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University of Oxford Faculty of English

Mugglestone, Lynda

Position: Professor of the History of English; Tutorial Fellow, Pembroke College
College: Pembroke
Period/Subject: Language

Email address:

Research Interests:

My research focusses on the history of English, in its social, cultural, as well as linguistic aspects, with particular interests in the history of pronunciation (and its representation), and in the history of dictionaries. I am currently writing a book on Samuel Johnson and eighteenth-century English, while other recent work has focussed on eighteenth-century lexicography, and on problematic aspects of representation in the Oxford English Dictionary –most recently in relation to the suffragettes and early suffragette history.

Undergraduate Teaching Areas:

Old English
Middle English
History of English 1400-present day (orthography, lexis, dictionaries and grammars, language attitudes, media discourse etc)

Representing regional English in literary texts

Graduate teaching

Co-convenor of the new M.St. in English Language which began in October 2012.

  • Graduate teaching modules on the M. St. include history and approaches to the history of English, and English in the Eighteenth Century.

Recent Publications:

Books and Edited Collections (2009 ---)

Dictionaries. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2011.

The Oxford History of EnglishUpdated edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Samuel Johnson: The Arc of the Pendulum  eds. Freya Johnston and Lynda Mugglestone. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters (2009--)

 ‘A History of the English Language?’. In L.C. Mugglestone (ed.), The Oxford History of English (OUP, 2006, 2008, 2012), pp.1-6.

‘English in the Nineteenth Century’. In L.C. Mugglestone (ed.), The Oxford History of English (OUP, 2006, 2008, 2012), pp.274-304.

 ‘‘Living History’ – Andrew Clark, the OED, and the language of the First World War’. In I. Tieken Boon van Ostade and  W. van der Wurff (eds.), Current Issues in Later Modern English. Peter Lang (2009): 229-249.

 ‘The Dictionary as Watch’ . The New Rambler. Journal of the Johnson Society of London, 2007-8. [2010], pp.70-77.

‘Registering the language -- dictionaries, diction, and the art of elocution'. In R. Hickey (ed.), Eighteenth-Century English : Ideology and Change. Cambridge University Press (2010), pp.309-338.

‘Benjamin Smart and Michael Faraday; The Principles and Practice of Talking Proper in Nineteenth-Century England’. Forthcoming in M. Adams and A. Curzan (eds.) Contours of English and English Language Studies: In Honor of Richard W. Bailey. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011, pp.87-107

Internet publication; ‘Nineteenth-Century English – an overview’ at (2011):

‘The Oxford English Dictionary’. In Die großen Lexika Europas (Great European Lexicons: European Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias) ed. U. Hass. Mouton de Gruyter.

‘A journey through spin’, Guest blog for OXfordWords blog.

‘Johnson’s Dictionary’. In J. Lynch, Johnson in Context (CUP, 2012)

‘Johnson’s Pendulum: Introduction’. [With Freya Johnston]. In Samuel Johnson: The Arc of the Pendulum. Eds. Freya Johnston and Lynda Mugglestone (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp.1-10.

‘The Battle of the Word-Books: Competition, the ‘Common Reader,’ and Johnson’s Dictionary’. In  Samuel Johnson: The Arc of the Pendulum Eds. Freya Johnston and Lynda Mugglestone (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp.140-153.

‘Patriotism, Empire, and Cultural Prescriptivism: Images of Anglicity in the OED’. In Carol Percy and Mary Catherine Davidson, The Languages of Nation. Attitudes and Norms. (Bristol and Buffalo: Multilingual Matters, 2012), 175-191.

 ‘Varieties of English: Received Pronunciation’. In A. Bergs and L. Brinton (eds.), Historical Linguistics of English, Mouton de Gruyter  vol.II  (2012): 1899-1913.

"Life-Writing": The Lexicographer as Biographer in the Oxford English Dictionary’. In  Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX 3) edited by R. W. McConchie, Teo Juvonen, Mark Kaunisto, Minna Nevala, and Jukka Tyrkkö (Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA, 2013): 14-26.

 ‘The OED and the Victorian Novel’. In L. Rodensky (ed.). The Oxford Companion to the Victorian Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2013): 147-65.

‘The Literature of Categorization and Organization 1700-1830’. Forthcoming in R. DeMaria (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to British Literature. The Long Eighteenth Century 1660-1830. [Forthcoming late 2013]

‘Samuel Johnson: Journey into Words’. Forthcoming in Samuel Johnson: New Contexts For a New Century (Huntington Library Press in conjunction with the University of California Press) eds. Howard D. Weinbrot, and William Freeman Vilas (forthcoming 2013)

‘Prescription and Description in Dictionaries’. Forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Lexicography. ed. P. Durkin (Oxford University Press).

‘Acts of Representation: Writing the ‘Woman Question’ in the Oxford English Dictionary’, Forthcoming in Dictionaries.



Babbling a Dialect of France: Loanwords, French, and Johnson's Dictionary. Posted: 13 Feb 2012

Hard words, best words. words in use, writing the inventory of English.  Posted: 9 Oct 2012



The Economist’, July 2010, position piece and ‘expert guest’  in The Economist's online debate on language addressing the motion "The English-speaking world should adopt American English

‘A journey through spin’, Guest blog for OXfordWords blog.

‘Woman – or suffragette’ ?


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