The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight over the English Language
(eBook)

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Published
Princeton University Press, 2019.
Format
eBook
ISBN
9780691189994
Status
Available Online

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Language
English

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APA Citation, 7th Edition (style guide)

Peter Martin., & Peter Martin|AUTHOR. (2019). The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight over the English Language . Princeton University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation, 17th Edition (style guide)

Peter Martin and Peter Martin|AUTHOR. 2019. The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight Over the English Language. Princeton University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities (Notes and Bibliography) Citation, 17th Edition (style guide)

Peter Martin and Peter Martin|AUTHOR. The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight Over the English Language Princeton University Press, 2019.

MLA Citation, 9th Edition (style guide)

Peter Martin, and Peter Martin|AUTHOR. The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight Over the English Language Princeton University Press, 2019.

Note! Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy. Citation formats are based on standards as of August 2021.

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Grouped Work ID6ca21419-8dc7-76e6-bb63-6089dbed8ebc-eng
Full titledictionary wars the american fight over the english language
Authormartin peter
Grouping Categorybook
Last Update2024-05-15 02:00:34AM
Last Indexed2024-06-22 02:58:09AM

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    [synopsis] => "A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year" Peter Martin is the author of numerous books, including the acclaimed biographies Samuel Johnson and A Life of James Boswell. He has taught English literature in the United States and England and divides his time between West Sussex, England, and Spain. 
	A compelling history of the national conflicts that resulted from efforts to produce the first definitive American dictionary of English 

In The Dictionary Wars, Peter Martin recounts the patriotic fervor in the early American republic to produce a definitive national dictionary that would rival Samuel Johnson's 1755 Dictionary of the English Language. But what began as a cultural war of independence from Britain devolved into a battle among lexicographers, authors, scholars, and publishers, all vying for dictionary supremacy and shattering forever the dream of a unified American language.

The overwhelming questions in the dictionary wars involved which and whose English was truly American and whether a dictionary of English should attempt to be American at all, independent from Britain. Martin tells the human story of the intense rivalry between America's first lexicographers, Noah Webster and Joseph Emerson Worcester, who fought over who could best represent the soul and identity of American culture. Webster believed an American dictionary, like the American language, ought to be informed by the nation's republican principles, but Worcester thought that such language reforms were reckless and went too far. Their conflict continued beyond Webster's death, when the ambitious Merriam brothers acquired publishing rights to Webster's American Dictionary and launched their own language wars. From the beginning of the nineteenth century to the end of the Civil War, the dictionary wars also engaged America's colleges, libraries, newspapers, religious groups, and state legislatures at a pivotal historical moment that coincided with rising literacy and the print revolution.

Delving into the personal stories and national debates that arose from the conflicts surrounding America's first dictionaries, The Dictionary Wars examines the linguistic struggles that underpinned the founding and growth of a nation. "[A] riveting history. . . . The author navigates a complex story, bringing to life the passions and ideologies that shaped the early American lexicon." "Wonderfully told. . . . For a tale of lexicographic intrigue, Mr. Martin's book is unexcelled."---Bryan A. Garner, Wall Street Journal "Engaging and informative. . . . The Dictionary Wars . . . forays into copyright law, educational policy, religious revivalism, and other pressures on the verbal life of the nation."---Christopher Benfey, New York Review of Books "Martin is a steady and thorough guide to what he calls the 'endless labyrinths of lexicography', and in Dictionary Wars he succeeds in dramatising what could have been mere bibliography."---Max Norman, Literary Review "An informative and often pleasantly surprising cultural history." "With an impressive breadth of research, The Dictionary Wars invites contemplation of the ways in which language itself can affect the soul of a nation."---Meagan Logsdon, Foreword Reviews "Reanimates a 19th-century 'civil war over words' that shaped how Americans speak and write. . . . Anyone who loves words for their own sake will be entertained." "What [The Dictionary Wars] does best is to demonstrate that while characters win or lose, the very viciousness of the fight ended up benefiting the whole language and all of us who use it. For those of us nerdy and wordy enough to love the language as well as use it, this is profound."---Nicholas Clairmont, Washington Examiner "Martin's account of the dictionary feuds of the 19th century is as lively and entertaining as the battle itself."---Patricia T. O'Conner, New York Times "Peter Martin's The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight Over the English Language show
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