Anniversary Essays on Johnson's Dictionary

Overview

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, the first great English dictionary and one of the most famous books in the English language, appeared in April 1755. To commemorate the 250th anniversary, this volume brings together fourteen original essays by international scholars representing several disciplines: literature, lexicology, linguistics, and bibliography. The essays explore familiar and unfamiliar aspects of Johnson's masterpiece, ranging from the history of patronage to the book's typographical...
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Overview

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, the first great English dictionary and one of the most famous books in the English language, appeared in April 1755. To commemorate the 250th anniversary, this volume brings together fourteen original essays by international scholars representing several disciplines: literature, lexicology, linguistics, and bibliography. The essays explore familiar and unfamiliar aspects of Johnson's masterpiece, ranging from the history of patronage to the book's typographical design, from the political background to the treatment of compound words. Challenging the myths surrounding the book and offering the most comprehensive and wide-ranging study of the Dictionary ever attempted, these essays present the latest scholarship on the Dictionary and open up new perspectives and directions for future research.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...this volume elegantly surveys current assessments of Johnson's imposing and critically challenging work and offers hints for future critical inquiry. All the essays are cogent, persuasively argued, and well documented... Admirers of Johnson's enduring lexicographical intervention will find here a work that omits little and offers a great deal. Summing Up: Essential."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521049887
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/11/2008
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Lynch is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University.

Anne McDermott is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Birmingham.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The mythology of Johnson's dictionary 10
2 Dictionaries and power from Palsgrave to Johnson 24
3 What Johnson's illustrative quotations illustrate : language and viewpoint in the dictionary 42
4 Reassessing the political context of the dictionary : Johnson and the "broad-bottom" opposition 61
5 Johnson's extempore history and grammar of the English language 77
6 Johnson the prescriptivist? : the case for the prosecution 92
7 Johnson the prescriptivist? : the case for the defense 113
8 Johnson's encyclopedia 129
9 The law, the alphabet, and Samuel Johnson 147
10 Hyphenated compounds in Johnson's dictionary 160
11 The typographic design of Johnson's dictionary 175
12 The dictionary in abstract : Johnson's abridgments of the dictionary of the English language for the common reader 198
13 Revision and the limits of collaboration : hands and texts in Johnson's dictionary 212
14 Hidden quarto editions of Johnson's dictionary 228
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