Monthly Archives: March 2006

The Matthew Prior Project

This website is, I think, an excellent example of how a Late Modern English collection of letters could be published. Currently, as Phase I of the project, it contains a calendar of Prior’s complete correspondence (nearly 3000 letters!). One of the compilers, Deborah K. Wright, has informed me that Phase II of the project, which entails the publication of the actual letters online, will start this year. I think I am not alone in saying that I would be very interested in seeing the letters published. Hopefully, a project like this will inspire the publication of more open-access databases of letters, as they open up immense new opportunities for research into Late Modern English.

We have also just added a link to the project in Historical Sociolinguistics and Sociohistorical Linguistics.

Finding and publishing Late Modern English letters

For a paper which I am hoping to present at ICEHL-4, I should like to ask scholars who work with original (i.e. unpublished) letters from the Late Modern English period (1700-1900) to fill in a questionnaire. Please let me know if you yourself or anyone else you know of might be interested in filling it in. You may do so by writing a comment with your name in it to this entry. I will send you the questionnaire accordingly.

Lowth’s grammar in electronic form?

Just now, I received a query from Arthur Molitierno about whether there is an electronic version of Lowth’s grammar. I only know of the CD Rom called Landmarks in English Grammar: The Eighteenth Century, published by ULCL Survey of English Usage. But the CD-Rom unfortunately only contains scans which are not searchable electronically. There is, by the way, a review of the CD-Rom in HSL/SHL.

Robert Lowth in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Now that the DNB is available online, its electronic format allows us to perform searches that would previously have been unthinkable; the experience is similar to when the OED was first published on CD-Rom, in 1989. My full-text search for “Lowth” Read more »

Dodley’s Select Fables of Esop (1761)

On 23 February 1761, Robert Dodsley published his Select Fables of Esop. This was a collection of fables by Aesop as well as contemporary writers, and Dodsley even invited several of his friends to write fables for his collection. One of these friends was Robert Lowth. Tierney, the editor of Dodsley’s letters, even suggests that the idea for the work came from Lowth. Be that as it may, Lowth ordered a number of copies, one for his son Thomas Henry who (he claims) was awaiting the book impatiently, and a number of others to hand round to the children of friends. He specifically orders "one neatly bound, [to be sent] in my Name … To Mrs. Galand at the Boarding School at Newington Butts". 

So far, I have not come across any references to this boarding school or to Mrs Galand in my studies of Lowth and his language, and any information relating to this school would be very welcome.