Samuel Johnson's Unpublished Revisions to the Dictionary of the English Language

Samuel Johnson's Unpublished Revisions to the Dictionary of the English Language : A Facsimile Edition

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This edition makes available for the first time the largest collection of unpublished material by the great eighteenth-century writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson in existence. For the revised fourth edition (1773) of Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, Johnson and his amanuensis annotated over one hundred and twenty interleaved folio pages of the first edition, but the printer for unknown reasons failed to include the corrections. These pages, including hundreds of authorial additions and changes to the text, are reproduced here in facsimile, along with a transcription, an extensive commentary and notes. This extraordinary archive offers a unique record of Johnson's methods of revision, his collaboration with his assistants, and the preparation of printer's copy in general. Johnson's deletion and editing of hundreds of new quotations, notes, and definitions contributed by others sheds much new light on his intentions for his work and his attitudes towards language and literature.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 456 pages
  • 248.9 x 327.7 x 38.1mm | 2,857.67g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Annotated
  • Facsimile
  • 5 b/w illus.
  • 0521844703
  • 9780521844703
  • 1,794,094

Review quote

'Reddick's opulent facsimile edition ... was designed with the needs of an academic audience in mind. ... This facsimile edition makes the main part of those unique documents widely available for the first time ... The core of Reddick's edition consists of high-quality reproductions of all the first-edition pages ... the book is well designed and pleasantly easy to use, given the complexity of the materials ... cheer and new fodder to Johnsonians worldwide.' The Times Literary Supplement 'Dr Johnson's Dictionary remains one of the decisive texts both in reflecting linguistic changes and in shaping them. this volume gives readers a unique insight into how he worked and its publication is a fitting tribute not just to the Dictionary's compiler but to those who worked on this volume.' Contemporary Review '... a work of significant scholarship ... providing not only the source material itself, but also a commentary on it all. ... For those who simply enjoy dictionaries, or those like many readers of this journal who use them every day, this is also a source of great fascination. ... It tell us much about the processes underlying the Dictionary itself and as much, too, about its great compiler.' Reference Reviews
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About Samuel Johnson

Allen Reddick is Professor of English Literature at the University of Zurich.
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Table of contents

Introduction; The British Library copy: description and provenance (with the Sneyd-Gimbel copy); The printer's copy for the letter B; George Stevens and Samuel Johnson; Notes on selected changes and annotations; Introduction; Notes; Policy of citing sources; Editions cited and works quoted; Facsimile; Transcription; Appendix: The Sneyd-Gimbel copy; Examples from the Sneyd-Gimbel copy.
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