Word Ways


A. Ross Eckler


Caught in the Web of Words is the biography of James A. H. Murray, the Victorian lexicographer who was the chief editor of the incomparable Oxford English Dictionary. Drawing upon unpublished Murray family records as well as Oxford University Press files, his granddaughter Elisabeth Murray has given us a far more detailed account of the man than was previously possible: not merely his 35-year struggle to turn an undigested mass of several million citations sent in by volunteer readers into a dictionary designed to show the historical development of each word from twelfth-century Englan onward, but also his effort to educate himself from boyhood through early manhood.