Quotations are an essential part of the fabric of the language. In And I quote, Elizabeth Knowles draws on her experience editing the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and employs a wide repertoire of examples, ranging from the classical canon to contemporary popular culture, to illuminate just how and why we quote.
Her investigation focuses on how we find, choose, and use quotations in 21st century English, but it also leads her back in time to follow the journeys taken by individual quotes, as their meaning changes subtly - and sometimes not so subtly - over the decades and in many cases the centuries. In following the often-surprising stories of individual quotations, we gain an understanding of how they establish themselves, and to what degree they can develop a life independent of their original
Everyone has their own quotations 'vocabulary', and each reader of the book will think of further items that they would use and wish to explore, but the journeys mapped here illuminate the many fascinating ways in which quotations have embedded themselves in the language, from the earliest dictionaries of quotations to the online world we experience today.
Elizabeth Knowles began her lexicographical career as a library researcher for A Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary. She worked on the 4th edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1993) and has edited the 5th, 6th, 7th, and (current) 8th editions of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1999, 2004, 2009, 2014). Her other editorial credits include What They Didn't Say: A Book of Misquotations (OUP, 2006), How to Read a Word (OUP, 2010), and the 1st and 2nd editions of the Little Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (2009, 2016). She is a contributor to The Oxford History of Lexicography and The History of Oxford University Press, and was Editor of Dictionaries: the Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, 2010-13.