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The dictionary of lost words de Pip Williams
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The dictionary of lost words (original: 2020; edição: 2020)

de Pip Williams

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2601577,253 (4.1)17
In 1901, the word 'Bondmaid' was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it. Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the 'Scriptorium', a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme's place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word 'bondmaid' flutters to the floor. Esme rescues the slip and stashes it in an old wooden case that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world. Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women's experiences often go unrecorded. While she dedicates her life to the Oxford English Dictionary, secretly, she begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. Set when the women's suffrage movement was at its height and the Great War loomed, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. It's a delightful, lyrical and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words, and the power of language to shape the world and our experience of it.… (mais)
Membro:wendyle
Título:The dictionary of lost words
Autores:Pip Williams
Informação:South Melbourne: Affirm, 2020
Coleções:Purchased but to give away when read
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

Detalhes da Obra

The Dictionary of Lost Words de Pip Williams (Author) (2020)

Adicionado recentemente porbiblioteca privada, MatkaBoska, ferskner, anju04, jenniferw88, sangreal, Paul_and_Jane, suicidebybooks, agenbiteofinwit
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Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This was a charming book, not quite as magnificent as the hype suggested, but an enjoyable and often emotional read nonetheless. The characters were interesting and the plot engaging if a little predictable. (I could have skipped the part when WW1 started as it was obvious what was going to happen. In fact, I did, then decided I should be fair and read it anyway.) I didn't really buy into the whole idea of lost women's words. Many of the words labelled as such were in common use by both men and women. Esme's experience was that they were told to her by women, but that doesn't make them women's words. I know it was Esme's attempt at suffrage but it spoiled the story for me. And the author seemed to vacillate between writing about lost women's words and lost words in general. ( )
  KarenBayly | Apr 10, 2021 |
I’ve come to realize that I have taken the dictionary for granted. Who hasn’t picked up a dictionary to check spelling or to make sure the word is the correct one for the meaning you want to convey? I have never stopped to wonder about all the work involved in publishing the dictionary—much less the first dictionary.

Readers will enter the world of words through Esme, a young girl without a mother, who goes to work with her father until she is old enough for school. Her father is a lexicographer who is working on the first dictionary. It is painstaking work and takes several workers years to complete. During this time Esme grows up amongst the words, fascinated by the different meanings and becoming attached to some of the words.

Once old enough, there is no question Esme will work with her father. It’s all she knows, it’s her world and she is qualified. As Esme enters her adult years, she faces a devastating time in her life. Through the love of her Aunt Dittie, her father and Lizzie, her friend and longtime caretaker, Esme is cared for and loved until she is strong once again.

Esme falls in love and marries, but WWI gets in the way of her life with her new husband. During this challenging time, Esme uses words and their meaning to comfort wounded soldiers. Through it all, Lizzie, Aunt Dittie and Esme’s work family of lexicographers offer her support and encouragement as many changes come her way.

I loved the caring and supportive relationships portrayed in this novel. I also learned so much about what was involved in publishing the first dictionary. Of course, the dictionary will never be finished as our language is constantly changing, but rest assured, there are people who are taking note and adding our new words and dropping those that have fallen out of use. I highly recommend this to historical fiction lovers and those who are intrigued by words.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing-Ballantine for allowing me to read an advance copy and offer my honest review. ( )
  tamidale | Apr 6, 2021 |
In this most engrossing historical fiction, the story unfolds about the creation of the legendary Oxford English Dictionary, spanning decades before and after the turn of the 20th century. At the center is the fictional character of Esme, the daughter of one of the hardworking contributors to the dictionary. It becomes obvious to Esme, who has grown up in her father's workplace, that the dictionary is a product of a male dominated sensibility and leaves out words pertaining to women, especially if they are considered "vulgar." Thanks to her friendship with her housemaid caregiver, she undertakes to collect those words and attribute them to the people who use them. The construction of the OED is certainly fascinating, made all the more so by the personal stories of the characters, both real and fictitious. During Esme's journey from a very young girl into adulthood, the challenges she faces along the way include her relationships with people very different from her, romance, motherhood, sympathy for the suffragette movement, closeness with her father and their shared love of words, and grief. Williams has skillfully woven the various themes into a well-paced novel about characters we care about with a backdrop of an eventful time in history. ( )
  sleahey | Mar 31, 2021 |
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams is highly recommended historical fiction.

In Oxford Esme Nicoll's father, Harry, is on the team of dedicated lexicographers working with Dr. James Murray to collect words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. The team works in a garden shed they have named "the Scriptorium," or the Scrippy, behind Dr. Murray's house. The Scriptorium has been lined with pigeon holes, used to sort the words collected, and the lexicographers work at a sorting table. Esme is being raised by her father after her mother died, and she has grown up at the Scriptorium, spending time under the table when all the lexicographers are working. This is where her father introduced her to words, where she learned to read, and where she learned to love words for their own sake.

Under the table, Esme collected slips with word that had been dropped and she collected duplicate slips that were being discarded. She stored her treasures in a chest under Lizzie's bed. Lizzie is a servant to the Murrays and Esme's friend. When the slip with the word "bondmaid" accidentally falls to the floor, Esme collects it. Once she learned the meaning of the word, she begins to collect words that are omitted from the dictionary. They are objectionable words, neglected words, women's words, and words used by common people not found in print. As she collects these words she also collects a quotation from people using the words correctly. This private collection becomes her own Dictionary of Lost Words.

Set in the years 1887 to 1989, the narration covers not only the work to publish the first Oxford English Dictionary, it also follows events surrounding the women’s suffrage movement and The Great War, WWI. Esme grows up, finds a role in working at the Scriptorium, learns about the suffrage movement, collects her words, falls in love, and sees her dictionary published, with Lizzie a constant in her life through it all. Williams did extensive research into the history of the time and the first Oxford English Dictionary. She includes women in her novel who historically helped with the dictionary alongside the men. Esme, her father, and Lizzie were entirely fictional characters placed into the context of the novel Williams wanted to write.

I would highly recommend this to readers who love historical fiction. The plot moves slowly at first, although it is still interesting as it delves into the process of how the dictionary was put together and the work that was done to accomplish the goal. The writing is quite good as Williams wanted to both write a fictional novel but she also wanted to place it firmly during a time in history. She also wanted to establish from the start Esme's love of words, so this is a main focus for much of the early part of The Dictionary of Lost Words. Once Esme begins working at the Scriptorium and begins to set off on tasks and searches for lost/neglected words, the novel begins to take off.

Esme and Lizzie are both wonderful characters as they portray two different groups of women during this period of time who would have been overlooked by history. Lizzie represents the servant working class. She couldn't read or write down many of the words she used which would have been overlooked by the lexicographers. She is proud of her quotes Esme uses to define words and is a strong woman, physically and mentally even though she definitely would be looked down at as just a servant. Lizzie's first word for Esme's collection is "knackered," a word which she provided the sentence to show it's usage. It is a word that would be in common usage for the working class, but not one that would be part of the dictionary because it would never be put in print.

Esme is the character who we know more about, though. Her inner thoughts, apprehensions, and worries are part of her story, which makes her a fully realized character with depth and insight. She has heartbreaking experiences from which she must gather her own strength in order to recover. The words she seeks out and collects also add an additional aspect and circumspection to her character.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Random House Publishing Group in exchange for my honest opinion.

http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2021/03/the-dictionary-of-lost-words.html

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3895058434 ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 17, 2021 |
Pip Williams' The Dictionary of Lost Words is one of the best novels I've read this year—and strong enough that I expect it will stay near the top of my list as 2021 proceeds. The Dictionary of Lost Words is simultaneously a novel of a novel of characters and a novel of ideas. The novel's most immediate setting is the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a massive undertaking, committed to defining every word used in English-language writing and illustrating the evolution of each word's meaning through quotations from multiple sources. If you've read The Professor and the Madman, you'll know what to expect. If you haven't, you'll quickly find your interest piqued by the complexity of this undertaking and the distinctive academic characters who helped see the OED into print over a period of decades.

The novel's central character, Esme, is the daughter of a widower working on the OED. She accompanies him to work each day and, as a child, spends most of her time sitting under the work-table, watching various pairs of shoes and examining the occasional definition slips that fall to the floor. As the novel progresses, Esme gradually becomes a contributor to the OED in her own right. She also becomes a suffragist—an advocate for the woman's vote committed to legal, persuasive action—as opposed to a suffragette—an advocate for the woman's vote willing to use civil disobedience and violence to convey the urgency of the issue. She witnesses World War I and works with shell-shocked soldiers returning home. Her life gives readers a lens with which to examine a particularly complex and interesting period in British history.

The ideas in The Dictionary of Lost Words are about the words themselves—which words get chosen for inclusion in the dictionary, which sources are viewed as significant enough to provide quotations illustrating the words' evolving meanings, which words are viewed as obscene or inconsequential (often connected to words used by women) and not worthy of inclusion. Esme makes a life's work of collecting and documenting these words, and her efforts are fascinating both as fiction and as an opportunity to reflect upon the ways in which different communities are empowered/disempowered because of the way those in power view not just them, but the language they use.

I strongly recommend this title for any reader who cares about words—and what reader doesn't? You'll find endless paths opening up before you as you read and will be mulling over the ideas at the heart of this novel long after you finish it.

I received a free review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own. ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Mar 16, 2021 |
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In 1901, the word 'Bondmaid' was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it. Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the 'Scriptorium', a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme's place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word 'bondmaid' flutters to the floor. Esme rescues the slip and stashes it in an old wooden case that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world. Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women's experiences often go unrecorded. While she dedicates her life to the Oxford English Dictionary, secretly, she begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. Set when the women's suffrage movement was at its height and the Great War loomed, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. It's a delightful, lyrical and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words, and the power of language to shape the world and our experience of it.

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