After watching Blackadder the other evening I was intrigued enough to have a look and find out a little more about the man who wrote the dictionary - did he have problems describing the Aardvark I wondered? The book is an amazing feat - begun in 1746 with a contract worth 1500 guineas and taking almost ten years, it contained 42,773 entries, stood 18 inches high and 20 inches wide when published for the huge price of £4.10 shillings (roughly £350). The authors most frequently quoted were Shakespeare, Dryden and Milton. it was not the first dictionary ever published but it became the most important with five more editions being published throughout Johnson's lifetime and has been described as 'one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship.'
Did you know that the earliest example of a library to be endowed for use outside of a school or college still exists in St Wulfram's Church, Grantham. I remember climbing the steps up to the room in the steeple when on a school visit in my early teens. Reverend Francis Trigge gave £100 for book purchase in 1598 - 356 items are still there and 80 volumes are still attached.
Interestingly modern fiction still makes use of these: Terry Pratchett's magical library at the Unseen University - the chains are in order to prevent the more vicious magical books from either escaping or attacking any unsuspecting students and Harry Potter's Hogwarts has a Restricted section.
I discovered this the other day - the oldest library ever was in Syria, Ebla - between 2500 and 2250 B.C.
The Earliest version of the Great Flood was held in the Nippur temple library in Iraq, Noah's world map below.
The hardest part is believing in yourself at the notebook stage. It is like believing in dreams in the morning - Erica Long