Lexicography and the OED: Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest

ISBN : 9780199251957

Lynda Mugglestone
304 Pages
155 x 235 mm
Pub date
Nov 2001
Oxford Studies in Lexicography and Lexicology
Send mail

The authors of this book draw on previously unpublished archive material to explore the pioneering endeavours of the scholars who conceived the Oxford English Dictionary and, with the assistance of an army of correspondents, brought it into being after half a century of Herculean labour. Its first publication in 1928 as the twelve-volume A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles was an important cultural event. In lexicographical and linguistic terms it was a revolution. Deliberately conceived as a new departure in English lexicography, the dictionary constituted an emphatic return to first principles, in terms of the evidence by which the record of the language was constructed and in the nature of the work itself. The prescriptive policy of earlier dictionaries was replaced by empirical description, while new scientific principles of philology were deployed to advance the understanding of the meaning and function of language. Lexicography and the OED provides new perspectives on the principles of the work and on the people, readers as well as editors, who created it. It includes chapters on its early history; the sources that were read for it; the nature of Englishness and the concept of the 'alien'; questions of inclusiveness and correctness; the standards of usage which the dictionary came to record; the treatment of early English and of science; the representation of pronunciation; the fundamental issues of word-formation; and the at times intractable problems of meaning. The book also sets the dictionary in the context of international lexicography, and examines how it was received by scholars and by the public. This is the most wide-ranging account yet published of the creation of one of the great canonical works of the twentieth century.


1 Lynda Mugglestone: 'Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest': The New English Dictionary
2 Elizabeth Knowles: Making the OED: Readers and Editors. A Critical Survey
3 Charlotte Brewer: OED Sources
4 Noel Osselton: Murray and his European Counterparts
5 Penny Silva: Time and Meaning: Sense and Definition in the OED
6 Anne Curzan: The Compass of the Vocabulary
7 Dieter Kastovsky: Words and Word-Formation: Morphology in OED
8 Eric Stanley: OED and the Earlier History of English
9 Michael Rand Hoare and Vivian Salmon: The Vocabulary of Science in the OED
10 Michael K. C. MacMahon: Pronunciation in the OED
11 Lynda Mugglestone: 'An Historian not a Critic': The Standard of Usage in the OED
12 Richard W. Bailey: 'This Unique and Peerless Specimen': The Reputation of the OED

Jenny McMorris: Appendix 1. OED Sections and Parts
Peter Gilliver: Appendix 2. OED Personalia
Richard W. Bailey: Appendix 3. The OED and the Public

About the author: 

Lynda Mugglestone is Fellow in English Language and Literature at Pembroke College, Oxford, and News International Lecturer in Language and Communication. She has written widely on nineteenth-century language and associated issues -- literary and linguistic, as well as lexicographic.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.