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THE MEANING OF EVERYTHING BY SIMON WINCHESTER. Book Breakdown  Thesis: This book describes the many trials and tribulations of the creation of the Oxford.

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Presentation on theme: "THE MEANING OF EVERYTHING BY SIMON WINCHESTER. Book Breakdown  Thesis: This book describes the many trials and tribulations of the creation of the Oxford."— Presentation transcript:


2 Book Breakdown  Thesis: This book describes the many trials and tribulations of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED); including semi-biographical information to help acquaint readers with the dedication put forth by editors of the Oxford English Dictionary.  Method: Simon Winchester uses the narrative form to tell biographical and informative information on the editors and volunteers of the OED and its creation.

3 Book Breakdown  Evidence: The evidence is prevalent throughout the book through documentation of notable editors, and well kept written documents.

4 A Brief Overview   (aproximately 7 minutes)

5 Scriptoria  Scriptorium: a place for writing.  Monastic scribes  The Role of Books in the Monastery  Manuscript Culture

6 Murray’s Scriptorium  Slips of paper  Pigeon holes  Mailbox  Volunteers

7 Serial Publications  Occurred in the 19 th to early part of 20 th century.  Serial publications is the form of breaking up a work into various parts.  Can be seen as the episodes in a television serious, each episode is part of a whole.  Many novels were serialized.  Charles Dickens is an author who wrote many of his novels through serial publications.  Authors were free to write per publication or write as a whole and break it into parts.

8 Timeline  A goodie!

9 Effects on Scholars

10 Effects on Us  We now have the background for all the names and dates.  We have a better understanding of how it all fits together to create the rules and norms we take for granted today.  We can better appreciate the monumental achievement that we call the OED.

11 EDITORS  The OED has had numerous editors!  *NOTE THE PAGE NUMBERS! See something interesting? Write down the page number.  Including: Coleridge Furnivall Murray Bradley Onions Craigie

12 Herbert Coleridge  Herbert Coleridge was technically the first editor, though many publications of the OED do not mention him.  Specialized in Sanskrit, the languages of Norway and Finland, and Icelandic dialects (50).  Grandson of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (51); plagued by tuberculosis.  Divided dictionary into three parts: 1250-1526 [English New Testament], 1526-1674[Milton’s Death], and 1674-present [1858] (52)  Organized volunteer readers, and sorted them into classes based on efficiency (53).  Created a list of words and had built a set of wooden pigeon holes, fifty four in total (57).  Died at 31 of tuberculosis, having worked on the dictionary for four years; supposedly his last words were “I must begin Sanskrit tomorrow.” (58)  Devoutly Christian, his beliefs influenced the nature of the material in the dictionary to some extent. Also a mathematician.

13 Herbert Coleridge archive/photos/herbertcoleridge.jpg

14 Frederick Furnivall  Had several short-lived hobbies, which were usually rather odd. His personal life was filled with scandalous marriages and divorces to younger women. (59)  Cast as the Water Rat in The Wind in the Willows by Furnivall’s friend Kenneth Gillmore (64).  Founded seven literary societies and was actively involved in designing sculling boats while he was supposed to be working on a dictionary (65). This helps explain why progress was so slow under his leadership.  Rather prone to fighting; received criticism from others for his literary societies, leading to such names as “Fartiwell and the Shitspeare Society” (66) for Furnivall’s Shakespeare Society.

15 Frederick Furnivall /FrederickJamesFurnivall.jpg

16 James Murray  Murray began working on what became the OED because of a comment he made to the effect that he wished he might have a go at editing it (70). He was formally appointed in 1879, 18 years after the project began. (97)  Perhaps the most well-known editor, and usually credited with shaping the project into something that might actually be completed.  Spoke Latin, French, Italian, German, Greek, and English by age 15; was also interested in botany, archaeology, astronomy, and geology (75).  Taught Alexander Graham Bell the principles of electricity (77).  Responsible for the dictionary being published at Oxford, namely because they were the only press that didn’t turn the project down (88).

17 James Murray cont.  Made great progress but was hindered by the scattered, unorganized methods of Furnivall, who had left resources in piles and had given other documents to people who had died, given up, lost them, burned them for heat, or let them decay. In some cases entire letters were lost.  Appealed to the public for help, asking for words common and uncommon, along with their source and usage. The post office built a special deposit box for him in order to make it easier on their couriers. Contributors included hermits and murderers like William Minor (195), both of whom were very helpful because they had nothing better to do.  His effectiveness was no doubt helped by the fact that he had eleven children that he put to work organizing the slips submitted by contributors.  Many credit Murray with maintaining the integrity of the project; there was immense pressure from the publishers to put out something that would sell and make back some of the enormous investment the project required, even at the expense of not being complete, well-edited, or accurate. The OED was quite expensive, never met a deadline that was set, and exhausted countless resources despite relying on the contributions from thousands of unpaid contributors.  Murray continued to work on the dictionary within 16 days of his death in 1915.

18 James Murray 7/08/murray1.gif

19 Henry Bradley  Joint senior editor, though he remained subordinate to Murray.  Learned Russian in 14 days (150).  Worked on the dictionary for 40 years and became senior editor upon Murray’s death. Though a valuable contributor, he was not quite as effective as Murray and did suffer occasional health problems. (179). Keep in mind that Murray’s effectiveness was in large part due to the fact that he almost never took leave for vacation or illness, and had 11 children working for him. Bradley may be considered as effective as any normal person could have been expected to be. (178)  Bradley died in 1923, one of many who contributed greatly to the work but did not live to see its completion. (230)

20 Henry Bradley archive/photos/bradley.jpg

21 Charles Onions  Appointed a junior editor in 1914, Onions became a senior editor after the passing of Murray and Bradley. He was perhaps able to see more results than anyone on the project; he worked for 14 years before the first edition came out, and continued working into the 1960s on supplements to the OED. (222)

22 Charles Onions ges/stories/archive/photos/onions.jpg

23 William Craigie  Sr. editor at time of publication in 1928 ries/archive/photos/craigie.jpg

24 The 1928 OED set

25 Printing the OED  Winchester says the OED was handbound and printed by Letterpress until Burchfield’s supplements (1972) Letterpress Ink-bearing, metal plates assembled letter by letter  =Compositors Paper held between two frames; put against the bed bearing the type Impressed image formed by pressure applied via screws

26 Printing the OED  Cylinders later used to roll over paper to create image Model probably closer to what Oxford University Press used

27 Modernization of the OED  For the Burchfield supplements (1972-1986)…. Lithographical printing used (and OED no longer hand-bound!) Technique developed at end of 19 th century Based on immiscibility of water and oil Water-based ink applied to grease-treated image (the type) Paper placed on top and cylinder rolled over it

28 Modernization, Part 2  Mid-1980s to 1989  3 separate ABC listings of words for OED  SO…IBM donates staff and computers All entries put into binary code and organized in ONE Alphabetical listing  The new edition was 20 volumes and was published in 1989!!

29 OED’s usefulness  Compared to other national dictionaries… (RAE [Spain] and Littré [famous French one])  OED gives most complete etymologies, plus… pronunciations, variant spellings, quotations, diachronic date charts This a DESCRIPTIVE approach to Language  SEE next slide for example

30 Example of usefulness  “Prowess” (OED):  A.N. and O.F., Mid. Fr. proece, proesce… Mid. Fr. prouesse (French prouesse) valour, bravery, gallantry Compare Old Occitan proeza (a1126), Catalan proesa (13th cent.), Spanish proeza…  “prouesse” (Littré  Shows definition, different senses, illustrative quotes (though only one or two, not diachronic progression)  “proeza” (  Shows Definitions / different senses Some example sentences, idioms Some etymologies “(de or. inc.)”

31 Traditional Conceptions of Language  Rote memorization  Rigid structures  “Stuffy” grammar and lots of rules

32 Lessons from the OED  Language as a living thing  Practice of referring to language evolution  Historical fallacies of grammar rules  Language is ever-changing  Democratic and dynamic  Winchester talks of language…. Lexicon 2 x after Norman invasion (OE lexicon ~ 50,000 words) 2 x after Renaissance 1989 OED has 615,100 words Revised ed. may contain 1,000,000 words!!!!!!!!!

33 OED Debate  Going digital?  There is not enough market demand for the OED to go into print for it’s third edition. There is no official date set for printing and releasing. As of June 2010, the entries have only reached Ro-.  The printed edition can be purchased for $1300 on Amazon. For a price of $300 a year, you can have access to the online OED.  All the text from the second edition can easily fit into half a gig of storage space or ¾ of a CD.  Have no fear though, smaller versions will still be published.

34 Bibliography  "lithography." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 10 Nov. 2010.  "offset printing.“ Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 10 Nov. 2010.  Paul, Ian. “Next Oxford English Dictionary May Go All-Digital.” Today @ PC World. PC World, 30 Aug. 2010. Web. 7 Nov. 2010.  "printing." Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 10 Nov. 2010.  “serial.” Dictionary of Literary Terms & Literary Theory. Ed. J. A. Cuddon (revised, C. E. Preston). 4 th ed. New York: Penguin, 1998. Print.  Winchester, Simon. The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary. New York: Oxford Univ. P, 2003. Print.

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