Sunday, 18 January 2009

Fowlers Editions

The first edition went through several reprints. A reprint whose copyright page mentions "1954" as the most recent reprint notes that reprints in 1930 and 1937 were "with corrections ..."

  • Fowler, Henry Watson (1926). A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 1st edition, Great Britain: Oxford University Press

The second edition, published in 1965, involved a light revision by Sir Ernest Gowers. Gowers updated and contributed to the existing text, while removing articles "no longer relevant to [current] literary fashions."

  • Fowler, Henry Watson (1965). Fowler's Modern English Usage, edited by Sir Ernest Gowers, 2nd edition, Great Britain: Oxford University Press.

Robert Burchfield edited the third edition. Its preface explains that while "Fowler's name remains on the title-page, ... his book has been largely rewritten." Whereas the first edition was a style guide, i.e. an opinionated view on how to write clearly and expressively, the third edition is a guide to usage, describing how English is spoken and written in practice. This difference in aim perhaps explains why the third edition is so often disliked by admirers of the first.

  • Burchfield, Robert William (1996). The New Fowler's Modern English Usage, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press. 


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