Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A nice page!

A very, very interesting page: See this article on Johnson's dictionary, for example.
Another link: Here is the complete review's review of Dr. Johnson's dictionary by Henry Hitchings.
While Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, which celebrates its two hundred and fiftieth anniversary this year, is a greatly admired book, it is also surely one of the least read. Yet Macaulay called it “the first dictionary which could be read with pleasure,” and even a short look at it will reveal the truth of his assessment.
...
Johnson’s first public statement about the Dictionary was his Plan of a Dictionary of the English Language of 1747. This essay appeared as a thirty-four-page pamphlet addressed to the Earl of Chesterfield, whose support Johnson sought. (When Chesterfield, who had largely ignored the project, eventually attempted to claim some credit for what he saw was going to be a successful publication, Johnson wrote his definition for patron: “One who countenances, supports, or protects. Commonly a wretch who supports with insolence, and is paid with flattery.”)
...
When the Dictionary was published, Johnson’s individual effort was particularly praised. The actor David Garrick, a former student, raved that Johnson had “beat forty French, and will beat forty more!” referring to the number of Frenchmen who had taken fifty-five years to do what Johnson had done in nine.
And much, much more in the same vain! So long and happy reading!

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