In this carefully researched, thought-provoking book, Geoffrey Hughes examines the trajectory of political correctness and its impact on public life. Focusing on the historical, semantic, and cultural aspects of political correctness, it will intrigue anyone interested in this ongoing debate.
A unique and intriguing journey through the trajectory of political correctness and its impact on public life, focusing on the historical, semantic, and cultural aspects of what PC meansExplores the origins, progress, content and style of political correctness, discussing and analyzing around one hundred terms and lexical formations, from Chaucer and Shakespeare, Marlowe and Swift, to nursery rhymes, rap and Spike Lee films, David Mamet, J. M. Coetzee and Philip LarkinOffers a detailed semantic analysis of the way that key words have been exploited both to advance the agendas of political correctness and to refute them
Geoffrey Hughes graduated from Oxford, was an Honorary Research Associate at Harvard, and is Emeritus Professor of the History of the English Language at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is the author of An Encyclopedia of Swearing (2006), A History of English Words (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000), Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English (1998), and Words in Time (1988). He is currently Honorary Research Associate at the University of Cape Town.
Preface viii Acknowledgments xii Epigraphs xiii Part I Political Correctness and its Origins 1 Chapter 1 Defining Political Correctness 3 Chapter 2 The Origins and the Debate 60 Part II The Semantic Aspect 85 Chapter 3 Words and Authorities: Dictionaries and Lexicographers 87 Chapter 4 The Evolution of the Word Field 106 Part III Zones of Controversy 113 Chapter 5 Issues of Race, Nationality, and Difference 115 Chapter 6 Agendas Old and New 178 Part IV Cultural and Historical Issues 215 Chapter 7 Political Correctness in the Past 217 Chapter 8 Culture 236 Conclusion: The Right Thing to Do? Progressive Orthodoxy, Empty Convention or Double Standard? 283 Bibliography 298 Author and Subject Index 309 Word Index 317