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Monday, October 18, 2010

Oxford Dictionary of Quotations














The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations is as impressive, erudite, enjoyable, and educational a tome as you might expect from Oxford. It`s the sort of undertaking the press does very well. The first such dictionary, as compiled by Oxford, was published in 1953, and it`s been tweaking, modifying, and updating it ever since. This new edition, the fifth, offers well over 20,000 quotations from more than 3,000 authors. Responding to correspondence from their readers, Oxford has restored some material from past editions, such as the proverbs and nursery-rhymes section. There`s a much more inclusive attention to sacred texts of world religions, and 2,000 quotations are brand new. The quotations are arranged alphabetically, by author, so browsing provides insight into the authors quoted, more so than do compendiums that are organize by theme. There is also, however, a full thematic index, starting with Administration, Age, and America, and running the alphabetical gamut through to War, Weather, and Youth. And that is followed by a 283-page comprehensive keyword index. If you needed to fault Oxford with something, it might be the small print, but it certainly wouldn`t be the thoroughness or cross-referenceability.


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