From its inception in 1838, Joseph Bosworth's A Dictionary of the Anglo-Saxon Language was widely viewed as flawed. The denigration proved widespread by the time T. Northcote Toller revised it in 1898. Critics, however, knew very little about the creation of the Dictionary or the struggles of its creators.
This book is a project of recovery: it situates the Dictionary culturally and historically, reconstructing that history from a wealth of archival materials -- surviving manuscripts, correspondence, annotated books, and other documents. It opens up a larger investigation into the central role played by Joseph Bosworth's work in the birth and growth of Old English studies, or Anglo-Saxon studies as it was called, in the nineteenth century, a period during which competing ideologies and methodologies clashed, particularly in England. And it also examines the challenges Toller faced in completing the major revision of the Dictionary after Bosworth's death, as well as his compilation of its major Supplement in 1921.
Philology in Turbulent Times aims to rectify widespread disciplinary ignorance of the Dictionary's conception, compilation, and publication, and to examine its impact on the development of the discipline.