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Women and Dictionary-Making
Gender, Genre, and English Language Lexicography

  • Date Published: August 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107187702


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About the Authors
  • Dictionaries are a powerful genre, perceived as authoritative and objective records of the language, impervious to personal bias. But who makes dictionaries shapes both how they are constructed and how they are used. Tracing the craft of dictionary making from the fifteenth century to the present day, this book explores the vital but little-known significance of women and gender in the creation of English language dictionaries. Women worked as dictionary patrons, collaborators, readers, compilers, and critics, while gender ideologies served, at turns, to prevent, secure, and veil women's involvements and innovations in dictionary making. Combining historical, rhetorical, and feminist methods, this is a monumental recovery of six centuries of women's participation in dictionary making and a robust investigation of how the social life of the genre is influenced by the social expectations of gender.

    • Uncovers the vital but little known role of women as compilers, patrons, users, and critics of dictionaries
    • Offers a new, more inclusive picture of lexicography and lexicographical practice
    • Studies a wide range of accessible and engaging sources, from unpublished manuscripts and obscure glossaries to twentieth-century novels and films, as well as popular online and print dictionaries
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This fascinating work seeks to reclaim the often forgotten and neglected role of women in the making of dictionaries, and is a welcome addition to the scholarly literature on lexicography.' Sarah Ogilvie, Stanford University, California and author of Words of the World: A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107187702
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 155 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 12 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Walking dictionary, sleeping dictionary: toward a gendered history of a rhetorical genre
    2. Patronizing dictionaries: invocations of women at the invention of the genre
    3. Compiling dictionaries: lexicography attributable to women and alternative generic traditions
    4. Living with and working for dictionaries: women's contributions and critique as the genre expanded
    5. Reinventing dictionaries: the generic interventions of feminist lexicography.

  • Author

    Lindsay Rose Russell, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Lindsay Rose Russell teaches in the Department of English and The Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include histories and descriptions of the English language, rhetorical theory, genre studies, lexicography, and feminist historiography.

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