Books: Babel Builders

THE GRAVES OF ACADEME by Richard Mitchell Little, Brown; 229 pages; $11.95

For almost five years, Richard Mitchell, 51, professor of English at Glassboro (N.J.) State College, has made regular trips to his basement to pump from his ancient, tooth-rattling printing press a broadsheet called The Underground Grammarian. With gloriously abusive alliteration he has made it his business to assault deans and department heads for the bureaucratic academese that passes as English. For other professors, the activity might be a mere hobby. For Mitchell, it is a sacred mission. "A mind can be overthrown by words," he says. "Bad language ultimately...

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