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In "Literature About Language", Valerie Shepherd brings together linguistic theory and literary criticism and examines languages as a theme in a range of literary texts. By looking at the work of writers such as Swift, Joyce and Sontag, she discusses the power of story-telling and metaphor to shape our thinking and examines the communicative capacities of non-standard English and the strengths of women's writing in a male language world. By turning to the work of writers such as Hardy, Cummings, Lodge and Gordimer, however, she also demonstrates the ways in which language can be constrained by its users and by social and cultural pressures. Written specifically for a student audience, " Literature About Language" presumes no prior knowledge of linguistic theory and each chapter concludes with a set of practical exercises. The author has also published "Language Variety and the Art of the Everyday" (Pinter, 1990) and "Playing the Language Game" (Open University Press, 1993).