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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: September 2020

Chapter 8 - A Dictionary Ecosystem: Four Centuries of English Lexicography

from Part II - English Dictionaries Throughout the Centuries


This chapter gives an overview of the traditions of English lexicography from the early modern period to the present day. Rather than presenting a linear story of evolutionary development, it surveys changes in the whole ecosystem of lexicographical publishing, from the most elementary spelling-books to the most scholarly multi-volume dictionaries, emphasising the books which came into the hands of the most readers: these were of course the smallest and cheapest. It is therefore attentive to changes in publishing technology (from handpress to machine press to digital) and to information about dictionaries as material books, such as physical size, number of editions, and size of print runs.

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