Monday, May 27, 2013

Meanderings of Memory

On The Rachel Maddow Show of May 17th, there was a clip about the Oxford English Dictionary's appeal to the public to help them find a copy of a rare book called Meanderings of Memory, written by one "Skylark". More than a few words in the OED apparently have only this work as a source, and no copy of the book has ever been found. Since the airing of this show, Wikipedia tells us that one other mention of the book has now been found in an 1854 Sotheby's catalogue, making it less likely that the book's existence is a hoax. 51 words in the OED, many of which we use commonly, have Meanderings of Memory as a first or early source. So if you happen to have a copy lying around somewhere, do be so kind as to let the OED folks know. And if your great, great granddad (or grandma) has "Skylark" on his tombstone, I suppose that would be helpful too.

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  1. It is, isn't it? I had heard about the OED concept of 'crowdsourcing before there WAS crowdsourcing, but it seems strange that they wouldn't have uncovered this weird source much earlier.

  2. I used to drive a Buick Skylark that made me say many bad words.

  3. Although some think this may have been a book of poetry, Collegemama, there are other's who think it may have been a book of pornography. So swearing at YOUR Skylark may not have been so very far off the mark...