- Chambers Universal Learners’ Dictionary
Chambers, 908 pp, £5.95, July 1980, ISBN 0 550 10632 4
- Le Mot Juste
Kogan Page/Papermac, 176 pp, £5.95, July 1980, ISBN 0 85038 294 7
In 1598 John Florio called his dictionary A World of Words, and the joy of a new dictionary is the traveller’s joy, the joy of entering a new world, or at least a new state in some loose federal union, recognisably part of the same nation, but with its own eccentricities and prejudices, more rigid or more lax in licensing laws or taboos, more or less committed to conservation.
Vol. 3 No. 14 · 6 August 1981
From Harry Cohen
SIR: In his review of Le Mot Juste (LRB, 18 June) Mr Eric Korn states that the expression bon vivant is not used in its language of origin. On the contrary, I have found it quite vivant in the three French-language countries I have been living in for over twenty years. Moreover, how does Mr Korn’s assertion tally with the fact that the phrase appears as an entry or sub-entry in the latest editions of all leading French dictionaries, including Petit Larousse Illustré, Lexis, Dictionnaire de la Prononciation du Français dans son Usage Réel, ‘Garand’ Robert, Dictionnaire du Français Vivant and Dictionnaire des Synonymes (Robert)?