This series of five volumes enshrines the collective achievement of English lexicographers from the Old English period to the eighteenth century. These author-scholars are unique in that they witness and analyze the growth of English vocabulary over nine hundred years. The volumes are organized chronologically and discuss historical and theoretical topics such as: the great range of activity by anonymous early lexicographers; the gradual evolution of varied glossarial compilations during the medieval period; the appearance of a numerous cadre of monolingual, bilingual, law and herbal lexicographers in the sixteenth century; the emergence, in the Renaissance, of a more recognizably modern dictionary incorporating synonymy, illustrative citations and other standard features; the making of the first free-standing monolingual English dictionaries in the seventeenth century, and of increasingly specialized works on subjects such as dialect, etymology, medicine, and mathematics; and the flourishing tradition of English lexicography in the eighteenth century that unified these many lexical streams and enabled Samuel Johnson to write his legendary A Dictionary of the English Language. Each volume in the series is edited and introduced by a recognized authority who has surveyed the existing literature and has selected essays that are regarded as significant contributions to an understanding of the historical development of dictionaries during the period. The volumes also include some original essays specially commissioned for this series, as well as full indexes. This series constitutes an indispensable reference resource of the key essays in the field and is an invaluable research tool for students of lexicography and English literature, textual history and bibliography.
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'... the series editor and the volume editors have done exceptional jobs of bringing together many foundational texts that scholars return to again and again. Such works are essential.' 18th Century Intelligencer ’...a rich resource for all those interested in the motivations and methodologies of English lexicographers from the Anglo-Saxon period until the end of the 18th century... it brings together 135 essays by 115 individual scholars, mostly reprinted from journals and collections, with a few specially commissioned contributions in Volume IV. Since many of the former would be hard to track down, even in the internet age, this massive harvesting of the best work in the field is a real service to scholarship.’ Historiographia Linguistica