A Table Alphabeticall | In the Dark

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A Table Alphabeticall | In the Dark


I’m having a lazy Sunday so instead of writing anything too demanding on here I thought I’d share something I stumbled across in a book I’ve been reading (and will probably review next week sometime). Not a lot of people know that the first true English dictionary was called A Table Alphabeticall which was created by Robert Cawdrey and first published in London in 1604, over 150 years before Samuel Johnson’s much more famous A Dictionary of the English Language.

This, on the left, is the frontispiece of the First Edition to A Table Alphabeticall:

Notice that it says it was compiled for the benefit and help of “Ladies, Gentlewomen, or any other unskilfull persons”. Ouch! By the Third Edition, published in 1613, this was amended to “all unskilfull persons”.

P.S. Notice the old-fashioned typesetting, especially the use of the “long s” which I have blogged about before.

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