Noah Webster and the American Dictionary

Overview

Noah Webster was described by the publisher of a competing dictionary as "a vain…plodding Yankee, who aspired to be a second Johnson" - a criticism that rings mostly true. Though Webster referred to Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language as a "barren desart of philology," the American lexicographer relied heavily of the book during the creation of his own American Dictionary, going as far as to filch whole sections.

Webster was obsessed with collecting and preserving bits ...

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Jefferson, North Carolina, U.S.A. 2005 Ppbk Very Good. No Dj Larger 8vo. pp. 350, "Noah Webster was described by the publisher of a competing dictionary as "a vain...plodding ... Yankee, who aspired to be a second Johnson"?a criticism that rings mostly true. He was certainly vain and, born in Connecticut, undeniably a Yankee. Moreover, though he referred to Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language as a "barren desart of philology, " the American lexicographer relied heavily on the book during the creation of his own American Dictionary, going so far as to filch whole sections. And few would seem more "plodding" than Webster, who was positively obsessed with collecting and preserving bits of information. He kept records of the weather, carefully logged the number of houses in every new town he passed through, filed away every scrap of his writing and everything written about him, and filled the margins of his books with references, dates and corrections. " Read more Show Less

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Overview

Noah Webster was described by the publisher of a competing dictionary as "a vain…plodding Yankee, who aspired to be a second Johnson" - a criticism that rings mostly true. Though Webster referred to Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language as a "barren desart of philology," the American lexicographer relied heavily of the book during the creation of his own American Dictionary, going as far as to filch whole sections.

Webster was obsessed with collecting and preserving bits of information. He kept records of the weather, carefully lodged the number of houses in every new town he passed through, filed away every scrap of his writing and everything written about him, and filled the margin of his books with notes.

The book covers Webster's major publications and the influence and methods that shaped them and recounts his life as schoolteacher, copyright law champion, and itinerant lecturer.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Micklethwait, a London attorney, profiles the Yankee lexicographer who is credited with first distinguishing between British and American spellings and creating the first American dictionary. He describes Webster's (1758-1843) major publications and the influences and methods that shaped them; recounts his life as a schoolteacher, copyright champion and itinerant lecturer; and examines his legacy. He appends sample pages of the dictionaries. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786421572
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/21/2005
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

David Micklethwait is a London attorney specializing in intellectual property law.

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