Review by Choice Review
Commemorating the 250th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of Johnson's great book, the publication of this collection coincides with the release of volume 18 of The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson (Johnson on the English Language, ed. by Gwin Kolb and Robert Demaria Jr., 2005), which is devoted to the Dictionary materials. Building on the foundation established by the classic studies of Kolb, DeMaria, James Sledd, Allen Reddick, et al., this volume elegantly surveys current assessments of Johnson's imposing and critically challenging work and offers hints for future critical inquiry. All the essays are cogent, persuasively argued, and well documented. Among the highlights: essays by Howard Weinbrot and Nicholas Hudson, who offer fascinating looks at the political context and implications of the Dictionary; by Geoff Barnbrook and McDermott, who argue, respectively, for and against Johnson's prescriptive linguistic intentions; by DeMaria, who examines especially the oft-neglected "Grammar" and "History" sections; by Lynch and John Stone, who contextualize the Dictionary within the encyclopedic tradition; and by Reddick, who questions the recent emphasis on the collaborative nature of the Dictionary's production. Admirers of Johnson's enduring lexicographical intervention will find here a work that omits little and offers a great deal. ^BSumming Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. A. W. Lee Kentucky Wesleyan College
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