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Fry's English delight is a 2CD audio book based on a series done by Stephen Fry on BBC Radio 4 in which he looks at the development of the English love of puns, rhetoric and criticism.
This audio book is presented as with all things by Stephen Fry in a light engaging manner which explores the nuances of the English language and how the English language can be morphed into play on words, puns, witticisms and jokes. The audio book is peppered with contributions from experts in the field as well as personal input from Stephen, he uses each sub-heading to give examples of his skills at utilising the English language to delight the listener. The true purpose of this book is to take the listener on a journey through the sometimes convoluted methods inherent in the English language which means any event in the world can be turned into a pun, joke or metaphor.
The audio book is split into 4 programmes looking at the variety in the English language; there is current puns, metaphor, quotation and cliché. In each section Fry leans on the views of experts in the field, so for current puns we get insights from comic Tim Vine who holds the record for the most jokes in one hour and he gives us examples on which pun works and which does not. He also waxes on about the immediacy of the current aspect saying that puns only last a few years before the tide of history washes their context away and makes them obsolete.
This movement into obsolescence moves the CD into metaphor where famous puns become used as metaphors and quotations where puns can be placed in the lips of the speaker or perhaps into the lips of new speakers. Throughout there is the investigation into why some puns/metaphors seem to last and some seem to disappear.
Finally the book finishes on the strangest of all plays on the English language in cliché, that strange beast which is so embedded in British culture, it unpicks the historical background of cliché and shows the techniques which endlessly mean that cliché circles around the outer edges of the English language.
All in all, this is an enjoyable exploration of the complexities of the English language, led by the smooth voice of Stephen Fry we walk through the many strange components of the English language and it's adaptability at putting whatever is happening in the world into a format which can be understood in an instant.