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Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable [Hardcover]

Chambers (Ed.)
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

An early highlight of this fully revised millennium edition of Brewer's is Terry Pratchett's short, sweetly ironic preface. It's entirely appropriate, given Brewer's has been the bread-and-butter of curious, self-educated working men and women for 130 years, and that this decade's great demotic writer should be invited to watch the dust settle on yet another deposit of curious knowledge. ("It's an education in itself, seeing [the Fab Four] take their place with old Roman senators and mythological fauna ... ").

Brewer's is famously, fabulously useless. There is not the remotest possibility that it contains anything you might actually be looking up at the time. In this, it closely resembles that great modern intellectual irritant, the World Wide Web. Where it bests the upstart Web is in its wit, its erudition and in its disposability. Mind you, frustrated users should wield the new edition with caution. Adrian Room has introduced French jargon, inkhorn literary terms and many more historical and fictional characters to the familiar "alms-basket of words".

But it is through the number of extra phrases and quotations that Room truly distinguishes this edition--and who can resist passages of verse like the one which accompanies a new entry for Technogamia, a 1618 play of such mind-crushing tediousness that James I "made several efforts to leave after sitting out the first two acts"? By complete contrast, there's never a dull moment to be had with this great, daft, pointless, wonderful brick of a book. --Simon Ings --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Of all the dictionaries in the world [Brewer's] is the most like a treasure-hunt, where one phrase leads to another, and that to a third, and before you know what's happened, it's time for lunch. (Philip Pullman)

An idiosyncratic adventure, pulling you in and saying: "this is, in fact, not what you were

looking for; but it's much more interesting."

(Terry Pratchett)

Brewer's head-words are so enticing and his definitions so eloquent that it's impossible to stop at one. An addiction may develop. (Carol Rumens, The Independent)

'By judicious updating and editing and by dint of its elegant design and printing, this latest edition retains as strong a place in its reference market niche as it ever did; long may that continue.'

(Stuart James, Past Editor, Reference Reviews, and formerly University Librarian, University of Paisley, UK)

Book Description

Take the scenic route to knowledge

About the Author

Chambers is one of the world's most respected dictionary publishers, appealing particularly to word lovers and those who revel in all the quirks of the English language. Its extensive list of innovative language and reference titles includes the renowned Brewer's list of endlessly browsable dictionaries of phrase and fable, and covers English-language dictionaries and thesauruses for every level of user from school to crossword fan, from English learner to student of slang. Meticulously researched and expertly written, the highly acclaimed Chambers range has been at the forefront of presenting knowledge and learning in an engaging and accessible way since it was first established in the 19th century.
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