Images of English: A Cultural History of the Language
Images of English was the first book to focus exclusively on opinions about the language as they have evolved through time. Through the use of abundant quotations, Richard Bailey lets voices from the past speak to our present assumptions and challenges the notion of English triumphalism throughout the world and the ages. The book offers a unique historical perspective on attitudes towards the language. We see that journalists who fill anxious columns on slow news-days with fulminations on linguistic deterioration are embellishing centuries of complaint; that women who campaign for a language free of patriarchy and suited to themselves express a yearning first conveyed long ago; that teachers who recommend the vigour of Anglo-Saxon words are sustaining an idea that emerged four hundred years ago in notions about racial purity.