Lex Wrecks: A Tale of Two Latin Dictionaries


The paper describes and compares two abortive projects for Latin dictionaries in Victorian Britain: the projected collaborative volume by Henry Nettleship of Oxford and John Mayor of Cambridge, and the dictionary by Thomas Key of London, left unfinished on his death and later published as a fragment. Both projects involved failed attempts at collaboration; both represented attempts to break away from the tradition of making dictionaries by revising previous works; and in both cases, the publication of rival works undermined these slow-moving projects. The paper discusses all these factors, and emphasises the significance of the history of failed dictionaries for the history of lexicography in general.