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Thursday, 31 January 2013
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20c female sources
Supplement's favourite 20th-century female sources

20c female sources

The Supplement's most-quoted female authors are shown here in red.

Where female sources are concerned there is also some eccentricity in the 20th-century section of OED, published under the editorship of R. W. Burchfield 1972-86 and incorporated in OED2. His most quoted 20th-century women are the crime writers Ngaio Marsh (like Burchfield himself, a New Zealander), Dorothy Sayers, and Agatha Christie. Compare the figures we've included from more literary authors. OED editors have at all times been crucially dependent on the reading choices of their volunteers, and it is likely that the quotations from Marsh, Sayers, and Christie may be attributed to the preferences of Marghanita Laski, the single most prolific volunteer contributor to the Supplement, responsible for over a quarter of a million quotation slips. See A Supplement, vol. 4, p.viii.

Willinsky (1994: 155) points out that Laski founded the Charlotte Yonge Society, which may explain the large number of Yonge quotations in the Supplement too – see OED2's most quoted female sources. But which writers best reflect the language of the period? For more on OED and gender, see OED3's treatment of female sources.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 May 2007 )
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