The full title...

A Hand-Book of Volapük
and an Elementary Manual of its Grammar and Vocabulary,
Prepared from the Gathered Papers of Gemmell Hunter Ibidem Justice;
Together with an Account of Events Relating to the Annual General Meeting of 1891
of the Edinburgh Society for the Propagation of a Universal Language.

Edited for the First Time by Dr. Charles Cordiner,
Emeritus Professor of Phrenology at Fraserburgh University.

Cover of A Handbook of Volapük - click to view full-size
Polygon 2006
ISBN: 1904598676

What's it all about?

This is the symbol of the Volapük movement in the 1880s In April 1891, two matters greatly excite the inhabitants of Edinburgh: the decennial Population Census; and the Annual General Meeting of the Edinburgh Society for the Propagation of a Universal Language. The General Secretary of the Society, Mr. Justice, is a staunch champion of the highly-popular language "Volapük", which spread across Europe after 1884; but he is locked in a battle for ascendancy with Dr. Bosman, shameless apologist for "Esperanto". Other members of the Society promote inferior Universal Languages, and rightly merit Mr. Justice's contempt.
In the weeks prior to the AGM of the Edinburgh Society, Mr. Justice descends the east coast of Scotland, partly in pursuit of his trade as a respected repairer of church organs, partly to conduct classes in the grammar and vocabulary of Volapük. As he proceeds southwards from the Moray Firth, he records the lessons given to artisans, the exercises set for them, and his own wide-ranging speculations on Language as a tool for social change.
The AGM will decide which of the two rivals will win the struggle for the hearts and minds of their comrades; and much effort is expended by both parties in wooing the non-aligned comrades. But Mr. Justice has a secret weapon - an old gentleman whom he met in distant Cromarty, and who has promised to bring the majority of the Society into Mr. Justice's camp.
But the AGM does not deliver the expected victory; certain snakes in the grass conspire against Mr. Justice's plan. The true character of the old gentleman from Cromarty is revealed in all its treachery. After an epic debate, some scones, and many cups of tea, Mr. Justice ill-advisedly decides to kidnap Dr. Bosman, teach him some Volapük grammar, and retreat with him to the Mavisbank Private Lunatic Asylum, in Midlothian. In the next few days spent at Mavisbank, Mr. Justice has the leisure to discuss Language with the Residents, to reflect on the nature of his cause, and to question its justification.

The publication of this novel seems to have triggered an interesting number of responses among the International Language community - particularly in the USA. Some like it, some don't...

Dare one ask - what is Volapük?