed

By Philip Howard

Hamish Hamilton 192pp £8.95 order from our bookshop

I am not sure what the connection is between the decline of written and spoken English and the outpouring of books on words, not just dictionaries and guides to usage but collections of slang, quotations, proverbs, catch phrases, dialect expressions, paradoxes, bulls, euphemisms and puns just for a start. I have in my sell-off pile a work entirely devoted to oxymoron. (Volumes on hendiadys, synecdoche and aposiopesis to follow?)

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