Abstract Contrary to received scholarly opinion, in the abridged version of his Dictionary Johnson does not delete all the quotations: a small number are retained from the folio to illustrate the grammatical use of function words such as from, nor, out and to. Quotations in the folio Dictionary of 1755 had generally been accurate, with minor, mainly cosmetic, changes and occasional restrained adjustments to the author’s sense. But in the abridgement, some of the authorial texts are almost wholly rewritten, and others have been used merely as templates for creating new illustrative examples. The way in which Johnson manipulated the quotations for didactic purposes in the octavo is considered here in the light of his abridgement procedures, the necessary typographical changes, and the need to address a wider, less educated public while still preserving the distinctive historical-normative character of the Dictionary. 1. Introduction It is commonly said that in producing the abridged octavo version of his Dictionary Dr Johnson cut out all the quotations (Clifford 1979: 145, ‘with quotations omitted’; Reddick 1996: 86, ‘with all quotations omitted’; Fleeman 2000: 487, ‘passages quoted in the folio … were removed’; Dille 2005: 201 ‘the folio’s illustrative passages … are eliminated’; Luna 2005: 187, ‘the removal of all illustrative quotations’; Nokes 2009: 153, ‘its quotations omitted’). The following parallel entries, cited from the two versions of the Dictionary, may serve to show that this is not entirely true: Folio 1755 OUT. interject. An expression of abhorrence or expulsion. Out upon this half-fac’d fellowship. Shakesp. Octavo 1756 OUT. interject. An expression of abhorrence or expulsion; as, out upon this half-fac’d fellowship. Shakesp. Folio 1755 TO. adv. 2. It notes the intention … She rais’d a war In Italy, to call me back. Dryden’s All for Love. Octavo 1756 TO. ad. 2. It notes the intention: as, she rais’d a war to call me back. Dryden. At times, for words with multiple meanings, a whole range of authors may be cited; to illustrate different senses of the preposition of, for example, there are texts in the 1756 octavo from Bacon, Sandys, Milton, Clarendon, Boyle, Tillotson, Locke, Smalridge and Swift, as well as from Shakespeare and Dryden. Though relatively few in number, these quotations are of particular interest because in many of them the original folio text has been freely altered, sometimes out of all recognition, even though the author’s name is retained. In his abridgement Johnson thus appears to abandon the traditional distinction between genuine quotation and made-up lexicographical example. 2. Selection and distribution of quotations As Catherine Dille has pointed out in her study of Johnson’s abridgements, a copy of the 1755 folio edition, marked for deletion, appears to have been used as printer’s copy for the preparation of entries, and illustrative passages were occasionally blindly carried over from the longer work. Under birchen (‘made of birch’), for example, a passage from Pope had been left in, presumably in error since it was later removed (Dille 2005: 202-3). Where quotations occur with modified texts (as in many of those discussed below) their survival can however hardly be put down to mere editorial or compositor oversight. Retention in the octavo has been highly selective. Nearly all the quoted matter is found in entries for grammatical function words such as against, by, on, over, and yet—items where an example of idiomatic use or of an acceptable sentence pattern will often answer better to the dictionary user’s needs than mere definition. In the folio, illustrations of usage had always been silently present in the numerous passages quoted, and a blanket omission of these in the smaller work meant removing a linguistic prop in entries where less literate users might most welcome it. For function words in particular, the selective reprieve of even a single quotation in the abridged dictionary therefore made good lexicographical sense. In the first edition of the octavo, such quotations occur only in the latter half of the book, from the letter N onwards (nor, of, out, etc.). Numerous editions of the abridgement followed throughout the eighteenth century (Alston 1966: 35-37, items 192-210). There are incidental textual amendments from the second edition on (Dille 2005: 203-8), but these involve few significant changes to entries for function words in editions down to the fifth (1773): it is not until the sixth edition in 1778 ‘corrected by the author’—the last to be published in Johnson’s lifetime—that instances were greatly multiplied, and the practice extended back to cover similar items in the earlier part of the alphabet (against, for, in, etc.) as well as allowing for additional later ones for words such as under and upon. Johnson’s decision to retain illustrative quotations for this particular category of word thus appears to have come as an afterthought. Similar mid-stream switches in method have been noted in the compilation of his folio in 1755—for instance in the treatment of hyphenated words (Osselton 2005: 160-74)—and these are in keeping with his self-confessed habit of devising lexicographical methods as he went along—‘establishing to myself, in the progress of the work, such rules as experience and analogy suggested to me’ (Preface 1755 sig. A2v). To go back after twenty years and bring the early part of the alphabet into line with the rest shows notable continuity of purpose, but the editorial procedures in doing so will necessarily have been quite different: in the 1756 compilation it had been largely a matter of allowing a few of the existing printed folio quotations to stand (though often in abridged form), but later revision involved text recovery and reinsertion. The treatment of quotation in the two editions of 1756 and 1778 is therefore described below in separate sections. 3.1. Quoted matter: 1756 Some of the quotations occurring in the first edition of the octavo (especially shorter ones) are taken over unchanged. There were for instance nine passages in the folio to illustrate the preposition of in the sense ‘noting power, ability, choice, or spontaneity’, and of these Johnson keeps only the brief moral sentiment ‘of himself man is confessedly unequal to his duty. Stephens’; of the three quotations originally given for of with the meaning ‘concerning; relating to’, a spare six-word passage from Bishop Smalridge’s Sermons (‘All have this sense of war’) is given preference over more substantial ones of fifteen to twenty words from Bishop Burnet and Ben Jonson. Most quotations have however been shortened for inclusion in the octavo, and the norm of eight or nine words is seldom exceeded. In the following examples the deletions made from the folio text are indicated by square brackets: [Idle nymph, I pray thee, be Modest, and not follow me,] I nor love myself, nor thee. Ben Johnson. (Under nor, conjunct.). [It was not] of my own choice [that] I undertook this work. Dryden. (Under of, prep. 14). on God’s providence [and on your bounty, all] their [present support and future] hopes depend. Smal[ridge]. (Under on, prep. 7). The process of abridgement here by truncation, with silent omissions in the middle, is similar to that described by Gwin J. and Ruth A. Kolb (1972) in their comparison of passages marked up by Johnson in surviving books with the way these duly appeared in the folio dictionary of 1755. Adaptations such as the above may thus be regarded as an additional tranche of typically cautious Johnsonian reductions, for the most part retaining the original sense, and made simply for the sake of saving space. Numbers of other quotations are cut back more drastically, and full sentences are sometimes whittled down to mere detached noun phrases: [At midnight,] the most dismal and unseasonable time of all other [, then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps]. Tillotson, Sermon 31. (Under of, prep. 2). [Neither can I call to mind] any clergyman of my own acquaintance [who is wholly exempt from this error]. Swift. (Under of, prep. 6). Some quite substantial items are reduced to mere snippets, shorn of context: a couplet from Sandys under to (adv. 3), ‘The lawless sword his childrens blood shall shed, / Increast for slaughter, born to beg their bread’ ends up as simply ‘born to beg’; for the preposition to, ‘noting proportion’, the words ‘three to nine’ are all that is left of what had been an effective illustration from Hooker in the folio: ‘Enoch whose days were, though many in respect of ours, yet scarce as three to nine in comparison of theirs with whom he lived’. Even in the folio dictionary of 1755, despite the lavish scale of word illustration he was adopting there, Johnson had in his Preface lamented the necessity of cutting back on his material, ‘the vexation of expunging’. This had often resulted, he said, in quotations being reduced to ‘clusters of words, in which scarcely any meaning is retained’ (Preface sig. B2v)—perhaps a better description of residual phrases such as ‘three to nine’ in the octavo than of anything to be found in the folio. 3.2. Quoted matter: 1778 Greater textual interference is to be found in the folio quotations that were added in 1778, and occasional authorship misattributions occur there as well, perhaps through careless or hasty revision.1 For instance, under the preposition against ‘with contrary motion or tendency’ the illustration in 1778 reads ‘against the stream. Shakespeare’; in the first edition of the octavo Shakespeare’s name had been retained on its own, simply as an ‘authorization’ for the word, but the newly added illustrative phrase ‘against the stream’ in 1778 has been taken from an adjacent Bacon quotation in the folio. In the intervening years, Johnson had continued to make numerous incidental improvements to entries in his folio Dictionary. In the heavily revised fourth edition of 1773 in particular, numbers of quotations (notably ones on theological or political themes) had for instance been modified or rearranged so as to achieve more effective, coherent lemmas (Reddick 1996: 141-69). High-frequency function words such as for or to were not significantly involved in such changes, and no instances have been found where the many verbal simplifications to quotations in the later abridgement correspond to earlier changes made by Johnson in the text of the folio. Function words seem also largely to escape attention in the known manuscript corrections proposed by Johnson. Among the surviving (unpublished) annotations under the letter B in the corrected sheets of the Sneyd-Gimbel copy of the Dictionary, for instance, no modifications are proposed for words such as beneath, between and by; there is a change of pronoun from his to your in a quotation from the Spectator at behindhand (Reddick 2005: sig. 2Yv, and p. 308), serving to lend immediacy to moral precept, but other changes (as at before, below, beyond, etc.) are concerned mainly with textual presentation. Some two or three hundred manuscript annotations by Johnson also survive in his personal copy of the fourth edition of the Dictionary (the Reynolds copy). The analysis of these by Kolb and Sledd (1955: 460-72) supplemented by McDermott (1992: 29-38) shows that some twenty occur in entries for function words (above, for, that, to, etc.). The corrections proposed here are however chiefly concerned with improvements to definition, along with a variety of typographical and other trivial errors. Shortening of a quotation is proposed under the word that, but there is nothing to suggest the kind of textual simplification that is found later in the abridgement for common readers. At times verbal snippets (much like the ones illustrated above) were accurately retrieved in 1778 from quotations omitted from the original abridgement. As illustration of the preposition in with the sense ‘noting proportion’ Swift’s words ‘nine in ten’ reappear from a lengthy quotation that had been given in the folio Dictionary (‘I cannot but lament the common course, which, at least, nine in ten of those who enter into the ministry are obliged to enter’). Many short phrases lifted from the folio are however re-set for the 1778 octavo in a newly devised, shorter sentence, usually of similar general import: ‘A middling sort of man was left well enough to pass by his father, but could never think he had enough, so long as any had more’ (quoted from L’Estrange in the folio) becomes ‘the man is well enough to pass, though not rich’. Again from L’Estrange, the adverb yet (‘still; in a new degree’) had been illustrated by a single, long sentence in the folio: He that takes from a thief that which the thief took from an honest man, and keeps it to himself, is the wickeder thief of the two, by how much the rapine is made yet blacker by the pretence of piety and injustice. L’Estrange. From this only the three words ‘made yet blacker’ reappear in a new (but still strikingly effective) illustration in the octavo, ‘his treason is made yet blacker by ingratitude. L'Estrange’: eight words for forty-three. Sometimes the quotation may serve merely as a prompt for a new, shorter sentence on the same theme. Six quotations had been given in the 1773 folio for the adverb over in the sense of ‘past’ (as in the modern phrase over and done with). The first of these is Soliman pausing upon the matter, the heat of his fury being something over, suffered himself to be intreated. Knolles. The text of the corresponding illustration in the 1778 octavo dictionary reads ‘when his rage was over, he repented’. This can hardly be called a quotation (his and over are the only words in common) but there can be little doubt that it is modelled on the passage from Knolles in the folio, sharing the narrative theme of a man tempering his anger with the passage of time—here, Johnson’s known tactic of decontextualizing and dehistoricizing his quotations (‘time-specific’ to ‘timeless’, Reddick 2010: 208) yields a simpler, more immediate illustration for the benefit of the common reader. To similar purpose, dramatic dialogue is at times reduced to simple statement: the folio illustration for sense 10 of the word with (‘in mutual understanding’) had been a snatch of dialogue from The Merchant of Venice (I.iii.33-5) where Shylock responded to Bassanio’s invitation to dine with him: ‘I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you … but I will not eat with you, drink with you nor pray with you. Shakespeare’. The distinctly un-Shakespearean text that replaces it in the octavo reads ‘the English trade with all mankind. Shakespeare’. Even here, though the octavo replacement sentence has lost sight of Shakespeare, it retains at least a faint semantic link in the topic of buying and selling. Elsewhere, in many hundreds of instances throughout the dictionary, there is no link at all, verbal or semantic, and a constructed example supplants the 1773 quotation: under the word whatsoever, for instance, the folio has ‘Whatsoever our liturgy hath more than theirs, they cut it off. Hooker’, but for users of the smaller dictionary it is ‘whatsoever I lose, you win. Hooker’. 4. Quotation vs. example Johnson had also used both quotations and made-up examples in his great folio Dictionary, but the two types of verbal illustration had there been kept strictly apart, occupying different positions within the lemma. The copious quotations that form such a distinguishing feature of the folio are printed as a separate indented bloc of data at the end of each entry. But in the octavo (see for example the passages from Shakespeare and Dryden for out and to at the beginning of this article) they are given within the body of the lemma as a continuation of the definition, without any initial capital on the first word, and usually (though less often in 1778) preceded by the word as and a comma. This ‘as,’ formula occurs quite commonly in earlier English dictionaries (Kersey, Bailey, etc.) before constructed examples; Johnson had also used it in his folio for short common phrases (e.g. last, 5 ‘ … as, last week’; leg, 4 ‘ … as, the leg of a table’), and especially for typical collocations that happened not to be represented in the chosen quotations (deplorable, 2 ‘ … as, deplorable nonsense, deplorable stupidity’). Typographically, the quotations in Johnson’s octavo are thus being presented much in the same manner as usage examples in the folio. Even when complete and with author’s name attached they are there to illustrate idiomatic use, not as specimens of what is pleasing or useful in English literature: in the process of abridging the dictionary for users who ‘turn over books only to amuse their leisure’, quotations appear to have been downgraded in status to didactic example. 5. Addressing the common reader Johnson was not the first to produce an abridged dictionary of English. That had been done in 1708 by John Kersey in his successful octavo Dictionarium Anglo-Britannicum, cutting back on the rather bloated encyclopaedic word explanations in his own version (1706) of Edward Phillips’s folio New World of English Words (Starnes and Noyes 1991: 84-9; Osselton 2009: 146-8). But the Johnson abridgement was the first to have been reduced from a work with cited passages attached to each entry. When, belatedly, he decided to include (or add) usage illustrations in some function-word entries there were therefore always plenty of genuine texts for him to draw on. But many or most of the quotations available in the folio were ill-suited to the purposes of grammatical illustration: formal, too learned, and too cluttered with literary matter that would serve only to distract an enquiring user. Even in the original Plan in 1747 Johnson had insisted on the didactic function of his Dictionary, that it should ‘instruct the learner’ (Johnson 1747: 5; Mugglestone 2012: 149)—a feature that would matter all the more in a popular version for the common reader. The general tendency of his changes in the octavo has therefore been to simplify and modernize, cutting out scientific or technical information, effacing dramatic or poetic effects, and removing historical allusions so as to provide more homely, everyday illustrations of colloquial usage. Under out (adv. 3), for instance, a factual Baconian observation on the natural world (‘Fruits and grains are half a year in concocting; whereas leaves are out and perfect in a month’) is neatly reduced to a trite conversational remark (‘the leaves are out’). ‘Against the river’s mouth’, the octavo illustration of against in the sense of ‘opposite to, in place’ loses the classical reference of the Dryden original ‘Against the Tiber’s mouth, but far away’. ‘O for a muse of fire’, from Henry V, is toned down to a more modest ‘O for better times’. A reflective passage from Archbishop Tillotson (‘It is for the general good of human society … to be true and just; and it is for mens health to be temperate’ becomes a sickroom comment—‘this sickness is for good’. For the word with, instead of the illustration from Sandys ‘Can blazing carbuncles with her compare?’ we have the banal ‘he is compared with his betters’. Where there are place names, the local is often given preference over the exotic: at for (‘with intention of going to a certain place’) the destinations named in the 1773 folio had included China and Genoa, but in 1778 the choice is nearer home: ‘he is gone for Oxford’. There is too a pleasing personal substitution under the preposition toward(s). This had been illustrated in the folio by a passage from the Book of Numbers (24:1) in which the prophet Balaam finally succumbed to the will of God and ‘set his face toward the wilderness’; but in the octavo dictionary, the biblical wilderness gives way to the name of Johnson’s birthplace, ‘I am travelling towards Lichfield’— his mixed feelings on the filial duty of visiting his aged mother there have been well documented (Clifford 1979: 149-51, 204-6). 6. Textual integrity and the learner Johnson’s decision to modernize and dumb down the quotations drawn from his folio may call to mind the recent scholarly discussion (partly conducted in this journal) arising from the use of huge electronic corpora in compiling foreign learners’ dictionaries: ‘no issue to do with the involvement of computers in EFL lexicography has aroused fiercer debate than the question of whether examples based on corpus data are necessarily superior to those made up by the lexicographer, or whether, at least for some purposes, made-up examples are preferable’ (Cowie 1999: 134). The case against over-punctilious accuracy (‘slavishly adhering to authentic quotations’) was neatly summarized by Hausmann and Gorbahn (1989: 46): ‘it is not authenticity that is decisive, but the didactic powers of the examples’. Patrick Hanks (2005: 263-4), provided a counter-argument, that ‘the lexicographer who makes up an example risks misleading the user … in a learner’s dictionary, authenticity is necessary, but it is not sufficient’, pointing out some years later that even lexicographers making extensive use of the BNC might still feel free ‘under direction, to invent some examples, and tweak others’ (Hanks 2012: 409). Johnson was also using a corpus (the self-selected quotations from his folio dictionary), his purpose (specifically in dealing with function words) was equally didactic, and—as shown in numbers of examples above—he too ‘tweaked’ many of the retained texts. But in his case, by tweaking them he certainly risked misleading the user, since the quotations (however much altered) came always at the end of the entry and so were normally followed by an author’s name. 7. ‘Authorization’ and the Johnson brand In the preface to the abridgement Johnson explains quite explicitly that his ‘authorization’ of words by adding a writer’s name had been done to provide guidance on the word’s status, register and currency (‘the elegance or prevalence of any word … what are antiquated, what are unusual, and what are recommended by the best authority’). Catherine Dille has noted that he would have known this feature from the Latin-English dictionaries of his day, adding that it was ‘not typical of monolingual popular dictionaries’ (Dille 2005: 201). Giving an author’s name after an entry to validate the use of a word had however been an established practice in the works of some predecessors, though this had been done only selectively. In his Glossographia (1656) Thomas Blount had provided names to back up some 2500 entries (Osselton 1996: 215-32); the anonymous author of the Glossographia Anglicana Nova (1707, 1719) had an eye for recently adopted scientific and theological terms, naming users of them (Osselton 2008: 88-95); and readers of Nathan Bailey’s Dictionarium Britannicum, the second (1736) edition of which was used by Johnson, would at times come upon words from Shakespeare, Milton, Locke, Newton, Prior and others that are graced by their author’s name. In these earlier dictionaries, where there were no quotations anyway, an appended name will always signify use; but where it follows a cited text (as with many of Johnson’s function words) it would—then as now—normally be taken to indicate authorship. The motive given in the Preface for picking on a particular author’s name to authorize a word sometimes comes out clearly enough—as for instance ‘Spenser’, ‘Sidney’ or ‘Shakespeare’ after words that had previously been branded as obsolete in the folio (Dille 2005: 201). But in practice the device appears to be of rather limited value—who wants to know that the word cat is in Shakespeare, or that dog occurs in the writings of John Locke? For the great bulk of the English vocabulary (and especially for high-frequency items) an added name will tell us very little about a word’s linguistic status. The mass ‘authorization’ of words in the octavo may thus appear to have been a somewhat flawed compiling device, tending to mislead readers by blurring the distinction between quotation and example, as well as being in some measure redundant. It could nevertheless have made good sense from the bookseller’s point of view. There was a highly competitive market for compact dictionaries when Johnson launched his abridgement in 1756. His main competitor, Nathan Bailey, with his handy octavo Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1721) priced at six shillings, had for instance gone through sixteen editions by 1756, and twenty-four by 1778. Even so, the Johnson octavo (at ten shillings) sold ‘reasonably well’ (Dille 2005: 202) and had reached its eleventh edition by the end of the century. Compilers of English dictionaries before Johnson had at times flaunted hollow claims on their title-pages to have based their books on ‘the best authors’ (Kersey 1706), or ‘the best English writers’ (Wesley 1753). Johnson was alone among English lexicographers actually to perform that task, and the ‘authorization’ of words in the abridgement, with its array of familiar authors’ names displayed on every page (whatever word you looked up) must have served also as an advertisement to purchasers, and a constant reminder to users, of the unique character of the Johnsonian product. 8. Conclusion Johnson’s use of quotation in the abridgement differs quite radically from what we know in his folio Dictionary. In this study, the handful of quotations (hitherto unnoticed) that were retained from the folio are shown to serve the narrowly restricted didactic purpose of giving guidance on idiomatic and grammatical usage. Johnson is accordingly seen to have made drastic alterations in the wording of passages from Shakespeare, Dryden, Addison and others so as to provide more pedagogically effective illustrations, and some of the folio quotations are treated simply as raw linguistic material for the invention of new and snappier modern examples. Pages in the abridgement may thus confront the user with an undifferentiated mix of quotation, semi-quotation and invented text. Since nearly every entry ends with an author’s name, the ‘common readers’ of Johnson’s smaller popular dictionary (unlike those who consulted the scholarly folio) will have had no ready means of knowing which illustrations were genuine, and which had been made up. Footnotes 1 In the account of quoted matter in the 1778 octavo given below, all folio references are made to the text of the fourth edition of 1773. References Anon. 1707. Glossographia Anglicana Nova . London: Dan. Brown. Bailey Nathan. 1721. 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(eds), Yesterday’s Words: Contemporary, Current and Future Lexicography. Newcastle : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 88– 95. Osselton Noel. 2009. ‘The Early Development of the English Monolingual Dictionary (Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries)’ In Cowie A.P. The Oxford History of English Lexicography , Vol. I. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 131– 154. Reddick Allen. 1996. The Making of Johnson’s Dictionary, 1746-1773 . ( Revised second edition.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reddick Allen. 2005. Samuel Johnson’s Unpublished Revisions to the Dictionary of the English Language. A Facsimile Edition . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reddick Allen. 2010. Past and Present in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language. International Journal of Lexicography 23: 207– 22. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Starnes De Witt T., Noyes Gertrude. 1991. The English Dictionary from Cawdrey to Johnson 1604-1755 . (New edition, ed. Gabriele Stein). Amsterdam / Philadelphia: Benjamins. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS © 2018 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: email@example.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
International Journal of Lexicography – Oxford University Press
Published: May 9, 2018
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