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At present I am reading The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell. Beside being a novelist, he reviewed a number of books during the 30's. If he were alive to comment on Mr. Winchester's book, he would be merciless about content, style, and the annoying abuse of adjectives for their own sake. In short, he would call this book "tripe".
My interest in the subject eventually overcame the sound of my grinding teeth, and I did learn something about the monument to the English language.
In other words, I'm raising "DETOUR" signs around Simon Winchester's book.
Next on my reading pile is a copy of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary. Essays in the Biography of a Book by James H. Sledd and Gwin J. Kolb, Chicago, 1955. I had read a Rylands Library offprint of their essay, The Reynolds Copy of Johnson's Dictionary and wanted to read more by them.