The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

Murder of the English language

I spent a small portion of my weekend perusing a local magazine and bemoaning it’s poor use of the English language. The blatant disregard for Strunk and White seemed positively criminal.

Surely, you can relate. And we’re certainly not alone.

After all, it was March 17, 1740 that Henry Fielding summoned poet Colley Cibber to court for the murder of the English language. Fielding–an English novelist and satiric playwright–happened to be a lawyer, on his way to becoming magistrate. His wit would not go unnoticed. As a matter of fact, it would have been much appreciated by those whom felt the same.You see Cibber may have been a half rate writer, but he was a shrewd businessman. With an eye for what would sell, he seemed to pay no mind to the art form.

I guess you might say, when Captain Hercules Vinegar (a.k.a. Henry Fielding) charged Colley Cibber with murder of the English language, he was simply putting into action, what many of us have felt at one time or another . . .

NPG D2075; Colley Cibber by Edward Fisher, printed for  John Spilsbury, after  Jean Baptiste van Loo

1 Comment

  1. Yesss – poor grammar and spelling rules the day I’m afraid (and texting does not help)

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