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The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary

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The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the best-selling author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, and Krakatoa comes a truly wonderful celebration of the English language and of its unrivaled treasure house, the Oxford English Dictionary.

Writing with marvelous brio, Winchester first serves up a lightning history of the English language--so vast, so sprawling, so wonderfully unwieldy--and pays homage to the great dictionary makers, from the irredeemably famous Samuel Johnson to the short, pale, smug and boastful

schoolmaster from New Hartford, Noah Webster. He then turns his unmatched talent for story-telling to the making of this most venerable of dictionaries. In this fast-paced narrative, the reader will discover lively portraits of such key figures as the brilliant but tubercular first editor Herbert

Coleridge (grandson of the poet), the colorful, boisterous Frederick Furnivall (who left the project in a shambles), and James Augustus Henry Murray, who spent a half-century bringing the project to fruition. Winchester lovingly describes the nuts-and-bolts of dictionary making--how unexpectedly

tricky the dictionary entry for marzipan was, or how fraternity turned out so much longer and monkey so much more ancient than anticipated--and how bondmaid was left out completely, its slips found lurking under a pile of books long after the B-volume had gone to press. We visit the ugly corrugated

iron structure that Murray grandly dubbed the Scriptorium--the Scrippy or the Shed, as locals called it--and meet some of the legion of volunteers, from Fitzedward Hall, a bitter hermit obsessively devoted to the OED, to W. C. Minor, whose story is oneof dangerous madness, ineluctable sadness, and

ultimate redemption.

The Meaning of Everything is a scintillating account of the creation of the greatest monument ever erected to a living language. Simon Winchester's supple, vigorous prose illuminates this dauntingly ambitious project--a seventy-year odyssey to create the grandfather of all word-books, the

world's unrivalled uber-dictionary.

Synopsis:

A fascinating history of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. Winchester is the acclaimed author of "The Surgeon of Crowthorne" and his highly readable style, accompained by portraits of the characters involved in the creation of the Dictionary, make this an entertaining as well as informative book. 24 b/w illus.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780192805768
Author:
WINCHESTER, SIMON
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Location:
N
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
2004/09/00
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Books on Books
Reference » Dictionaries » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary New Trade Paper
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Product details pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780192805768 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A fascinating history of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. Winchester is the acclaimed author of "The Surgeon of Crowthorne" and his highly readable style, accompained by portraits of the characters involved in the creation of the Dictionary, make this an entertaining as well as informative book. 24 b/w illus.

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