Jackson, R.W. 1939–
Jackson, R.W. 1939–
(Richard William Jackson)
PERSONAL: Born January 11, 1939, in Detroit, MI; son of Harold Robert (in sales) and Helen (a home-maker) Jackson. Education: Wayne State University, B.A., 1964. Politics: "Seldom." Religion: "Seldomer."
ADDRESSES: Home—Harper Woods, MI.
CAREER: Photography sales representative, 1967–76; freelance photographer, 1976–81; Tinder Box Tobacco Shops, manager, 1981–83; Detroit Symphony Orchestra, fundraiser, 1984–. Military service: U.S. Army, 1957–60.
The Diabolical Dictionary of Modern English (Complete and Unbridled), Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1986.
You Say Tomato: An Amusing and Irreverent Guide to the Most Often Mispronounced Words in the English Language, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Described by Marshall Swanson in the Detroit Free Press as "a slim volume of sharp social and political satire," R.W. Jackson's Diabolical Dictionary of Modern English (Complete and Unbridled) was compiled from a collection of the author's notes on the English language. The notes, many of which were jotted down on scraps of paper such as napkins, were collected over several years and assembled into book form while Jackson was recuperating from a broken leg. "It was my big break," the author punned. Swanson declared that Jackson is "a nut about language…. In matters grammatical … [he] resembles an attack dog, salivating intellectually until he gets an excuse to whip out that pen and add some outrage—or, occasionally, something nice—to his notes."
You Say Tomato: An Amusing and Irreverent Guide to the Most Often Mispronounced Words in the English Language offers a pronunciation guide for 700 of the trickiest and most often misspoken words in the English language. The alphabetical collection provides definitions, parts of speech, and phonetic spelling for such tongue-deceivers as "anchovy," "synecdoche," and "acumen." Definitions are also presented with wry humor and dry wit. Some surprises are probably in store within the pages of this book for readers who think they know the correct pronunciation of some of their favorite words. Reviewer Joanne Wilkinson, writing in Booklist, noted the guide's "high browsing appeal," and commented that "word geeks everywhere will delight" in the book's contents.
Jackson once told CA: "My primary interests in writing and literature are satire, social criticism, political criticism, etc. Eighteenth-century British writers, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Aristophanes, Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, E.B. White, Joseph Heller, Edwin Newman, William Safire, and Jonathan Swift also are favorites."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2005, Joanne Wilkinson, review of You Say Tomato: An Amusing and Irreverent Guide to the Most Often Mispronounced Words in the English Language, p. 1976.
Detroit Free Press, May 14, 1986, Marshall Swanson, review of The Diabolical Dictionary of Modern English (Complete and Unbridled).
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), October 16, 1988, review of The Diabolical Dictionary of Modern English, p. 13.