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Lifeitselfmanship,or, How to become a precisely-because man: An investigation into current L (or Left-wing)usage [Unknown Binding]

Decca Treuhaft
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: E.Marks (1957)
  • ASIN: B0000CJO7V
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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3.0 out of 5 stars Jessica Mitford one-ups her sister 6 April 2007
By margot
The edition described here is the hand-bound stapled version that Decca Treuhaft (aka Jessica Mitford) put together on her Oakland, CA kitchen table in 1956, with some help from her Communist Party friends. But you can find a reprinted version, complete with illustrations, in the appendix of Decca's autobiography, A Fine Old Conflict.

The pamplet is a mildly amusing, gentle satire on the stilted syntax used by earnest Commies (or Left-wingers, as the author euphemizes). It is frankly derivative of her sister Nancy Mitford's little treatise of the period, Noblesse Oblige, which contrasted U (upper-class) and Non-U usage, eg, 'false teeth' vs. 'dentures'.

Lists of 'Left-wing' cliches are given, in glossary format, along with sample translations.

Non-L: Time will tell whether that plan was O.K.

L equivalent: That _correctness_ of that _policy_ will be _tested in life itself_. (Alt., in the _crucible of struggle_.)

Modern readers may note a family resemblance between these hackneyed Stalinist phrases and the jargon-laden idiom now known as political correctness. They may also be reminded of George Orwell's essay, 'Politics and the English Language,' which covers the same sort of gobbledygook and does so much more readably and trenchantly, perhaps because Orwell didn't have to worry about the East Bay chapter of CPUSA looking over his shoulder.
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