Robert Baker in ECCO

To my suprise, I found two additions this morning to the publications by Robert Baker listed in ECCO. Surprisingly, though, they don’t show up every time, but I can’t work out why this is.

Robert Baker is the author of Reflections on the English Language (1770, 2nd ed. 1779), and various other works in ECCO. His Reflections is the first … … in the tradition of English usage guides such as Fowler (1926; 2nd ed. 1965, 3rd ed. 1996). Interestingly, the first edition of the book occurs with two titles, the other title being Remarks on the English Language. This alternative title shows the link with Baker’s source, Vaugelas’s Remarques sur la langue francaise (1647). Did Baker change his mind half way through the production process of his book? If so, which version of the title did he prefer? One of the new additions in ECCO is another copy of the Reflections, the other one is a copy of another book by Baker, called The Merry Jester (1773?), which I didn’t know about until this morning.

But why did the ECCO people add another copy of the Reflections? After all, there were already two of them, in addition to the second edition. Why did they not add any of the grammars not yet in ECCO, as specified in our ECCO wish list, elsewhere in this blog? One advantage will be that this addition will enable us to check the status of the earlier 1770 Reflections, which is so poorly printed that it looks like a misprint.

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