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By 1700, France and Italy already had dictionaries of their own, and it became a matter of national pride that England should rival them. Dr Johnson rose to the challenge, turning over the garret of his London home to the creation of his Dictionary. He imagined it would take three years. Eight years later it was finally published, full of idiosyncrasies, but complete nevertheless. It would become the most important British cultural monument of the eighteenth century.
This is the story of Johnson's attempt to define each and every word. In wonderfully engaging chapters, Hitchings describes Johnson's adventure - his ambition and vision, his moments of despair, the mistakes he made along the way and his ultimate triumph.
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'We know a great deal about Samuel Johnson...Hitchings approaches the formidable presence from a different angle, showing us how the whole man can be found in the pages of his Dictionary'. (Literary Review)
Hitchings offers us a highly entertaining guided tour...anyone interested in dictionaries, Dr Johnson or the English language will surely spend many happy hours with this book (The Independent)
A goldmine of pleasures . . . Hitchings has an infectious relish for words . . . Ingenious and fascinating (The Sunday Times)
Excellent. (Daily Express)
Immensely enjoyable, easily erudite (Scotland On Sunday)
I can warmly recommend Henry Hitching's book...affectionate in its portrayal of Johnson, the book itself is immensely likeable, written with serious intent and gentle good humour. (Spectator)
Lively and entertaining (Observer)
A pleasant stroll, with a genial guide, through Johnson's life...anyone who picks up this book will have a whale ("the largest of the fish") of a time ("the measure of duration") (The Independent on Sunday)
Clever, wittily-written and amusingly-arranged (The Guardian)
A rich, lively and attractive book. (The Times Literary Supplement)
The brilliant story of how Dr Johnson suceeded in writing the first great English dictionary.
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Book Description John Murray, 2005. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0719566312