A Mouthful of Air by Anthony Burgess
Language, Languages...Especially English

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Synopsis

A survey of language describes how it reached its present state, how it operates, and how it will develop in the future, discussing such topics as Shakespeare's pronunciation, low-life language, and English's place in the world. 30,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo.
 

About Anthony Burgess

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Anthony Burgess was born in 1917 in Manchester, England. He studied language at Xaverian College and Manchester University. He had originally applied for a degree in music, but was unable to pass the entrance exams. Burgess considered himself a composer first, one who later turned to literature. Burgess' first novel, A Vision of Battlements (1964), was based on his experiences serving in the British Army. He is perhaps best known for his novel A Clockwork Orange, which was later made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick. In addition to publishing several works of fiction, Burgess also published literary criticism and a linguistics primer. Some of his other titles include The Pianoplayers, This Man and Music, Enderby, The Kingdom of the Wicked, and Little Wilson and Big God. Burgess was living in Monaco when he died in 1993.
 
Published January 1, 1992 by Morrow, 1992. 352 pages
Genres: Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Mouthful of Air

Kirkus Reviews

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Burgess has demonstrated his passion for language in his fiction, his essays and reviews, and his multivolumed autobiography (You've Had Your Time, 1991, etc.)--but now, at age 76, he explains it, sharing in this personable yet encyclopedic survey his intimate and extensive knowledge of the "mira...

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Publishers Weekly

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Burgess, who invented a teenspeak for the gangs in his novel A Clockwork Orange, infects readers with his love of words in a delightful, wittily urbane romp through the world's languages, in particular ``volatile and hospitable'' English.

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The Independent

Still, anyone of such dazzling abilities is entitled to some self-satisfaction, and Burgess is endearingly fond of dropping his own name in satisfying circumstances - being whistled to by Thomas Mann's daughter, talking to Jorge Luis Borges in Old English, moving a KGB official to tears by quotin...

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