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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 a wide range of aspects in the history of English (1750-), in its social, cultural, as well as linguistic aspects. I have particular interests in the history of pronunciation (and its representation in literary as well as non-litererary works), as well as in the history of dictionaries; my Very Short Introduction to Dictionaries (OUP, 2011) explores the history and use of the dictionary as linguistic/ cultural form, while I have written a number of books and articles on lexicography between 1700 and the present day -- including my new book on Samuel Johnson and the Journey into Words (OUP, 2015), as well as earlier books on the Oxford English Dictionary. I am currently working on the English Words in War-Time Project, examining the work of Andrew Clark, a long-time contributor to the OED who, at the start of WW1, decided to make his own investigations into words and meaning as a way of tracking on-going historical change, and its representation, especially on the Home Front. For the project blog and website, click here.

Image of Words in War Time







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 Recent graduate teaching modules  include:

  • history and approaches to the history of English
  •  English in the Eighteenth Century.
  • Language and Identity in Victorian Fiction

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.

Samuel Johnson and the Journey into Words (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

Published online: September 2015 eISBN: 9780191760099


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): 1-6.

‘English in the Nineteenth Century’. In L.C. Mugglestone (ed.), The Oxford History of English (OUP, 2006, 2008, 2012): 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]: 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): 309-338.

‘Benjamin Smart and Michael Faraday; The Principles and Practice of Talking Proper in Nineteenth-Century England’. 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: 87-107

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

‘Johnson’s Dictionary’. In J. Lynch (ed.) Johnson in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

‘Johnson’s Pendulum: Introduction’. [With Freya Johnston]. In Samuel Johnson: The Arc of the Pendulum. Eds. Freya Johnston and Lynda Mugglestone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012): 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: Oxford University Press, 2012): 140-53.

‘Patriotism, Empire, and Cultural Prescriptivism: Images of Anglicity in the OED’. In Carol Percy and Mary Catherine Davidson (eds.) 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’. In R. DeMaria (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to British Literature. The Long Eighteenth Century 1660-1830 (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014): 207-22.

‘Samuel Johnson: Journey into Words’. In Howard D. Weinbrot, and William Freeman Vilas (eds.), Samuel Johnson: New Contexts For a New Century (Huntington Library Press in conjunction with the University of California Press, 2014): 1-12.

‘Accent as Social Symbol’. In Marnie Reed and John M. Levis (eds.) The Handbook of English Pronunciation  (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015): 19-35.

‘Prescription and Description in Dictionaries’. In P. Durkin (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lexicography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015): 546-60.

‘Acts of Representation: Writing the ‘Woman Question’ in the Oxford English Dictionary’. In Dictionaries (2014), 39-65.

‘English Words in War-Time: Andrew Clark and living language history 1914-18’.  Forthcoming in Julian Walker and Christophe LeClerque (eds.) Languages and the First World War: Communicating in a Transnational War, 2 vols. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).


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’ ?

For an extensive set of posts on language and language change in the First World War, see the English Words in War-Time Project at htttp//


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