Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 September 2020
In the chapter she has contributed to the current volume, M. J. Toswell gives a pen-portrait of an ideal writer of a dictionary:
A lexicographer conducts a symphony, privately and perhaps silently. With every word, the dictionary-maker investigates and balances the semantics against the morphology, the syntax against the historical usages, the spellings and orthographic variants against the cognate languages. For every word, the balance of these elements must be exactly right, and is never exactly the same. (p. 229)
Those who read this passage will picture Professor Antonette diPaolo Healey perfecting the music of lexicography by working on one Old English word after another. Indeed, Professor Healey and other editors at the Dictionary of Old English project have produced thousands of lexicographical symphonies (that is, word entries) and enriched our field through the publications of word-albums (that is, fascicles). Every time we look up a word in the Dictionary of Old English (DOE), we can recognize the efforts of Toni and her colleagues to strike a balance among various components to create perfect harmony.
We are therefore very proud to present Professor Healey with this volume as ‘a small token’, to borrow from Roy Liuzza's chapter, of our ‘great gratitude – far more than words can express here – for her exemplary scholarship as well as her friendship and encouragement’ (p. 198). Professor Healey is many things to members in the field of Old English studies. Stephen Pelle reminds us that she has also published the editio princeps of the Old English Vision of St. Paul, a text that is of great interest not only to Anglo-Saxonists but also to scholars in many other fields (p. 80). As Damian Fleming points out, she is ‘an exceptional classroom teacher’ who ‘has surely earned a place in the field as exalted as Bede or Ælfric‘(p. 199). But above all, Professor Healey is without doubt the Old English lexicographer of our time: as Donald Scragg writes, ‘she will go down in the history of our subject with Joseph Bosworth and Thomas Northcote Toller’ (p. 228).