April 22, 2006

Loose sallies of the mind

Dr. Johnson characterizes the sort of thing we turn out here at Language Log Plaza:

Johnson had further opportunity to expand and aerate his thoughts in his periodical writings.  Throughout the time he was at work on the Dictionary he turned out essays.  He needed an income, and journalism for him was an easy way of earning one.  His second Dictionary definition of 'essay' ('a loose sally of the mind; an irregular indigested piece; not a regular and orderly composition') gives an indication of how he viewed this kind of writing.  (Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), p. 115)

Hey, we work HARD for those fees!

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Posted by Arnold Zwicky at April 22, 2006 11:12 AM