Reading About Dictionaries and Lost Words: Background information when reading The Dictionary of Lost Words

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The Dictionary of Lost Words

by Pip Williams

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams X
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
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    Apr 2021, 400 pages

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Rebecca Foster
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About this Book

Reading About Dictionaries and Lost Words

This article relates to The Dictionary of Lost Words

Pip Williams was prompted to write The Dictionary of Lost Words, a novel including historical detail about words omitted from the Oxford English Dictionary, by reading Simon Winchester's 1998 book The Professor and the Madman and wondering where women were in the story of the dictionary. Below is some background on Winchester's book as well as some additional works about dictionaries and words that have been lost from their pages — or just fallen out of regular usage.

The Professor and the Madman cover The Professor and the Madman focuses on a niche, though fascinating, incident. For two decades, Professor James Murray, editor of the OED, corresponded with Dr. William Chester Minor, one of thousands of volunteers who sent in quotations for the dictionary's definitions. Minor had been a Civil War surgeon and had lived in Connecticut, yet his frequent letters came postmarked from the village of Crowthorne, just 50 miles from Oxford. Murray invited Minor to visit the dictionary headquarters, but he never ...

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