derestimated and so efforts to bringnabout uniformity, especially in the writtenncode, have always reflected legitimatennational interests. Yet given the diversitynof speakers and writers (andnprinters) both then and today, it shouldnbe clear that such efforts have usuallynbeen fiitile. This reflects the fact that languagenis an organic part of the lives ofnpeople; as such, it changes from the insidenthrough evolving clashes betweenninnovation and tradition. The shape andndirection of a language is not as easUyndictated from the outside, though ironically,nby assuming such a position, especiallynin relation to education, the language-reformersnhave had a significantnimpact.nH ow language issues have influencednpedagogy is what motivates Prof Baron’snscholarly efforts. The task of mrning iUiteratenschoolchildren into readers andnwriters was of paramount importance inna land with an unrefined but quicklynemerging civilization. Believing in mechanical,nrote learning, it is not surprisingnthat teachers concluded that memorizingnthe rules for grammar and spellingnwould be the most eflftcient methodnfor this purpose. But seldom was any directnconnection made between instructionnand performance, as this 1849 testimonynsuggests: “We were educated atnone of the best schools … but, althoughnwe studied EngUsh Grammar seven yearsnand received a silver medal for our proficiency,nwe never wrote a sentence ofnEnglish at school and never did anythingnwhich implied a suspicion on our partnthat grammar had anything to do withnwriting or conversation.” Nor is the picturenany more encouraging today.nWhere linguistic change was possible,nas in the case of spelling, aU sorts of proposalsnwere forthcoming. Each reformernargued that his system would help readersnmore easily recognize sound-letterncorrespondences; some even informedntheir audience of the resulting savings innpaper and printer’s ink. A number ofn”reforms” remain to this day, such as thenreplacement by Noah Webster of then•m^m^^m^m^nChronicles of CulturenBritish our endings with or. Unfortunately,nhowever, both students andnteachers lost sight of how these reformsnreflected agreed-upon human conventions,nnot absolute categories and truthsnabout language. Students learned insteadnthat language study was a chore foistednupon them by insensitive pedants. Butnperhaps even more important, theynlearned to distrust their natural linguisticninstincts. Baron asserts that the linguisticpedagogicalnheritage in America has notnbeen a healthy one:nEven when grammarians claimed tonbe cataloguing the behavior of thenbest speakers and writers, or servingnas transmitters and preservers of thenlanguage of the average American,ntheir authority, and that of their predecessors,nlent to grammar an air ofnthe mystical. Students and teachersntended to approach the subject carefullynand timidly, and their expectationsnof finding in the study of grammarna difficult and obscure doctrinenthat could not easily be connected tonacmal human discourse were oftennconfirmed.n1 his theme is further elaborated bynRobert Pattison in his lively but oftennexasperating On Literacy. Impatientnwith the dreary prose of his compositionnstudents, Pattison attacks educationnfor its impoverished definition of literacyn—namely identifying reading and writ­nIn the Mailning with the literal decoding and encodingnof spoken messages—^because suchneducation represents a threat to eachncitizen’s basic autonomy. Beyond a merenmechanical skiU, literacy, Pattison correctlynargues, represents a “consciousnessnof the problems posed by language,”nbut because we have become more interestednin tradition than innovation,n”literacy tests in our society stress thentransfer of information, not thought.” Anscholar of English literature, Pattisonnfrequently uses literary insights andnspeculation to further his arguments:n”The clown is a literacy type, a recurringnfigure of the imagination. He returns agenafter age in various guises to remindnaudiences of their own literacy, for tonlaugh at the clown is to celebrate one’snown consciousness of the problem ofnlanguage.” Pattison believes this consciousnessnor sensitivity to language isnfundamental to any area of human inquiry.nWords are central to our ongoingnattempts to understand and criticizenindividual and social experience:nThe act of judgement, no matter hownmisguided or naive, is the first characteristicnof literacy, and it precedes andnembraces other forms of intelligencen… literacy as I have defined it is a necessaryncondition for any of these othernintellectual accomplishments. Therencan be no scientific laiowledge withoutnlanguage to give it form; nor couldnthere be any knowledge at all unlessnSocial Justice and the Christian Church by Ronald H. Nash; Mott Media; Milford, MI.nThe auttior forcefiilly argues that compassion and concern for tlie poor must be balanced withnreason and sense. In some circles, his approach is avant-garde.nThe York Plays edited by Richard Beedle; Edward Arnold; Baltimore, MD. Truly fittingn(or, as it might have been put in 1463-1467, mete) for connoisseurs of Middle English CorpusnChristi plays, as this is the first critical edition in nearly 100 years.nSix Chapters from My Life “Doumunder” by Yang Jiang; available from University ofnWashington Press, Seatde. A slim, potent indictment of the Chinese Cultural Revolution—nfrom the inside. The translated title notwithstanding, the fiction is a complete work.nThe Poems ofHesiod translated by R. M. Frazer; University of Oklahoma Press; Norman,nOK. Still admirable after all these years (approximately 2683 of them).nnn