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The Story of Webster's Third: Philip Gove's…

The Story of Webster's Third: Philip Gove's Controversial Dictionary and…

by Herbert C. Morton

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If you're not the kind of person who is fascinated with words for their own sake, in all their colors and shapes and flavors, from the patricians of ancient lineage to tomorrow's guttersnipe, you'll probably think that this book is on the read-aloud A-list for the loudspeakers of hell.

• if you have an appetite for a meticulously researched, annotated, and indexed narrative account of the controversial 1961 dictionary, its history, and its aftermath,
• if you want to read about the dictionary wars of the tumultuous sixties,
• if the very idea of dictionary wars casts a somewhat unwholesome spell over you,
• if you've wondered how in the world dictionary editors decide what is a real word and what isn't, and
• if you have an opinion about whether "ain't" ought to appear in a respectable dictionary,
put this volume on your reading list.

Especially if you've been reading Simon Winchester. ( )
  Meredy | Nov 17, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0521558697, Paperback)

The publication of Webster's Third New International Dictionary in 1961 set off a storm of intense controversy in both the popular press and in scholarly journals due to widespread disagreements about the nature of language and the role of the dictionary. This is the first full account of the controversy, set within the larger background of how the dictionary was planned and put together by its editor-in-chief, Philip Babcock Gove. Based on original research and interviews with the people who knew and worked with Gove, this is a human story as well as the story of the making of a dictionary. The author skillfully interweaves an account of Gove's character and working habits with the evolution of the dictionary. In spite of its rocky initial reception, Webster's Third is now widely regarded as one of the greatest dictionaries of our time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:12 -0400)

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