A Dictionary of the English Language.

Reprinted by E. H. Barker... from a copy communicated by the author, and containing many manuscript corrections and additions: with an appendix by the editor.

London: Black, Young, and Young, 1831-32 Stock Code: 150191
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First UK edition of the dictionary that almost at once became, and has remained, the standard English dictionary in the United States. Webster wanted to stress the political separation from Britain by the cultivation of a distinct American language, and so, under the influence of his friend Benjamin Franklin, turned his attention to "a reformed mode of spelling" and gave many printed American words their distinctive appearance. "The book marked a definite advance in modern lexicography, as it included many non-literary terms and paid great attention to the language actually spoken. Moreover, his definitions of the meanings of words were accurate and concise (Sir James Murray, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, called him 'a born definer of words') and have for the greater part stood the test of time superbly well. In fact, Webster succeeded in breaking the fetters imposed upon American English by Dr Johnson, to the ultimate benefit of the living languages of both countries" (PMM). The dictionary's English editor was the classical scholar Edmund Henry Barker (1788-1839), who carried on a lengthy correspondence with Webster.

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2 volumes, quarto (278 x 225 mm). Contemporary full calf, red and green morocco title labels, low raised bands, compartments ruled in gilt and blind, covers with foliate border in blind, speckled edges.


Printed in triple-columns.


Ex-libris Gordon Paget, with his inscription to front free endpaper of vol. 1. Foot of spines neatly repaired, tips worn, boards a little rubbed and scuffed, internally clean, with only occasional spots of pale foxing, free from marks and tears. A very good set.


Printing and the Mind of Man 291.


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