Oxford English Dictionary

James MURRAY   |   William CRAGIE

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“THE GREATEST TREASURE-HOUSE OF ANY LANGUAGE IN THE WORLD”: FIRST EDITION OF THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY, IN ORIGINAL PUBLISHER’S MOROCCO-GILT

(OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY) MURRAY, James, et al. (editors). A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society… Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888-1928. Thirteen volumes (ten volumes bound in twelve, and the Supplement volume). Thick folio (11-1/2 by 13-1/2 inches), publisher's three-quarter dark maroon morocco gilt, top edges gilt, uncut.

First edition in book form of the famous Oxford English Dictionary—“a project of unprecedented historical and cultural importance” (New York Times)—in the publisher’s deluxe morocco-gilt.

"The N.E.D., as it was originally cited, or the O.E.D., as it is now known, is the greatest treasure-house of any language in the world, unrivalled for its comprehensiveness and ease of consultation as well as for its reliability and scholarship" (PMM 371). "The scheme of 'a completely new English Dictionary' was conceived in 1858… Herbert Coleridge and after him Dr. F. J. Furnivall, were the first editors. Their work, which covered 20 years, consisted mainly in the collection of materials, and it was not until Dr. J.A H. Murray took the matter up in 1878 that the preparation of the Dictionary began to take active form…. The essential feature of the Dictionary is its historical method, by which the meaning and form of the words are traced from their earliest appearance on the basis of an immense number of quotations, collected by more than 800 voluntary workers. The Dictionary contains a record of 414,825 words, whose history is illustrated by 1,827,306 quotations" (Drabble, 728). The first edition of the Dictionary was issued both in original parts and in book form. Bookplates.

A few inner paper hinges tender, bindings sound. Original publisher's bindings with spines slightly toned, very light rubbing to some extremities. A near-fine set of this important work. Scarce, especially so in publisher's binding.

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