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Johnson's Dictionary

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 1 March 1955



Just two hundred years ago, on April 15th, 1755, there was published, in two large folio volumes, one of the greatest of English books, A Dictionary of the English Language, by Samuel Johnson, A.M., issued, after the manner of the time, by a group of shareholding book‐sellers, or, as we should call them, publishers, the Knaptons, the Longmans, Hitch and Hawes, Millar, and the Dodsleys. Such a single‐handed work can hardly ever have been seen. The French forty Immortals of the Academy had taken forty years over their dictionary of the French language; Johnson proposed to take three (he actually took about seven) over his, a comparison which provided him with material for a sportive equation of an Englishman to a Frenchman being as three is to forty multiplied by forty, i.e., 1,600.


ESDAILE, A. (1955), "Johnson's Dictionary", Library Review, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 146-149.




Copyright © 1955, MCB UP Limited

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