The Bishop's Grammar
In her new book published this month, The Bishop’s Grammar: Robert Lowth and the Rise of Prescriptivism, Ingrid Tieken–Boon van Ostade examines the life and work, as well as the language, of Robert Lowth (1710–1787), reputed founder of the grammatical prescriptivism so deprecated by modern linguists and educational theorists.
Drawing on contemporary sources, including Lowth’s extensive correspondence, his unpublished memoir, and his last will and testament, Ingrid Tieken explores the social networks, aspirations, beliefs and reading habits that informed and shaped his grammar and ideas on language. She also shows that Lowth’s own language often fell short of the norms and strictures advanced in his book. By comparing the grammar with guides to English usage published in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Tieken redefines Lowth’s seminal position in the history of handbooks in correct usage, as well as his role in the establishment of the canon of prescriptivism.
The Bishop’s Grammar, Robert Lowth and the Rise of Prescriptivism
Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade
Oxford University Press
Hardback, 360 pages
Price: £ 65.00
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