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'Truthe is the beste'

A Festschrift in Honour of A.V.C. Schmidt


Edited By Nicolas Jacobs and Gerald Morgan

The thirteen essays in this book, presented in honour of Dr A.V.C. (Carl) Schmidt, are designed to reflect the range of his interests. Dr Schmidt, who was a Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford from 1972 until his retirement in 2011, is best known for his comprehensive four-text edition of Piers Plowman, the fruit of a lifetime’s work on that text. He has also made a major contribution to the study of Chaucer and the medieval English contemplatives, and these authors also find a place in this collection. The essays presented here are intended to build upon the legacy of Carl Schmidt’s exemplary scholarship.
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Review. A Dictionary of Hiberno-English: The Irish Use of English (third edition)


← 90 | 91 → ALAN J. FLETCHER

A happy year in lexicographical annals occurred in 2012, when Terence Patrick Dolan’s third edition of A Dictionary of Hiberno-English was issued. The work of the lexicographer is necessarily never done, since any dictionary of a living language may hope to take only a momentary snapshot, frozen in time, of the ceaseless rustle and movement of its subject. It is as vain to imagine that a living language can be captured permanently in any kind of frame such as dictionaries would seem to propose as it is to imagine that a snapshot of some individual human being can catch the full essence of what led up to the moment in which the image was taken, still less what awaits that individual in the future. The future will require a new snapshot.

We may therefore welcome Dolan’s third edition while recognizing its inevitable ephemerality; the third edition must imply and cede to a fourth, and so on and on as long as lexicographers ply their trade. The question, therefore, is not of whether this dictionary of Hiberno-English has the last word, something self-evidently impossible, but of whether its frozen snapshot returns a faithful, if momentary, likeness to the subject in the frame, of whether it is the last word in that more limited sense. While the answer to this question is not one that I am sufficiently well equipped to arbitrate, I can at least presume to speak about whether the ground...

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