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Samuel Johnson and the Journey into Words

Lynda Mugglestone


Popular readings of Johnson as a dictionary-maker often depict him as a writer who both laments — and attempts to control — the state of the language. This book looks at the range of Johnson’s writings on, and the complexity of his thinking about, language and lexicography, not least with reference to the difficulties of power when exerted over the ‘sea of words’. Dictionary-making, for Johnson, came to be seen as a long and difficult voyage round the world of the English language. While such images play their own role in lexicographical tradition, Johnson would, as this volume explores, also ... More

Keywords: Samuel Johnson, lexicography, eighteenth century, academies, standardization, English dictionaries, language attitudes, spelling, correctness

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199679904
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679904.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Lynda Mugglestone, author
Professor of the History of English, Pembroke College, Oxford