3 July 2021

Doctor Diggle's Dictionary (3)

As I have remarked, Diggle has chosen rather to sneer at earlier Greek lexicons. The standard work of reference has hitherto been "Liddell and Scott", where the "Liddell" summons memories of the Alice whom Lewis Caroll discovered in Wonderland. Sometimes we demonstrate our snooty superiority by calling it LSJ, because a Jones had a hand in later editions. Currently, it is in its 9th edition, and has a Supplement.

It is very big. 

So, in the days when English education was still comparatively undebauched, an "Abridged" version was produced, "intended chiefly for use in Schools". It is small enough to be held in just one hand!!! It is what I have eight inches from my elbow as I write this. My copy is embossed with the Arms of my School, which presented it to me as a school prize in 1955, when I was in the Classical Third and still wore short trousers. Frankly, not only schoolboys and undergaduates but even greater men and women than these find many of their simpler hourly needs satisfied by "Baby L and S". Rarely more than once a day, do I need to struggle into The Other Room and manhandle "Big L and S" off the shelves. (If you are purchasing a second hand Greek Lexicon, LS in the 8th edition has something to be said for it: my fabulously clever Oz Mods Tutor, Margaret Eileen Hubbard, tipped me the wink that it contains Byzantine information which was eliminated from the LSJ 9th Edition; I was fortunate enough to find a copy in Thornton's.)

Therefore, because the Big one was very big and the Baby one was smallish, the Oxford University Press produced an "Intermediate" LS. 

That ... Intermediate L&S ... is the volume which Dr Diggle and his fellow Tabs say they are replacing with their proudly-presented "s**t and f**k and definitely not Victorian" Lexicon.

I am uncertan how plausibly this volume will serve the needs of the docti. It is one of those highly irritating works of reference which are incarnated in two volumes ... not very handy. It gives some information about Greek authors, but no references.

However much s**t and f**k represent necessary or even enjoyable human activities, having to drag two biggish volumes around with you so as accurately to identify them seems to me a high price to pay. The good news is that is priced at around £65, which, nowadays, for a newly set-up academic publication, suggests to me the presence of a subsidy. 

S**tting and f**king should not necessarily be expensive activities, but in these decadent days cost can be a consideration. I've no idea what price the Intermediate LS now goes for.

One final part to follow.


Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Well, Magister Johannes,

If one is a fan of Aristotle, this represents a significant advance (admittedly, in the Antipodes I was taught by a number of Tabs - not to mention one or two graduates of Your University) - including one of the Anglosphere's pre-eminent Platonic and Aristotelian philosophers, a wonderful chap who has retired back to the UK whom I would love to meet again or even at this late stage, further study under - and that is another reason apart from a certain Lady at Your University, I would love to get back to Blighty - but I can assure you, The Greek Philosophical Vocabulary, by Urmson, had Greek terms transliterated into English, which was less than ideal.

Perhaps, if I do get back to Blighty, we can meet for a beer at Tolkien and Lewis' pub or somewhere otherwise suitable.


Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

By the way,

I have all three L & Ss.


Chris said...

I've heard the Intermediate referred to as Middle Liddell, rhyming, though I've never been sure whether the Dean actually pronounced his name that way; I've also heard it with stress on the second syllable, usually in reference to Alice. I'm sure someone here will be able to enlighten me!