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Sticktoitiveness

John Sutherland

8 June 1995
Empire of Words: The Reign of the ‘OED’ 
by John Willinsky.
Princeton, 258 pp., £19.95, November 1994, 0 691 03719 1
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... the Shorter Oxford and Webster, as a Bible on matters linguistic. Nor, one imagines, could a post-Willinsky scholar do what Raymond Williams did in the Fifties and base a major intellectual enterprise on the confident assumption that OED represents ‘a systematic, reliable and comprehensive history of the English vocabulary’ – raw lexical material. In ...

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