This blog is about Robert Lowth (1710-1787), described in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as “biblical critic and bishop of London”. But for linguists he is much more than that: he was also the author of the most authoritative eighteenth-century grammar.
But his Short Introduction to English Grammar (1762) is also his most controversial publication: linguists usually see it as a prescriptive grammar, and Lowth is consequently described as a purist or a prescriptivist.
This view is, however, the result of much bias and prejudice, as well as ignorance about the history of normative grammar writing. This blog therefore aims to correct this image of Lowth. Author of the blog is Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade, whose book on Lowth, The Bishop’s Grammar, was published in 2011, by Oxford University Press.