Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Book Arts Tuesday-The Dame of Dictionaries

"Dictionaries themselves unlock the world for me," she says.

Here is long and wonderful article in the online New York magazine Narratively about Madeline Kripke whose collection of 20,000 books, mostly dictionaries, resides in her home in the West Village, New York. Her collection of dictionaries, with a particular emphasis on slang, is considered by some to be the best in the world. Daniel Krieger has written an in-depth article with photographs by Emon Hassan. If you love books, I think you'll love reading this.

And speaking of the underworld, where slang runs rampant, she takes out a worn, slim green volume called Larks of London, published in 1840, by the pseudonymous Dick Rambleton. It is "unrecorded," meaning there aren’t any other known copies, one of about a dozen sole existing books Kripke possesses. It's a guide to the underbelly of the city and includes the language of its denizens, with a subtitle that reads, in part: "The Swell’s guide to all the flash cribs, harmonic meetings, cock-and-hen clubs, night-houses, ‘Little Goes’ and ‘Big Goes,’ flash houses, seducing houses, and all sorts of houses."

Dame of Dictionaries in Narratively

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