Richard Lederer: His Works



Richard Lederer was once asked where he would get all these funny stories he
answered:

"Ever since I became a writer, I had found that questions the most difficult to
answer and had only recently come up with an analogy that I thought would
satisfy both my audience and me. Pouncing on the opportunity to unveil my
spanking new explanation, I countered with, Where does the spider get its web?
The idea, of course, was that the spider is not aware how it spins out its
intricate and beautiful patterns with the silky material that is simply a
natural part of itself. Asking a writer to account for the genesis of his or her
ideas is as futile as asking a spider the source of its web and method of its
construction."

Richard Lederer

Introduction and bibliography

Richard Lederer was the kind of child who, almost as soon as he could talk, saw
a butterfly and cooed, "Oh, goody. A butterfly will flutter by." Even as a high-
school student, Richard knew that Elvis Presley, born three years before him,
would become immortal because he recognized that "Elvis Lives" is a two-word
anagram.

Richard Lederer entered Haverford College as a pre-medical student but soon
found that he was reading the chemistry books for their literary value. Mr.
Lederer became an English major and then attended Harvard Law School, where he
found that he read the law cases for their literary value. So rather than
fighting his verbivorous instincts, He switched into a Masters of Arts and
Teaching program at Harvard. That led to a position at St. Paul\'s School, in
Concord, NH, where he taught English and media for 27 years. Richard Lederer
said that he would have gladly served them for the rest of his days, but having
earned a Ph.D. in English and Linguistics from the University of New Hampshire
inspired him to write books on language. The enthusiastic and popular response
to these books, beginning with ‘Anguished English\', gave him the opportunity to
leave the St. Paul\'s community to extend his mission to teach in the English
language.

More than a million of his books are in print, most with Pocket Books and Dell.
Richard Lederer has a column, "Looking at Language," which reaches more than a
million readers through newspapers and magazines across the United States. His
books have been nominated for the Book-of-the-Month Club as well as appearing in
the Literary Guild alternate selections, and, in addition, his work has received
positive reviews from the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, National Review,
and Reader\'s Digest. On top of this, he is the Grammar Grappler for Writer\'s
Digest, the Wizard of Words for Time Machine, and Verbivore for Salon magazine.
His media work includes broadcasting regularly on a number of major market
public and clear-channel commercial radio stations, including NYC, Wisconsin,
and Boston Public Radio as well as, WHAM in Rochester and WSCQ in Columbia, SC.
He has appeared a number of times on just about every major radio station in the
U.S., including Larry King radio, the Osgood Files, G. Gordon Liddy, Tom Snyder,
Roy Leonard, Dave Maynard, David Brudnoy, and television shows, such as the
Today Show, and CNN Prime Time.

Analyzing the content of Richard Lederer\'s entire book, would be as pointless as
many, if not all, of the expressions in his book. Therefore I tried to analyze
not only the underlying humor which sits in all of the listed expressions, but
also the structure of communication and the derivation of language itself using
the example of ‘Anguished English\'.

Communication means the transmission of thoughts and emotions to other people
using words and/or visual images. It is a means of letting one\'s ‘inner self\'
be known and understood by the ‘outside world\'. Richard Lederer shows us in a
funny way what can happen to the communication between human beings if either
one or both of the communicating parties can not express themselves properly. A
phenomenon of communication, and one reason that I am in the United States, is
that any concept, idea, or object, no matter how sophisticated or culturally
bound, can be translated into any other language. It may require additional
words and perhaps visual cues, but everything that can be expressed in one
language can ultimately be translated into another. Most probably, this is
related to the fact that we as humans, no matter where we are from, experience
the same fundamental emotional states; in addition, we are equally capable of
forming rational thought. Furthermore, in any language an infinite number of
sentence possibilities exist, and yet even a relatively young child