Catalogue


The making of Johnson's dictionary, 1746-1773 /
Allen Reddick.
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press,
description
xiii, 249 p., [8] p. of plates : facsims. --
ISBN
0521361605
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press,
isbn
0521361605
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
1701269
 
Bibliography: p. 195-237.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1991-05:
Reddick (Harvard) has written an engaging account of the planning, composition, and revision of Samuel Johnson's great Dictionary of the English Language, a process he traces from its inception in 1746 to the publication of the fourth edition in 1773. The book might best be characterized as biographical narrative interspersed with bibliographic analysis. But it also contains, as the author points out, elements of "printing and publishing history, lexicographical theory and history, theological-political history, poetical criticism, (and) literary theory and history." Reddick's conclusions are based on a thorough examination of the Sneyd-Gimbel materials at Yale, a recently discovered treasure trove of printed and manuscript materials representing various stages in the composition of the Dictionary. A work of impressive scholarship, Reddick's book undoubtedly constitutes a solid contribution to our understanding of Samuel Johnson as lexicographer. And its readability testifies not only to the fascination of the story it tells but to the pains the author has taken to write vividly and clearly. Three appendixes contain bibliographic and historical analyses of the above-mentioned sources; notes are abundant and informative. Most likely to be used by faculty, graduate students, and upper-division undergradutes. -G. Scholtz, Wartburg College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 1991
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
As the first great English dictionary, and the only dictionary created by a great writer, Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language is recognised as a landmark in English language and letters. The heroic effort of the work's creation over nine years has long been enshrined in English literary mythology. However, details pertaining to Johnson's long years of work on his Dictionary are very scarce. With the recent discovery and deciphering of manuscript materials, including hundreds of unpublished revisions, Reddick describes the conception, composition, writing and subsequent revision of the Dictionary. Reddick argues that the Dictionary does not reflect Johnson's final thoughts on a fixed language, but rather constitutes a text in flux, changed repeatedly throughout Johnson's lifetime. He also contributes more generally to the biographical information about Johnson during these 'middle' years, and analyses the political and theological aspects of the work, attempting to determine how we 'read' Johnson's Dictionary.
Description for Library
As the first great English dictionary, Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language is recognised as an English landmark. The heroic effort of the work's creation is enshrined in English literary mythology. However, details pertaining to Johnson's long years of work on his Dictionary are very scarce. With the recent discovery of manuscript materials, including hundreds of unpublished revisions, Reddick describes the creation of the Dictionary. He also contributes to the biographical information about Johnson during these 'middle' years, and analyses the political and theological aspects of the work, attempting to determine how we 'read' Johnson’s Dictionary.
Table of Contents
Preface Cue-titles
Introduction; Johnson's 'Mind ... on the Stretch': A Dictionary of the English Language
'The plan of my undertaking': the composition and purpose of the Plan of a Dictionary
'I can do it in three years': a false start to the Dictionary
'Ended, though not Completed': the first edition published
'I know not how to get loose': the Fourth Edition
'Unexpected truth': the use of poetical authorities
'Factious in a factious age: theology and politics in the fourth edition
'The world must, at present, take it as it is': Johnson's Dictionary after 1773
description of the Sneyd-Gimbel materials
description of the British Library copy
provenance and history of the Sneyd-Gimbel and British Library copies
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem