This paper asks whether the notion of dictionary plagiarism and lexicographers as plagiarists, often appealed to, is a viable analytical tool in the history of lexicography. The well-known examples of Henry Estienne and Johann Scapula, and Thomas Blount and Edward Phillips, are examined. The case of Francis Holyoke is also mentioned. The paper examines the details of some of these texts to evaluate the claims of plagiarism which have been made, finding that they are not justified for various reasons and to varying degrees. Scapula's dictionary is an abridgement and an infringement of what we would call Estienne's intellectual property rights, while Blount's claims about Phillips are querulous and factually unjustifiable. The charge of plagiarism is unhelpful and a hindrance as an analytic tool.
Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX 3)
edited by R. W. McConchie, Teo Juvonen, Mark Kaunisto, Minna Nevala, and Jukka Tyrkkö Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-455-3 library binding
viii + 188 pages
publication date: 2013
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA