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The Dictionary of Lost Words
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The Dictionary of Lost Words (2020)

Serier: OUP Stories (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,7131195,378 (3.97)215
Esme v©Þxer upp i ordens magiska v©Þrld. Moderl©œs och obotligt nyfiken tillbringar hon sin barndom i Skriptoriet, ett tr©Þdg©Ærdsskjul i Oxford d©Þr hennes far och en skara h©Þngivna lexikografer samlar material till Oxfords allra f©œrsta engelska ordbok. Esme g©œmmer sig under arbetsbordet, d©Þr det en dag singlar ner en papperslapp med ett ord: deja. Hon b©œrjar samla andra lappar som m©Þnnen i Skriptoriet slarvar bort eller sl©Þnger och sparar dem i en gammal tr©Þkoffert. Orden p©Æ lapparna blir s©Æ sm©Æningom hennes fr©Þmsta redskap f©œr att f©œrst©Æ omv©Þrlden. Med tiden inser Esme att en del uttryck v©Þrderas h©œgre ©Þn andra och att ord och betydelser med koppling till kvinnors liv ofta f©œrbises. I hemlighet b©œrjar hon sammanst©Þlla en egen ordbok: De℗ f©œrlorade ordens bok. Pip Williams b©Þsts©Þljande debutroman ©Þr baserad p©Æ verkliga h©Þndelser. F©œrfattaren fr©Ægar sig vilken betydelse det haft f©œr spr©Æket att det var uteslutande m©Þn som sammanst©Þllde lexikon i slutet av 1800-talet. Finns d©Þr en annan ber©Þttelse g©œmd mellan raderna en om kvinnornas historia? [Elib]… (mer)
Medlem:DAGray08
Titel:The Dictionary of Lost Words
Författare:
Info:Affirm Press
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:*****
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Dictionary of Lost Words av Pip Williams (2020)

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» Se även 215 omnämnanden

engelska (114)  tyska (2)  spanska (1)  nederländska (1)  Alla språk (118)
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC DETAILS:
-Print: COPYRIGHT ©: 4/6/2021; ISBN 978-0593160190; PUBLISHER: Ballentine Books; First Printing edition; PAGES: 400; UNABRIDGED (Hardcover Info from Amazon)
-Digital: COPYRIGHT ©: 4/6/2021; ISBN: 978-1984820730; PUBLISHER: Ballentine Books; PAGES: 402; UNABRIDGED. (Info from Libby App version [# of pages from amazon])
*Audio: COPYRIGHT ©: 4/6/2021; PUBLISHER: Random House Audio; DURATION: 11 hours, 11 minutes; Unabridged; (Info from Amazon/Audible)
-Feature Film or tv: No.

SERIES: No

MAIN CHARACTERS: (Not comprehensive)
Dr. James (Augustus Henry) Murray – Primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) [actual person, 2/7/1837-7/26/1915]
Jowett Murray – The Murray’s baby
Mrs. Murray – James’ wife
Hilda Murray – the Murray’s 13 year old daughter
Elsie Murray – Hilda’s younger sister
Rosfirth – Hilda’s younger sister
Lily Nicoll – Esme’s mother
Henry (Da) Nicoll – Esme’s father
Lizzy – 13 year old house maid
Esme (Essymay) Nicoll - Protagonist
Mrs. Ballard – Kitchen maid
Edith (Ditte) Thompson – contributor of words to the dictionary, serves as an (unrelated) aunt to Esme. [Actual person 1848-1929]
Mr. Mitchell – Lexicographer on the OED
Mr. Maling – Lexicographer on the OED
Mr. Balk – Lexicographer on the OED
Mr. Hart – Printer
Gareth – A compositor at the Printer
Mr. Dankworth – lexicographer working on the OED
Mabel – street vendor
Tilda – an actress
Bill – Tilda’s brother

SUMMARY/ EVALUATION:
-SELECTED. The title and book cover intrigued me.
-ABOUT: Young Esme is most content under a table in the Scriptorium as all of the lexicographers go about their work sorting, defining, and arranging words, and the quotes in which they are found, on slips of paper. When she realizes that some words are considered unworthy, or inappropriate, due to not being found in writing, or being vulgar, she’s compelled to save them like treasures. This evolves into a hobby of actively seeking out words from women and the illiterate whose vocabularies have not been committed to print.
-OVERALL OPINION: I so liked the fictionalized Edith Thompson character, Ditte, that I sought out her writing after finishing this book, and purchased an old “History of England” through Abe books. I read in a Los Angeles Public Library online interview that Pip actually considered just giving this character a pseudonym. To avoid any conflicts regarding the actual person, right up to sending it to the printers. I’m so glad she didn’t.
There’s much more then I've shared to this story and I believe it’s entered the ranks of my very favorites!

AUTHOR:
Pip Williams:
(From the Los Angeles Public Library Blog)
“Pip Williams was born in London, grew up in Sydney, and now lives in Australia’s Adelaide Hills. She is the author of One Italian Summer, a memoir of her family's travels in search of the good life, which was published in Australia to wide acclaim. Based on her original research in the Oxford English Dictionary archives, The Dictionary of Lost Words is her first novel and she recently talked about it with Daryl Maxwell for the LAPL Blog.”

NARRATOR:
Pippa Bennet-Warner - From Wikipedia:
“Philippa Elaine Fanti Bennett-Warner (born 23 July 1988) is a British actress.[1] She began her career as a child actress, playing young Nala in the original West End production of The Lion King (1999). She went on to earn WhatsOnStage and Ian Charleson Award nominations for her roles in the musical Caroline, or Change (2006) and Michael Grandage's King Lear (2010) respectively.[2]
On television, Bennett-Warner is known for starring in the Sky Atlantic crime drama Gangs of London (2020–present) and the BBC thrillers Roadkill (2020),Chloe (2022). Also participating as a boss in "Elden Ring" (2022), who is commonly known as the hardest boss of the game.

GENRE:
Historical Fiction; Biographical Fiction; Women’s Fiction

TIME FRAME:
1887-1928

LOCATION:
Oxford, England

SUBJECTS:
Lexicography, Oxford English Dictionary; Suffragettes

DEDICATION:
“For Ma and Pa”.

SAMPLE QUOTATION:
From “May 1887”
“Scriptorium. It sounds as if it might have been a grand building, where the lightest footstep would echo between marble floor and gilded dome. But it was just a shed, in the back garden of a house in Oxford.
Instead of storing shovels and rakes, the shed stored words. Every word in the English language was written on a slip of paper the size of a postcard. Volunteers posted them from all over the world, and they were kept in bundles in the hundreds of pigeon-holes that lined the shed walls. Dr. Murray was the one who named it the Scriptorium—he must have thought it an indignity for the English language to be stored in a garden shed—but everyone who worked there called it the Scrippy. Everyone but me. I liked the feel of scriptorium as it moved around my mouth and landed softly between my lips. It took me a long time to learn to say it, and when I finally did nothing else would do.
Da once helped me search the pigeon-holes for scriptorium. We found five slips with examples of how the word had been used, each quotation dating back little more than a hundred years. All of them were more or less the same, and none of them referred to a shed in the back garden of a house in Oxford. A scriptorium, the slips told me, was a writing room in a monastery.
But I understood why Dr. Murray had chosen it. He and his assistants were a little like monks, and when I was five it was easy to imagine the Dictionary as their holy book. When Dr. Murray told me it would take a lifetime to compile all the words, I wondered whose. His hair was already as grey as ash, and they were only halfway through B.”

RATING:.
5
STARTED READING – FINISHED READING
9-17-2023 to 9-22-2023 ( )
  TraSea | May 3, 2024 |
Other folks said they shed a tear. Yes. Yes, I also shed a few tears towards the end. As someone whose career is in words and language, I enjoyed this very much. It's a really easy read. The ways in which the characters interact with language reveals what we come to learn -- it's all a grey area. Recommend to other word nerds. ( )
  postsbygina | Apr 27, 2024 |
"This book began with two simple questions: Do words mean different things to men and women: And if they do, is it possible that we have lost something in the process of defining them?"

Having read "The Professor and the Madman" by Simon Winchester and " Babel by R.F. Kuang, I was intrigued by the premise of this book: An attempt to catalog words of those underrepresented in history! Instead of being an enjoyable read, it ultimately became a chore. I sometimes wanted to throw the book against the wall in frustration.

Unfortunately, I was not too fond of the main character, Esme. She is a flat character- more of a caricature than a character. Possibly she is the author's idea of an early protofeminist. She came off as a whiny, spoiled drama queen, mainly because her actions were not given any explanation. She doesn't seem to have an interior life. She seems melancholy and depressed...why? Why does she sit on the sidelines of the action in the book? Why does she collect the "lost words" only to lock them in a box? Her husband has them published for her. She doesn't seem to do anything but pout about everything that happens to her. Another example: Unwanted pregnancy- she didn't know she was pregnant. Her maid told her she was. She was clueless.
And why is she so delighted to collect not just mundane words, but "foul" words? Is that her mark of "independence"?
Another thing that takes away from the book- important events happen outside the story. For instance, she is sent away to school but has a terrible experience. We are never told why, just that she did not want to go back. Her relationship with her first lover is only mentioned in passing. She observes the suffrage movement from afar, never really getting involved. Even her death is told to us by another character writing to Esme's long-lost daughter.
More direct action and a rounder, more dynamic character would have made this story more engaging.
( )
  Chrissylou62 | Apr 11, 2024 |
Research have proven, over and over again, that while culture shapes language, language also shapes culture. Dominant populations may not be able to gatekeep the vocabulary that is employed by marginalized populations (women, the poor), but they do get to gatekeep which words end up officially acknowledged in dictionaries, thus shaping that society's acknowledged reality.

This is the understanding that gradually dawns on the protagonist of the novel, Esme, who finds employment in the workshop/scriptorium where the Oxford English Dictionary is being composed. As her interest converges on specific categories of words most likely to be excluded - slang, vulgar language, language related to female experiences/desires - her own life experiences conspire to underscore the importance and relevancy of these words.

Other themes: how dictionaries fail to acknowledge how the connotations of words (ex: sisters, sufferage, f---) evolve over time; and language's role in defining history (a la "history is written by the victors").

Reviews and blurbs suggest that this novel is some sort of daring celebration of feminism. I'm not sure there's anything particularly daring here. The book feels fairly authentic in its incorporation of women representing both ends of the spectrum of female experience, from exploited prostitutes to well-respected female scholars. If anything, the book draws attention to the gradual empowerment of women that has occurred over time, their transition from the maidens/scolds/dollymops of the past (captured in the quotes that are used to source the dictionary) to women unafraid to demand their rights and claim their sexuality. One emerges with the impression that while the English Oxford Dictionary may be flawed, and females may continue to experience sexism, neither of these are as excessive as they might be.

One ding: while it's cool that this story is based on actual events, this does have the inevitable impact of limiting the author's flexibility and creativity. The characters and events that are based on reality are definitely not as dramatic or interesting as the fictionalized bits. Don't get me wrong: there's enough plot/character development to keep things interesting, but this is mostly a book about ideas rather than people - an exploration of the power of vocabulary to not just define but shape reality. ( )
  Dorritt | Feb 22, 2024 |
As much as I enjoyed this novel as a work of fiction, I enjoyed the shorter Author’s Note equally, beginning with the first paragraph, which poses two questions: “Do words mean different things to men and women? And if they do, is it possible that we have lost something in the process of defining them?” Instinctively, my answer is yes, although Ms. Williams goes beyond this and shows some of the words omitted are clearly class based, not just gender based. This historical fiction is based on the actual events of the compiling of the first Oxford English Dictionary (my favorite book!), which was accomplished first in pieces, beginning in the Victorian era and ending in the period between the two World Wars, under the direction of primary editor Dr. James Murray, who is a prominent figure in this novel. The protagonist, Esme Nicholls, is the motherless child of one of the lexicographers working with Dr. Murray. The story begins in 1887, when Esme is a small girl who sits under the sorting table where her father and the other philologists works, sorting through submissions from other philologists and lexicographers, nearly thirty years into the work on the first edition, which was published in volumes by letter or group of letters until it was completed in 1928 – and the second edition was begun. But Esme learns that not all words that are in use are included in the dictionary, and she begins collecting words that are left out and eventually complied into a printed book as an engagement present, in lieu of a ring, from the man she eventually marries in her 30s. As Ms. Williams observes in the prologue: Some words are more important than others . . . . But it took me a long time to understand why.” And the why is the lack of voice of those who also used words were but were not consulted because they were deemed by the males who controlled the dictionary to be unimportant. ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
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[A] masterfully written, beautiful first novel that tells a fascinating story of language, love and loss.
tillagd av Dariah | ändraHistorical Novel Society
 
The writing is glorious; I dog-eared many pages as I read, marking passages that helped me see words in a new way.
tillagd av Dariah | ändraManhattan Book Review (starred review)
 
The novel you’ve been waiting for without even realizing it . . . Williams will convince you of a word’s importance in a most lovely and charismatic story.
tillagd av Dariah | ändraBookreporter
 
Williams provides readers with detailed background and biographical information pointing to extensive research about the [Oxford English Dictionary] and its editors, many of whom appear as characters in Esme’s life. The result is a satisfying amalgam of truth and historical fiction.
tillagd av Dariah | ändraKirkus Reviews
 
A lexicographer’s dream of a novel, this is a lovely book to get lost in, an imaginative love letter to dictionaries.
tillagd av Dariah | ändraBooklist
 

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Esme v©Þxer upp i ordens magiska v©Þrld. Moderl©œs och obotligt nyfiken tillbringar hon sin barndom i Skriptoriet, ett tr©Þdg©Ærdsskjul i Oxford d©Þr hennes far och en skara h©Þngivna lexikografer samlar material till Oxfords allra f©œrsta engelska ordbok. Esme g©œmmer sig under arbetsbordet, d©Þr det en dag singlar ner en papperslapp med ett ord: deja. Hon b©œrjar samla andra lappar som m©Þnnen i Skriptoriet slarvar bort eller sl©Þnger och sparar dem i en gammal tr©Þkoffert. Orden p©Æ lapparna blir s©Æ sm©Æningom hennes fr©Þmsta redskap f©œr att f©œrst©Æ omv©Þrlden. Med tiden inser Esme att en del uttryck v©Þrderas h©œgre ©Þn andra och att ord och betydelser med koppling till kvinnors liv ofta f©œrbises. I hemlighet b©œrjar hon sammanst©Þlla en egen ordbok: De℗ f©œrlorade ordens bok. Pip Williams b©Þsts©Þljande debutroman ©Þr baserad p©Æ verkliga h©Þndelser. F©œrfattaren fr©Ægar sig vilken betydelse det haft f©œr spr©Æket att det var uteslutande m©Þn som sammanst©Þllde lexikon i slutet av 1800-talet. Finns d©Þr en annan ber©Þttelse g©œmd mellan raderna en om kvinnornas historia? [Elib]

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