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This review is from: A Dictionary of Modern English Usage: The Classic First Edition (Oxford World's Classics) (Hardcover)
I like the Gowers version, Burchfield with reservations, but I do recommend this Classic First Edition Fowler for those who want the original. Having struggled for many years with the poorly printed, but cheap, Wordsworth Reference paperback edition, I am now delighted to have this well-printed, well-made, and attractive hardback - at a reasonable price. Congratulations to Oxford and David Crystal!
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Initial post: 25 May 2011 15:30:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 May 2011 16:18:08 BDT
With this new publication of the first edition (including an introductory essay by David Crystal) I'm undecided about which edition of Fowler's to purchase. The Gowers looks like a decent balance between the original edition and the (not-very-Fowleresque, more descriptive) Burchfield. However, perhaps it is worth buying this new first edition as well as the Burchfield... then one would have the original Fowler, with comments by Crystal, and the more modern/descriptive rewrite by Burchfield. As one reviewer wrote, the third edition would be more appropriately titled "Burchfield's new Modern English Usage". Or perhaps Crystal's introduction and notes are all that is needed to place the original Fowler in the 21st century, rendering Gowers/Burchfield less necessary? Perhaps someone who has experience of all three could advise?
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2012 19:21:32 BDT
Paul Magnussen says:
I would say go for Gowers 1965 if you want an elegant and practical guide from two of the most eminent and knowledgeable students of the language. Fowler's original is of course interesting, but 1926 was a long time ago. As for Burchfield's wishy-washy descriptivism, the less said the better.
The only caveat I have is that some of the pronuncations recommended seem to have gone the way of the dodo.
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