Democratic Eloquence: The Fight over Popular Speech in Nineteenth-Century America

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9780520074859: Democratic Eloquence: The Fight over Popular Speech in Nineteenth-Century America
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Democratic Eloquence tells the dramatic story of how Americans thought and argued about the English language between 1776 and 1900. The rise of a popular democracy in the early nineteenth century rudely challenged gentlemanly assumptions that only the well-educated should be able to speak in public. The popular challenge stimulated discussions about how grammars, dictionaries, even the English Bible should be written and what the idiom of a democratic society should be.

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From the Inside Flap:

"A penetrating account of the long debate about the kind of public language appropriate for a democratic society. . . . Cmiel manages to do justice to both sides."—Christopher Lasch, author of The Culture of Narcissism

"Every scholar interested in the English language will put this book next to Mencken and Baugh. It will be indispensable to writing the social history of English into the 20th Century."—Joseph Williams, author of Origins of the English Language

From the Back Cover:

"A penetrating account of the long debate about the kind of public language appropriate for a democratic society. . . . Cmiel manages to do justice to both sides." (Christopher Lasch, author of The Culture of Narcissism)

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