January 23, 2006

THE LANGUAGE OF WILL, JAMES & SAM:

The man who defined the world: a review of Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary By Henry Hitchings (Steven Martinovich, January 23, 2006, Enter Stage Right)

Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's DictionaryHarold Bloom once argued that William Shakespeare created what we know as the modern man through his plays. Our modern world may have been created by impoverished academic who toiled for years to compile what would appear to be a more humble accomplishment, a dictionary. As much a story of the English language as it was a reference work, Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language had an impact that may be beyond measure.

As Henry Hitchings shows in his marvelous Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary, embodying its author's sensibilities and biases, the dictionary not only was a snapshot of the English language at the time of its publication in 1755, it also shaped its future. Considered the standard for nearly two centuries and still in print today, Johnson's dictionary has influenced how every dictionary since has been created.


It was surprisingly hard to find an affordable and complete edition of the dictionary, but this abridged one is very good: Samuel Johnson's Dictionary by Jack Lynch

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2006 8:24 AM
Comments

As the protagonist in one of the "Black Adder" series on PBS stated: A smashing book with a rollercoaster of a plot.

Posted by: Genecis at January 23, 2006 2:39 PM

Is it not online?

Posted by: RC at January 24, 2006 4:09 AM

Not that I could find.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2006 7:49 AM
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