A short anthology of essays dealing with language has great appeal and much utility, particularly if the editor has made a wide and wise selection and does not confine himself to one time, place, or country. This very excellent compilation, which contains essays chiefly by modern writers, unfortunately several already dead, includes Owen Barfield, Samuel Butler, Walter Bryce Gallie, Aldous Huxley, Clive Staples Lewis, Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski, Alan Strode Cambell Ross, Gilbert Ryle, and Friedrich Wasimann. In time they run from Samuel Butler's essay on "Thought and Language," which was delivered as a lecture in London in 1890, through the 1930's and 1940's up to Gilbert Ryle's "The Theory of Meaning," published in 1957.
Even someone only casually interested in words and writing very soon comes up against the extraordinary difficulty of using symbolic language effectively. The simple reason is that only heroic concentration enables a person to keep clearly