An exploration of a surprisingly combative period in the history of English grammar.
Heated arguments can break out over many things: slander, insults to a person’s honor—and, during one period in English history, grammar. In his new book detailing the controversies and fraught histories that accompanied efforts to regularize English grammar, Bryan A. Garner shows that the grammarians of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were a surprisingly contentious and opinionated lot.
Taming the Tongue in the Heyday of English Grammar (1711–1851) makes the primers of the period come alive in ways that their concerned and idiosyncratic authors might not have envisioned. The entries in Taming the Tongue—which has nearly five hundred color illustrations—are packed with scrupulously recorded information on the content and publication details of the primers, as well as tantalizing tales from the authors’ lives. Combining scholarly rigor with lively anecdotes, Garner sheds light on the controversies and unexpectedly fiery histories of English grammatical disputes.
About the Author
Bryan A. Garner is president of LawProse, Inc., and distinguished research professor of law at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of the “Grammar and Usage” chapter of The Chicago Manual of Style and editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary, among many other publications.
“Wryly written and richly illustrated. . . Captivating stories of flawed individuals seeking tidy perfection in the glorious mess that is English.”
— Times Literary Supplement