Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, published in 1755, marked a milestone in a language in desperate need of standards. No English dictionary before it had devoted so much space to everyday words, been so thorough in its definitions, or illustrated usage by quoting from Shakespeare and other great writers. Johnson's was the dictionary used by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, Wordsworth and Coleridge, the Brontes and the Brownings, Thomas Hardy and Oscar Wilde. This new edition, edited by David Crystal, will contain a selection from the original, offering memorable passages on subjects ranging from books and critics to dreams and ethics.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) - English poet, essayist, critic, journalist, lexicographer, conversationalist, regarded as one of the outstanding figures of 18th-century life and letters. Johnson's literary reputation is part dependent on James Boswell's biography The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D. (1791). In addition to his Dictionary and the philosophical romance of THE PRINCE OF ABYSSINIA (1759, later known as RASSELAS), Johnson published essays in The Adventurer (1752-54) and The Idler (1758-60). He wrote a number of political articles, biographies of Sir Thomas Browne and Roger Ascham, and contributed to the Universal Chronicle. David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has published over 90 books and was awarded the OBE for services to the English language in 1995. He is the author of the Penguin Encyclopedia, the Penguin Factfinder, Stories of English and The Shakespeare Miscellany among other books published by Penguin.