Saturday, December 13, 2008


A day late and a decade early: Fridays and Tuesdays are the normal days of operation for this realm of rants, chants, and thieving poets but this last month of 2008 has me prancing on a peninsula of pain in the rain (alas, not in Spain). Forgive the slippage, but perhaps it was person was gravitating toward this day in history, the occasion of lexicographer Samuel Johnson's death in 1784 at the age of 75. Doctor Johnson's English Dictionary (the first!) came out in 1755 and it is a masterly museum mosaic of words, archaic and useful, and definitions at once perceptive, polemical, comical, and droll. Several years ago Ashgate Press published a selection, nicely edited by Jack Lynch. On this Saturday, I urge you, dear Reader, to pick up any edition of Johnson's Dictionary and read in and around it for your pleasure. Yes, read a dictionary for pleasure! It sounds like a put-on but put paid to that sentiment, Reader. You will enter this dictionary with a delight that just doesn't come from thumbing through thesauruses, examining encyclopedias, gleaning grammar books, or dipping into other dictionaries. In memory of Dr. Johnson and meaning, get thee to his Dictionary now! J/C