Whom and Len Deighton (and like)

There have already been several posts in this blog about the disappearance of whom, and also about prescriptivism in English literature. Here is one that combines both.

Funeral in Berlin, which I came across when looking for the third part of Len Deighton‘s trilology Game, Set and Match in the Leiden boekenzolder where there are thousands of books to be had for free …

Give-away bookstore

On p. 20 of the copy I read:

“But not Dorf,” I said, ” especially not Edmond Dorf [the main character’s alias]. I don’t feel like an Edmond Dorf.”

“Now don’t go metaphysical on me,” said Jean [his secretary]. “Whom do you feel like?”

I like that “whom” – you’ve got to pay real money these days to get a secretary that could say that.

This was 1964. Any more such examples will be welcome additions to my growing collection! (And it turns out I got a copy of the first edition, according to wikipedia, well, third impression: still, not bad.)


And here’s another, towards the end of the novel:

They wouldn’t let us offer [him] a job partly because he was foreign, and partly because I [the main character] wore woollen shirts and said ‘like’  instead of ‘as though’.

We dealt with the question of like for as in the very first post in this blog.

This was the second novel by Len Deighton that I ever read: I love his style. And I also love his interest in language, prescriptivism and all. Len Deighton is definitely my man.

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