Henry Hitchings Quotes.

1. "The history of prescriptions about English ... is in part a history of bogus rules, superstitions, half-baked logic, groaningly unhelpful lists, baffling abstract statements, false classifications, contemptuous insiderism and educational malfeasance. But it is also a history of attempts to make sense of the world and its bazaar of competing ideas and interests."
- Quote by Henry Hitchings

2. "the Middle Ages meetings were armed encounters: local disputes were settled by means of a ‘moot’, at which proposals were approved with a banging together of weapons – or dismissed with groans. These attempts to negotiate arguments gradually became less military in temper. During the Renaissance, urbanization and political centralization gave rise to a more parliamentary style of meeting, over which courtiers presided. Urbane discussion became the mechanism for resolving or curtailing differences and achieving solidarity. Yet even in the nineteenth century the word meeting was a euphemism for a duel – a hangover from a less bureaucratic age. And today meeting is associated with other ways of taking lives or at least sapping vitality. The"
- Henry Hitchings, Sorry!: The English and Their Manners

3. "Censorship diminished, and copyright was originated. Moreover, the early years of the eighteenth century gave rise to a galaxy of new phenomena that included the printed handbill, printed receipts, printed tickets, printed advertisements, and posters. At the same time there was a surge in the production of political pamphlets, broadsides, books for children, and even street maps. Alexander Pope satirized the rage for print in his poem The Dunciad (1728–43); he mockingly suggested that its democratizing power had brought ‘the Smithfield Muses to the Ear of Kings’. Johnson echoed Pope’s sentiments, complaining that ‘so widely is spread the itch of literary praise, that almost every man is an author, either in act or in purpose’.3"
- Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary

4. "Lord Macaulay, ready as ever with a flush of gorgeous hyperbole, evokes the circumstances of the Grub Street authors: Sometimes blazing in gold-laced hats and waistcoats; sometimes lying in bed because their coats had gone to pieces, or wearing paper cravats because their linen was in pawn; sometimes drinking champagne and Tokay with Betty Careless; sometimes standing at the window of an eating-house in Porridge Island, to snuff up the scent of what they could not afford to taste; they knew luxury; they knew beggary; but they never knew comfort. He goes on, ‘They looked on a regular and frugal life with the same aversion which an old gypsy or a Mohawk hunter feels for a stationary abode … They were as untameable, as much wedded to their desolate freedom, as the wild ass."
- Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary

5. "Gin, often referred to as ‘Madam Geneva’ (and sometimes as ‘Kill-Grief’), was a national obsession. It had first arrived in England in the 1680s, along with William of Orange. Fifty years later, as many as one in ten London properties was a gin shop. According to official records, nearly 7 million gallons were consumed in 1730, and this figure excludes the vast quantities of low-grade gin sold from wheelbarrows, which was often adulterated with turpentine.7 The sale of spirits was officially prohibited in 1736, but the measure was so unsuccessful that prohibition was lifted seven years later, and a more pragmatic approach resulted in the Gin Act of 1751,"
- Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary

6. "FROM AN EARLY date Johnson’s intellectual interests were fostered in the family bookshop. It was there that he learned the geography of both company and solitude—in the society of his father’s customers, and in the privacy of his reading. In 1706 Michael bought the library of the late William Stanley, ninth Earl of Derby, which comprised almost 3,000 volumes."
- Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary

7. "First published in 1721, Bailey’s dictionary went through thirty editions over the next eighty-one years. It was more useful and wide-ranging than its predecessors, but its definitions were often poor: ‘cat’ was ‘a creature well known’, ‘to get’ was defined simply as ‘to obtain’, ‘cool’ meant ‘cooling or cold’, ‘black’ was ‘a colour’, ‘strawberry’ ‘a well known fruit’, and ‘to wash’ meant ‘to cleanse by washing’ (although ‘washing’ was not defined)."
- Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary

8. "We should not underestimate Dodsley’s role in fostering the project. It was this ambitious and shrewd man, who had started his working life as a footman to the society wit Charles Dartiquenave, who persuaded Johnson to take the project on. He provided him with Pope’s notes. He superintended the consortium of booksellers. He would solicit the patronage of the influential Earl of Chesterfield—of whom we shall hear more later. He diligently publicized the Dictionary, especially in his own magazine the Museum. Furthermore, his own studious work as a compiler meant that he had both materials and ideas to share with Johnson:"
- Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary

9. "Johnson’s decision to employ these particular men was partly motivated by charity. He rotated them as his needs (or theirs) dictated, and offered accommodation to those who could not afford lodgings elsewhere. The amanuenses were his servants, but also his companions—dogsbodies with the status of intimates, hirelings who doubled as friends. Their presence in the background is a reminder"
- Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary

10. "Shamefully, Shiels was denied credit for the Lives; the publisher paid Theophilus Cibber, a disreputable playwright who was languishing in a debtors jail, ten guineas for the right to use his name. This was done in the hope that a gullible public would take the ‘Mr Cibber’ of the title page for Theophilus’s father, Colley Cibber, who was at that time Poet Laureate. The fraud became widely known, but Shiels reaped no benefit: he died of consumption on December 27 of that year."
- Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary

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