Stranded in Time. Andrew Clark and the Language of WW1.
Stranded Encyclopedias and Dictionaries, 1700–2000
This paper examines the stranding of Andrew Clark’s real-time record of the language of WW1, in ways which explore both his own sense of failure (the project remained unrevised and incomplete) as well as the arresting achievement it still presents. Archived in the Bodleian Library, Oxford are almost 100 notebooks and files—many headed ‘English Words in War-Time’, replete with carefully dated slips, provenance, annotation, and alphabetic or thematic organization. It remain an almost entirely neglected work. Clark has, in effect, been ‘stranded’ too, along with his philological expertise and historical principles (which reveal – and refract) his close engagement with the then on-going first edition of the OED. Nevertheless, Words in War-Time is a project that was deliberately archived, by Clark himself, in ways which favoured the autonomy of the notebook page over print, while its sequential narratives of words in time aimed to document ‘a record of the great struggle from a linguistic point of view’ as war advanced. In tracking language on the move in WW1, anything, Clark argued, might be a text, and capable of exhibiting the ways in which language mediated a period of unprecedented historical change.
English language, lexicography, lexical change, WW1