bound copies of grammars

Chatsworth House, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, possesses a copy of Lowth’s grammar (1762, first edition), bound with Ward’s Four Essays upon the English Language (1758, first edition as well). So far, I’ve never come across such a copy of Lowth’s grammar before.

The library at Chatsworth also possesses copies of Grammatica Busbeiana … Rudimentum Grammaticae Graeco-Latinae Metricum, in usum Scholae Regiae Westmonsteriensis (London, 1732) and a Latin grammar called A Short Introduction of Grammar generally to be used (Oxford, 1714). Both grammars are anonymous.

These are all the grammatical works from the eighteenth century they have in their possession. What I would like to know is if anyone has ever come across any similarly copies of Lowth’s grammar? And also if the authors of the Latin grammars could be identified.

A History of Shopping

For those of you who are busy doing your Christmas shopping why not have a look at Dorothy Davis’s book "A History of Shopping" (1966). Davis’s book also contains a chapter on shopping during the eighteenth century and provides interesting lists such as  "An Estimate of the Necessary Charge of a Family in the Middling Station of Life, consisting of a Man, his Wife, four Children and one Maidservant (The Station of Life of a Tradesman who sets up Business on £ 1,000, a Very Substantial Start in Life.)" (1966:209), and the weekly expenses of a saddler, who in 1775 "only earned 15 s. a week", his wife and his three children (1966:213).








New feature

It is now possible for visitors of our web log to also post entries and not only comment on existing entries. In order to do that you can email us your suggestions for new topics and we will put them on the weblog. You can find our email address in the section contact information on the left.

Samuel Johnson

I recently came across an interesting website about Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page claims to be "[t]he most comprehensive collection of Samuel Johnson quotations on the web". The site contains over 1,800 quotations from Johnson on various topics.   

Pictures of excursion to ‘de Ammoniet’

On this website you can find some of the pictures that were taken during the excursion to ‘de Ammoniet’ with some of our guests from the workshop ‘Grammars, Grammarians and Grammar Writing’.

Seasonal Joke

What do you call Santa’s helpers?


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French correspondences

We have just received a survey of French correspondences, compiled by Maria Courtade. It ranges from the middle ages down to the twentieth century, all items are briefly summarised, and there is an index of addressees. It is published by the Reserve centrale des bibliotheques de la Ville de Paris.


Copies in private collections

I’m trying to trace as many copies of Robert Lowth’s grammar that might still be around. Alston’s inventoy of 1965 is understandably incomplete after forty years, and I discovered that libraries possess copies of the grammar that are not in Alston. Many copies must be in people’s private possession; I myself, for instance, own copies of Lowth, Murray, Fisher, Fenning, Ward, and Fenn. So if you would let me know whether you possess copies of Lowth’s grammar, I could compile a list of addenda much like the one Maria Rodriguez-Gil published for Ann Fisher in HSL/SHL.

Everyday English after 1700?

This term I made use of Bridget Cusack’s reader called Everyday English 1500-1700 (1998). It is a very interesting collection of different text types, that seem of great interest to historical sociolinguistic studies. I wonder if there is anything like that for the Late Modern period?

Influence of normative grammars

Frans Wilhelm, in his PhD dissertation English in the Netherlands (2005), distinguishes three aspects that might help in determining a grammar’s influence: frequency of publication, circulation time, availability (p. 315). This seems a worthwhile approach, and for English grammars published before 1800 I can see that Alston’s bibliography would give information on the first two of these, but how would you find out about a book’s availability?