Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Scottish Dictionary Man

‘…Another unpromising adventure of this season was the publication of the History of the Culdees (that is, of the clergy of the primitive Scoto-Celtic Church), by Scott's worthy old friend, Dr. John Jamieson, the author of the celebrated Dictionary. This work, treating of an obscure subject, on which very different opinions were and are entertained by Episcopalians on the one hand, and the adherents of Presbyterianism on the other, was also printed and published by the Ballantynes, in consequence of the interest which Scott felt, not for the writer's hypothesis, but for the writer personally: and the result was another heavy loss to himself and his partners…’

Dr. Jamieson’s “Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language” was published in 1808, fifty-three years after Samuel Johnson published his English dictionary.  Like Johnson, Jamieson completed his work largely through his own industry.  Jamieson’s “A Treatise of the Ancient Culdees of Iona”, discussed above in text from John Gibson Lockhart’s “Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott”, was published three years later.  John Jamieson’s life encompassed all of Scott’s.  Jamieson was born in 1759, and died on July 12th, 1838.

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