This poignant biography of H.W. Fowler is the first full account of his life ever published. Based on meticulous research into previously unpublished letters and the Oxford University Press archives, this book brings to life a complex yet fascinating man. Jenny McMorris explores the dogged work and the flurry of controversy and critical contention surrounding Fowler's work on The King's English and Modern English Usage. But McMorris also illuminates Fowler the man, who helped raise seven siblings, abandoned a prestigious post as schoolmaster to write in a cottage by the sea, and found true love and a devoted marriage at 50. Though considered a god among lexicographers, Fowler was self-deprecating to the point of sending money back to Oxford University Press when he felt he had been overpaid. And he coped calmly in the face of tragedy, writing cheerful letters days after losing an eye, and energetically nursing his wife through a fatal illness.Painstakingly thorough and delightfully readable, The Warden of English takes us inside the world of early twentieth-century literary publishing, as it chronicles the life of a giant of lexicography. "As admirable as its deeply admirable subject."--The Washington Post Book World.