Lynda Mugglestone, Writing a War of Words: Andrew Clark and the Language of WWI

Lynda Mugglestone, Writing a War of Words: Andrew Clark and the Language of WWI

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to thisnlunchtime lecture sponsored by the Friends of the Bodleian the Friends of the Bodleiannis a charity that raises money for acquisition and conservation and any of you joining usnwho are not members might want to take a look at our website see the sort of work we donand hopefully support us. It makes a great deal of difference to thenBodley to have this extra income fund in order to support its activities. So I’m delighted to welcome our speakerntoday who is Lynda Mugglestone. Lynda Mugglestone is an internationally acknowledgednauthority on the development and use of the English language. She is currently a member of the Oxford EnglishnFaculty and a fellow of Pembroke College. Many of you will remember that she recentlynco-curated the Art of Advertising exhibition at the Weston Library using the language ofnadvertising as a social witness to the past. Her Very Short Introduction to Dictionariesnpublished by OUP in 2011 explores the history and use of the dictionary as a linguisticnand cultural phenomenon and she’s also written numerous books on lexicology, lexicography,nand particularly Samuel Johnson and the journey into words published by OUP in 2015. And at the moment Lynda is nearing the endnof a research project which is being funded by the Leverhulme Trust called Words in Wartimenwhich examines language change during World War One through the archival collections ofnAndrew Clarke, which are held at the Bodley. And the new monograph Writing a War of Words:nAndrew Clarke and the search for meaning in World War One will be published by OUP innOctober of this year. And it’s on Andrew Clarke that Lynda is goingnto talk to us today so without further ado I’m going to pass you over to her. Alright, hello everyone. Thank you very much to Richard for his generousnintroduction today and also to the Friends of the Bodleian for inviting me to give thisnlecture and of course to everyone for coming to listen to it, particularly given the amazingnweather outside. Right, lovely. So as my title indicates my focus today isngoing to be on the past and mainly on one point in history: the First World War andnthe challenges as met by one writer, Andrew Clarke, to try and record its words, its idioms,nand its changing expressions in the extraordinary collection of almost 100 densely documentednnotebooks that he deposited in the Bodleian between 1915 and 1922. As part of this though I also want to explorensome of the challenges that trying to make a real-time collection poses. And especially I want to invite you to thinknabout Clarke’s interest in seizing the linguistic moment in what is, as you’ll see, a quitenliterally handcrafted archive of words. Each notebook was, in effect, to be a precisenresponse to English itself as an artefact of time and vested in the impulse to preservenwhat is potentially ephemeral from oblivion. So, to begin, we might turn for context Inthink to a statement made here in fact in another lecture that was given in Oxford alsonin June but this time in 1900 by James Murray editor of the first edition of the OxfordnEnglish Dictionary and a work that was at that point still slowly making its way throughnthe alphabet. As Murray stated then, as you can see on mynslide, “original work patient induction of facts minute verification of evidence,”nthese are all “slow processes” said Murray. And “a work so characterized,” as he addednwith some certainty, “cannot be put together with scissors or paste.” Clarke, as we will see, did not agree. Instead, paste, scissors, and his trusty blacknpen or pencil were his tools of trade. While each notebook was carefully paginatednindexed cross-referenced labelled by hand and had red ribbons neatly sewn on by hisndaughter. Each notebook then is both word horde andnscrapbook, its pages replete as you can see in the image on the right hand side of mynslide with annotated clippings and images. Here, for example, we find pictures, adverts,nthere’s a little bit about Bovril. He was very interested in Bovril, and he wasnusing this at this point in this notebook to explore phrases occurring in the war andnthe way they were familiarized in the discourse of advertising for example or ephemera. The bits on the right, for example, is hisninterest in military as a term to do with female fashion. He’s also very very interested in femalenfashion and collects lots of words to do with this during the War. So we’ve got adverts, ephemera, leaflets,nletters, reported speech, everything was examined as Clarke came across it. The Victorians as Marcus Quintas argued fornexample were preeminent hoarders, hoarders extraordinaire, and Clarke then was perhapsnparticularly exemplary in this respect hoarding words and meanings in virtually every circumstancenyou can think of. There is a sense in which no piece of papernwas in fact safe from him. There’s lots of bits in the diaries and hisnwar diaries also are in the Bodleian, and also in the notebooks. Narrating the way he was walking down HillnStreet and Oxford found a particularly nice leaflet outside the tobacconist and ran offnwith it and puts it into the notebooks and duly annotated or he finds himself on thenhigh street and finds a particularly attractive recruiting poster which likewise is abstractednand now is in the Bodleian as well. He saw history, as you’ll see, and picky languagenhistory in every scrap here so we might notice also there is a kind of principle behind this,nmaybe think about Clarke’s earlier editing of John Aubrey, particularly Aubrey’s BriefnLives here. Aubrey was another historian convinced ofnthe value of the minute and the incidental and particularly very interested the tensionnbetween what might easily be dismissed as trivial, but which might with hindsight insteadnhave value as a kind of antiquity. Clarke shares with Aubrey this sort of historicalnmindfulness, a kind of quality of historical mindfulness in relation to the kind of evidencenwe might use, so this also played its part. “All is lost” said Aubrey, as you cannsee on my slide at the top, “that is not deposited in some repository.” This was another lesson of time that certainlynClarke absorbed from Aubrey’s work. Clarke’s relationship with history and hownit might be told with the brief lives here of words and with the Bodleian as repositorynwere all to be key features of his work. First of all then, who is Clarke? So we could turn first of all then to thenDictionary of National Biography, which identifies him usefully as a Church of England clergyman,na scholar and a diarist. This won’t however quite do for our purposesntoday, though I do quite like the comment on his “phenomenal energy as well as hisnacute but humane critical sense”. Both of which are indeed very much in evidencenin Words in Wartime. Instead though today I want to link him tonthe Bodleian where he was a curator in the late 19th century, succeeding his friend innfact the great philologist Friedrich Max Müller, as well as being a very significant donornof books and manuscripts to the Bodleian, of which more later. Though actually it’s his links in fact tonanother great collective enterprise based in Oxford here in the shape of the OED itselfnthat I want to explore first. Clarke’s involvement with the OED datesnfor example from when he was a fellow of Lincoln College in the 1880s right up to the beginningnof World War One when he was instead in Essex as rector of Great Leighs, a living that wasnin fact also in the gift of Lincoln College and from where he was still very very activelynengaged in scholarship, research, and work for the University. Words in Wartime then might be a definitivelyntwentieth-century project, based as it is in World War One, but its intellectual roots,nas I want to show you first, lie in fact in Victorian Oxford and what was at that pointnseen as a radically new approach to language, lexicography, and the life of words. The OED’s unique selling point for examplenlay in its own historical engagement with time and change. As its original title page makes plain, fornexample, historical principles were fundamental to its identity and we can see this also innits original title as a New English Dictionary. It aimed in this to be quite different tonother English dictionaries that had previously existed so it aimed above all to present notnonly a great inventory of English a register of all words objectively recorded but alsona kind of biography of each word based on a vast collection of dated citations by which,nas Murray stated, each word would be able to tell its own story. From beginning then, as the text of one ofnMurray’s appeal which I’ve put on the right of my slide here, as this shows us, it alsondepended for much of this evidence the stuff that would go in to make the dated evidencenof the biographies, dependent then on the collective efforts of a diverse set of readers. it’s a kind of democracy of effort that linksnsay authors such as Ruskin or Charlotte Young with College servants in Oxford or schoolnchildren, particularly those who used to attend the school that Murray taught at in Londonnand unsurprisingly perhaps also with Clarke himself. We can think about this very interesting statement:n“We call upon Englishmen to come forward and write their own dictionary for themselves,”nas the early proposal for the dictionary had proclaimed. Collective endeavour of this kind was a prerequisite,nas Ruskin wrote to the dictionary after working and reading and in this way he said “a wordnhunt to me has become an ex as exciting as a fox hunt to others.” Clarke would definitely agree. Reading for words then, in this slide, wasnpart of a kind of accidental apprenticeship on which we can see Clarke enthusiasticallynembarking long before World War One begins. It came as you can see on this slide stillnwith precise instructions. “Make a quotation for every word that strikesnyou as rare, obsolete, old-fashioned, new, peculiar, or used in a peculiar way.” Clarke was told take special note of passagesnwhich show or imply that a word is either new or tentative. Each quotation that he found in this way wasnto be dated and carefully attributed to its source. Possible headwords were carefully underlined. A template was usefully provided so anythingnthat he sent in to the dictionary or any of these readers sent into the dictionary wasnto be on this kind of format here, so we’ve got the head word here rhinoceros underlinednand we’ve got the quotation and we’ve got the date. We’ve got all the evidence that we might neednfor our potential biography of rhinoceros. If we look though at Clarke’s earlier scholarshipnfrom this kind of perspective we soon start to see that he was in reality not only asna historian editing writers such as John Aubrey or say Anthony Wood, another writer whosenhistorical interest directed careful attention to the ordinary texture of life, but he wasnactually at the same time also filleting them for words and word usages, for useful quotationsnand lexical evidence and sending the results to James Murray at his house in north Oxford. “In this way I’ve preserved for the collectornof words some quick forms and expressions,” Clarke commented for example in his introductionnto Aubrey’s Brief Lives. What the collector of words might requirenechoes at a number of points throughout the text. The same was true of his other scholarly editions. Clarke’s English register of Osney Abbeynmight for instance be historically meaningful but as he noted this too was of exceptionalninterest as a monument of the language. Even in August ’19, he was in the processnof making yet another wordless for the OED. This time as based on his forthcoming editionnof the fifteenth-century Lincoln Diocese document and providing in the process evidence of hundredsnmore words and senses all of which duly made their way from Essex to Oxford for the surfacenof the dictionary. August 1914, however brought not only thenonset of war but a set of very interesting critical departures both in Clarke’s readingnand the uses to which these might be put. He would as we will see still read for evidencenof words as well as deploying the methods he’d carefully acquired over some 20 yearsnof reading as well as work behind the scenes at the OED. Nevertheless, the word list he sent to thenOED in the summer of 1914 from the Lincoln diocese documents a book would prove to benhis last. Meanwhile as we’ll see the suggestion thatnthe early proposal made that readers could in fact maybe write their own dictionary fornthemselves now assumed new and unexpected meanings. The OED, as we’ve seen, offered one modelnof history, but Clarke had in reality long been thinking about something different, annexperimental project, one in which history might be observed at first-hand, in all thenflux and diversity that this revealed and with data sources that departed in equallyncritical ways from those that had for a variety of reasons come to be preferred in the dictionary’sntext. Clarke’s intent to seize the moment hadneven so hitherto remained pretty much an elusive ideal. As for most of us getting round to it cannbe a challenge in its own right usually by the time he thought of doing this for us forna specific event as say with the Boer War at the very end of the nineteenth centurynthe decisive moment as he admits had just come and gone as War drew near. In 1914, however, Clarke was primed and readynand even more fortuitously he was already at work crafting a preliminary notebook ofnEnglish words. On one hand then in this notebook he was busyncollecting forms such as Gaelic place names, other aspects of words in time that were asnhe noted likely otherwise to be forgotten and as he said were therefore in need of urgentnpreservation, but on the other he also found himself turning to markedly contemporary formsnas recorded in the popular press, such as Reichland and pan-Germanism or acclimatisation,nand contemplating the claims that these two might make upon memory and the life of words. Reichland for example a proper name was notnin the OED he noted but surely he thought it required linguistic observation and record. Pan-Germanism was referenced but Murray hadndecided in his entry of the early twentieth century that a definition was probably unnecessary. Here too though Clarke stressed change wasnsurely palpable. Acclimatisation and related words were similarnso we can see an entry for this again written by Murray in the very first fascicle of thenOED as it was published in 1884, and this little bit just covered words between a andnants. It was published in in part so this was thenvery first part of the OED, but Murray’s definition in 1884: the process of acclimatising, ofnbeing acclimatised, or habituated to a new climate, no longer, Clarke observed, seemednto work with the uses that he was now gathering up in this very first notebook. Instead, as in the clippings that Clarke recordednfrom The Scotsman in February 1914, here in relation to Alsace-Lorraine language and timenhad clearly moved on, as the Scotsman said for example using acclimatisation or acclimatisednthe imperial government has for 40 years pursued the policy of acclimatisation inverted commas,nbut the two provinces are still far from being absorbed or acclimatised. Acclimatisation of this kind Clarke stressednwas clearly political, based in discourses of power and attempted compulsion as wellnas in concepts of national identity and resistance. Clarke redefined with careful reference tonthe historical moment. Acclimatisation in this sense he specifiednnow meant the endeavour to compel Alsace-Lorraine to become Prussian in sentiment and aspirations. Meaning was recalibrated for a new and ominousnera. Pan-Germanism gained a similar focus. Surely this was Clarke said the idea of makingnGermany mistress of all Europe. If as Murray had commented in on one of hisnearly prefaces for the dictionary and saying that quote, “the new word or sense is aptnto die as soon as it’s born.” Ashamed of its own newness ashamed of thenitalics or inverted commerce which apologized for its very existence or question its legitimacy. Clarke in Words in Wartime decided to makena careful record before this might happen. Inventories as he realized could be made innvery different ways so could biographies, proper names, brand names, incidental usages,nall aspects that formal lexicography tended to neglect could in a private collection insteadnall be gathered up and defined as he wished. As Clarke reflected for example in one ofnhis own early notebooks, “no student of national psychology is likely to make a completenalbum of August to October 1914 clippings in order to perpetuate the memory of thisnphase of the history of humanity.” Words in Wartime then was from the very beginningnseen as a deliberate form of memory and memory making and distinct and distinctive in whatnit aimed to include. The notebooks then still remain a treasurentrove of often now forgotten words, senses, and phrases. Over a thousand entries for instance werengathered by Clarke just over the very first few weeks of war jostling for space in hisnfirst notebook and there’s a little clipping from his first notebook, it’s a bit more ofna close-up there, and this was as Clarke noted with evident regret far too crowded. He’d underestimated, he acknowledged, thenfascination and breadth of what he would find clippings and annotations are compressed whilenhis red asterisk liberally used all over the place, as you can see, indicate his attemptnto build in a kind of comparative reading with the OED as it then existed. The asterisks mark out forms where no comparablenrecord existed in the dictionary at that point. Two weeks later then – you can see it herenlook on thing words like engine trouble or biplane. Some of this is because the OED was a verynhistorical dictionary and of course if you see a to ant was published in 1884, so thenlanguage of biplane kind of really becomes established probably after the OED publishedna relevant fascicle, so some of this is a bit of time lag. But others are very very words, very muchnof the moment actually, so this and every page particularly in the early notebooks looksnlike this actually. He was astounded by how much he could actuallynfind that was new. Two weeks later then a second notebook wasnfull as well, tracing still other red asterisk forms such as “fighting front,” one ofna range of new expressions used in negotiating the equally new trench warfare, which wasnthen coming into being on the western front, or say “fiction factory,” a very usefulnterm which clearly has its own resonances for the fake news of modern use, but herenwhich served in World War One as a scathing and propagandist coinage used in referringnto the German press. As for trench warfare then Clarke was absolutelynfascinated by how words could be a witness to changing events. How, for example, did you refer to trenchnwarfare before trench warfare as a term came into being. As here, and this is what this slide is doing,nis showing Clarke’s exploration of the wide range of some of the wide range of expressionsnthat were in use actually as writers strove to negotiate and renegotiate a history thatnwas unfolding day by day. Trench warfare is a term he finds in Octobern1914, but before that, and also across the first autumn of the war and became very interestednin this language of siege, so it’s an entry very recently being published in the OED andnthat was all about encircling and closing something, cutting communications off fromnsomewhere until that place gives in. But it didn’t seem to work as Clarke observednwith the kind of usage that he saw across this first autumn and so you can see it’sna siege war, a compound noun much in favour September to November 1914. He often gives these quantity markers, he’snvery interested in the kind of prominences that words the rise and fall of words really,nas Samuel Johnson says the budding and falling away as language changes. He said he had siege or siege warfare morenred asterisks so he says you know we can quote site from the evening news regular siege warnhas been in progress for two days, but I think what Clarke was interested in was it wasn’tna very regular one, nothing was being encircled, it was just very static and very very verynlinear, and then, you know, again by December 1914 it’s a sort of siege war, defensive,nnot moving, not making an offensive movement forward. It’s often also referred to, loads of othernterms actually around the time, I’ve put a few of them here: barbed wire was a veryntypical term at that time, an underground war, that was a very early one, October, “whatnmay be termed an underground war, winter on the horizon; their men and guns lie buriednout of sight.” He particularly liked though this next citation,nMarch 1915, which gave one of those kind of very illuminating quotations that Murray wouldnhave enjoyed very much as well where you get a term and also a kind of quasi-definitionnwithin the same quotation, so as Clarke, as this clipping says: “This is siege warfarenas everyone knows” but what everyone knows about siege warfare by the time we get aroundnto March 1915 is that it’s not what we might have thought it was before the First WorldnWar began. Instead it’s linear, immense running overn400 miles and means holding the line of trenches stretching from the Belgian coast to Belfort. Those kind of transitions the messiness ofnlanguage change taking place under your eyes is what Clarke is really really interestednin. By October 1914 just to consider, just tonlook a bit more at this early history, we got a third notebook full as well providingnevidence on still more red asterisk words for early war such as shell shields and restnchambers. These also were other aspects of the changingnarchitecture of modern warfare, trench warfare as it came into being. Risk chamber for example was an early referencento the kind of dugouts which later became much more familiarized in wartime, commentnit swiftly disappeared or as in this one for example temporary little nice little entrynfor “Tipperary,” a song that had already been established as a music hall favouritenbefore the war but which was now redefined by Clarke as the soldier’s marching songnof 1914. Again as he argued meaning had changed. When people referenced “Tipperary” theyndidn’t echo, or they didn’t refer to the music hall, instead it was about a song of departurenof soldiers leaving and departing for the western front. Preserved too was the otherwise unrecordedn“black august.” “Black” as in the “Black Monday” ornBlack Wednesday” of modern use was laden with foreboding. 1914, when war broke out stakes a carefulndefinition in Clarke’s neat hand so the challenges of trying to capture living historynand the lexical records that this reveals can even so be obvious what happens undernour noses ought to be the clearest says Julian Barnes for instance in his novel The Sensenof an Ending. Tet usually as Barnes warns it’s the oppositenthat’s true. Paradoxically it’s past events that seem clear-cutndefinitive in their depiction of what happened, of who did what and what this meant. Living history, that under our noses, is inncontrast presented as the most deliquescent, that which is most liable to fade away, tondissolve in relation to time and memory unless carefully observed. Our own recent history offers perhaps similarnchallenges. The Guardian might recently have urged usnto make space in our Covid dictionary for another new entry, you can see this on thenright of my slide, here it was referencing the sunshine shift, which it defined as anplay on the zero hours contract in which hospitality workers were guaranteed work only when thensun is out, but in reality even sunshine shift is probably already obsolescent given ourncurrent road map in the return to normal life. I’m hoping you can hear my inverted comments. In our Covid dictionary then the meta languagenof Covid R numbers, road maps and social distancing might now all claim a distressing familiaritynthat when we in time remember the sunshine shift all the distinctive resonances of “staynalert” or the demands and prevalence of “pandemic puppies” or “lockdown hair”nor the nuances of last summer’s mask etiquette, or here too will deliquescence intervene? So for Clarke then it’s precisely this andnthe kind of history that happens under one’s nose or perhaps more to the point under one’sneyes and ears that between 1914 and 1919 would therefore preoccupy his endeavours. In his notebooks then great writers are conspicuousnby their absence, the kind of emotion recollected in tranquillity as prized by Wordsworth wasnmade irrelevant. Instead, his reading deliberately focusednon the social and geographical spectrum of the daily press including then the Daily Express,nthe Scotsman, the Evening News, and the Telegraph, as well as the local Essex press and localnScots newspapers sent to him by his brother and as well as I suppose we should add whatnparticularly, what would clearly require the particular test of fortitude, the pages ofnthe Star. This was clearly by no means his natural literarynhabitat. Clarke described this as a low-class paperncontaining very little real news, very few sensible articles, and a profession of second-ratenadvertisements. It was, as he added with some distaste, thenconcoction of bounders. But it was even so scrutinized carefully andnwith conspicuous objectivity providing say memorable clippings as here on the otherwisenunregistered recruiting barometer and its metaphorical mercury that appeared outsidenthe town hall in Manchester, testing the patriotism temperature of the city in relation to thennumber of recruits that were recruited from hour to hour. To equally good effect, it was the Star thatnprovided evidence on “non-starter,” a word that was added into the OED in 1976 butnhere used in memorably as Clarke noted in describing the Kaiser: “a non-starter: ThenKaiser who was nominated only two months ago as the next recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize!”nClarke defined it as “Metaphor: a horse which is struck out of engagement to run anrace.” But it was the Express which equally memorablynyielded his very illuminating evidence of “peaky blinder” and another term whichnwould make a much later appearance in the OED being added in 1982 by Robert Birchfieldnin his own revisions to the dictionary and in which wartime uses do not appear. But “peaky blinder” in Words in Wartimenagain refers to the Kaiser, illuminatingly described then as “the boss ‘peaky blinder’nof Berlin.” Again with a nicely embedded definition. For Clarke then, words of this guy were allnunderlined extracted and pasted into the relevant notebook. In Clarke’s reading then, words abounded. Even a single clipping as here was repletenwith words and sensors that demanded scrutiny. This one, for example, has got captive balloon. It’s got “crater”, one word that was innthe OED, but only at that point defined in terms of volcanoes, whereas Clarke was veryninterested in the craters that lay on the battlefield of the western front. Likewise, to “pit”, it’s another wordnthat he saw of interest. Murray had just defined this in the OED butnonly in terms of creating shallow indentations, but as Clarke observed pitting on the westernnfront in the resulting craters could easily swallow a small cottage. And of course we’ve got slang appearing herenjust at the very bottom: “unhealthy”, euphemistic, meaning very dangerous. Being on the western front was indeed unhealthy,nbut and not an activity that was advised for the fainter of heart. Posters, postcards, rappers from stoke ornbooks and books of matches could and would elicit similarly scrutiny while, as on thenslide, you know, he took lots of freedoms, you know again liberated from the idea ofnsending neat slips to the OED. He started doing multiple annotations on thensame little scrap of paper. He was really interested too in letters fromnthe front. These were often reprinted in the popularnpress and these were read and noted and annotated really really carefully across Words in Wartime. Whether this was in terms of documenting newntechnologies in what seemed a strikingly modern war or trench slang and its varied expressivities. This is the letter, for example, that wasnoriginally written from the front by Private Yerbury from the London Rifle Brigade andnit was sent to his brother in England on the 23rd of December 1914. As you can see from the clipping it then reappearednin the Daily Express the following week. Clarke collected all the adverts from thenExpress and other newspapers that offered the payment of quite handsome sums of moneynif you sent in an authentic letter from the front. And so we can see this very neat transition,nso here it is it’s on the western front and then it comes back to England then it goesninto the Daily Express and then a couple of days later it’s extracted and annotated bynClarke and making a further appearance in Words in Wartime actually. So used here then in illustrating bounder,nnot in OED at that point in time. Murray thought “bounder” was rather toonresonant of undergraduate slang and probably would not survive, so he decided not to includenit. And we’ve also got words like “bucked,”n“cheered,” you know, as well as the very very euphemistic “messed about” used innrelation to the aftermath of an attack, so “no doubt the regiment will be messed aboutna bit but that can’t be helped.” “Be they right or be they wrong” Clarkenwrote, “letters offered impressions of the war that were not part of official (and therefore,nordered sources).” Their immediacy was prized. So too in Words of Wartime was that of reportednspeech. In Words in Wartime notebooks then we cannencounter things like the otherwise unrecorded term “service rations.” Another red asterisk form for Clarke. In an interview with a Smithfield salesman,nhere as used in discussing meat supplies for the home front, or we can say turn to an eyewitnessnof the bomb dropping in England for evidence of “tip-cart.” He “said that the crew of the zeppelin appearednto go suddenly mad and drop bombs as if they were turning them out of a ‘tip-cart’.” If in the OED likewise we can get an entrynfor tinder lighter, though it belatedly appears in 1986, in the OED it’s Violet Asquith, daughternof the British Prime Minister, who’s documenting relevant wartime use. But in Clarke its “tinder lighters” andntheir use instead of matches on active service were instead verified via an interview innthe Daily Express with a Mr Perkins, head of the company which produced them. “We’re sending them out by the hundred grossnevery week” said Mr Perkins, “many thousands of tinder lighters have now been made in Londonnand sent to the troops in the trenches where they are found to be more reliable and easiernto carry.” It’s the diversity and the striking inclusivenessnof what Clarke records that is a really conspicuous feature of his work. Telling the story for Clarke is a markedlynliberal activity. Total war, a conflict where non-combatantsnas well as fighting fronts form the object of attack, is historically, for example, oftennseen as a prime marker of World War One, but Clarke’s total war encompassed right fromnvery beginning not only transgressive methods of this kind and their human consequencesnbut also trace the percolation of war in relation to food and fashion, childhood or old age,nmotoring, sport, or changing gender roles and expectations. We can thereby witness say the emergence andnfamiliarisation of forms key to total war such as zeppelin warfare, zeppelin bomb, ornzeppelin defence, as well as the swiftly outdated zepelinophobia, one of my favorite words actually,nand originally defined as an entirely irrational fear of possible zeppelin attack. But for Clarke though, associated ramificationsnof total war were also intricately woven into the minutiae of a daily life as in the emergencensay of the intriguing zeppelin barometer depicted as a useful addition to the home, as we cannsee here, this. You put this next your actual barometer andnyou can map the probability of the zeppelin attack depending on the air pressure, so werenwe in the middle of World War One I hate to tell you but it would definitely be zeps comingntoday. And incidentally we can see the zeps, thenfamiliarisation of the language of zeppelins and zeppelin attacks so zeppelin barometernis very interesting there. But he’s equally interested in things liken“zeppelin nighties” another new expression again that doesn’t make its way to formalnlexicography but was prompted in wartime use by the newly vexing matter of just what donyou wear during a night-time raid on the home front? And home front laws itself of course yet anothernidiom of wartime use which Clarke pays attention to. As we can see from things like this, acrossnClarke’s notebooks the historical principles of formal lexicography were carefully andnsystematically redirected to create instead this this kind of ambitious micro historynof English use, offering vivid snapshots of time and change or intriguing pre-historiesnwhich still remind of Clarke’s abilities as a reader, as in say psychological warfarenand given us being used from 1940 in the current OED, but Clarke’s got it already there inn1914, for example and just a willingness to incorporate just almost anything as an evidence,nas evidence of language and its use. I’m quite fond also of the lion right here. It’s a kind of early pre-digital iPad maybe. Ideal for reading and writing in bed, he wasnvery interested in the creativities of brand names as part as a response to war. “Sea attack” on the right hand side isnanother term that he was also quite intrigued by. This appears meaning, quite distinctively,nan attack on land from sea and used across the war after the attack on Whitby from battleshipsnin the North Sea in December 1914. We might likewise recently have found ourselvesnpreoccupied with our own mask wearing, but gas masks for the home or what were termedncivilian respirators were other linguistic artefacts which for Clarke demanded linguisticnrecord and attention and which also still typically remain silent in formal lexicography. As here, we can purchase our own gas poisonnprotection face mask for only two shillings, actually as advertised in the Evening Newsnin 1915. And I’m also quite fond, there’s a psychologicalnwarfare one, and there’s hundred grenades as well for the home. I think these rather interesting as a kindnof response to zeppelin raid dangers so that you can have, if you feel imminently threatenednby fleets of zeppelin airships carrying incendiary bombs, you can now purchase your own domesticnhand hand grenades, so absolutely harmless we’re told that even a little child can playnwith them. It’s described as yet another “anti-zepnprecaution”. And “anti-zep” is for Clarke yet anothernword that claimed interest of its own. As this suggests then, Clarke’s notebooksnclearly present a bewildering richness a word horde of serious extent and range this lecturencan present only a tiny tiny snapshot of what he gathered up. What is also clear though throughout all ofnthis is the way in which he really relished the freedom and autonomy that the notebooksnafforded not least since should words and meanings exceed the available space in onennotebook another notebook as the bottling came to realize always laying weight. “As Macbeth saw the murderous dagger beforenhim handled to his hand, I see a row of quarto notebooks all wagging Bodley-wards in hopenof shelter” As Clarke had confessed in early 1914 before even thinking of Words in Wartime. And he confessed this to his close friendnFalconer Madden, who was sub-librarian of the Bodley from 1880 and Chief Librarian duringnthe war in the period 1912 to 1919. Even before war began then it’s clear thatnClarke had in reality a very serious notebook habit. And, you know, if the idea of seeing the kindlynand liberal Clarke as a potential Macbeth can be disorientating it may be useful tonremember that even in February 1914 some 300 Clarkian notebooks of this kind had alreadynsought shelter in the Bodleian, a surprising total as the annual report of the creatorsnconfirmed with conspicuous restraint then in February 1914 and these notebook collectionsnincluded things like 13 volumes of topographical notes which Clarke deposited in 1893, or numerousnvolumes of antiquarian collections that he deposited in 1894, or 12 volumes of moldernnotes which made their way to Oxford in 1907. Clarke had deposited printed books too butnit’s the idea of the manuscript notebook as a repository for potentially vulnerable informationnand in particular his sense of the Bodleian as a shield against temporality. These were already very well established featuresnof his working methods before war began. Words in Wartime then, we should note, clearlynremained in manuscript by design. It was archived as a cohesive work mostlynin its numbered volumes and also bearing all the cross-references with his war diary thatnwas also sent to the Bodleian and also in many many notebook volumes rather than fornexample you know being kept in Essex where of course he might have decided to revisensome publication of the war, so he clearly decided that wasn’t something he’d want tondo they want they are presented as an archive and deliberately placed in the Bodleian. With equal deliberation they were not sentnto the OED, where as Clarke was aware their contents might have been dispersed, or stillnworse discarded. There are for instance some very useful recordsnin the OED archives of words Clarke did send in but a stamped in red, not used. Words in Wartime was conceived as a collectivenenterprise in its own right and it was deposited by Clarke himself usually during his manyntrips to Oxford and his visits to Madden or his “dear librarian” as his letters tonMadden often begin. We could end then with Madden and the Bodleian. In Madden, for instance, Clarke had his idealnlibrarian, not only given their close and enduring friendship but also crucially becausenof Madden’s own interest in language and ephemera as historical artefacts. Madden then was not only a great bodily andnlibrarian and bibliographer but in another often forgotten history he was a dedicatednreader for the OED in his own right. In fact he was one of the very few readersnwhose contributions to the dictionary spanned the entire history of the first edition. He was collecting quotations and electricalnevidence and corresponding with its editors from the early 1880s to 1928, otherwise afterwards. Madden’s emphasis then on the historical saliencenof the trivial and the ephemeral and the obligations that libraries in particular should observe,nwere equally important in this respect. Every product of the press has its value,nhe stressed, small libraries as he acknowledged must of necessity pass much by, but he addednthe obligations of libraries of deposit such as the Bodleian were and must be different. These, he said, are right in not rejectingnanything because its immediate use is not obvious, whether this is he said the literaturenof the street in pamphlets or leaflets or ballads or as he added what might unadvisedlynbe termed trash. All, Madden stressed, required preservation. In the Bodleian, Words in Wartime had as anresult also found its ideal repository. Even so, collection and deposition remainnonly part of the story. In the Bodleian, Clarke, as he was well aware,nhad not only secured preservation for the notebooks which occupied his endeavours acrossnthe years of war, but as he hoped, another way of communicating like the OED with readersnof his own and as he wrote to Murray with the great community of English scholars. Libraries foster not only conservation butnuse, turnover tenderly as Clarke saw urges for example alongside countless carefullynannotated leaflets and clippings in his notebooks. Turn over carefully. “Tis not worth much, but its value willnnot increase by being torn.” Words in Wartime then is in fundamental waysnalso in increased intriguingly dialogic text with Clarke’s own voice embedded at a rangenof points amid the notebooks he so carefully made. Across the years as readers in our own rightnwe are then invited to reconsider the value of that which is too easily dismissed as valuelessnalongside the daily struggle to comprehend and express a war in words. Thank you. RICHARD: Well thank you Lynda so much fornthat wonderfully rich talk which not simply illustrated Andrew Clarke’s fascinationnwith language but the fascination of language itself. I think that is a really wonderful tour denforce. Thank you. I know we’re going to have some questionsnas I’m watching the q and a but we’ve had one in the chat already asking about whethernhe was interested at all in the language of propaganda. LYNDA: Yes I’m afraid he was interestednin just about everything actually, so yes there’s a lot of, he’s very interested innpersuasion and also as a historian he was very interested in the way in which historynwas in danger as he turned it of being contaminated by the kind of forms of presentation. There’s an interesting tension at times betweennhis sense of himself as a historian and what events mean as a his as historical facts,nbut also the way in which, how language can act as a kind of prison or a form of presentation,nand so quite often you’ve got this tension between his desire to objectively record languagenuse as he found it, and then every now and then his kind of historical insights get thenbetter of him and he makes some scathing asides like “fiction” in the margin. They are very interesting, so he’s very awarenand very interested in this idea of propaganda and in fact he makes some of his little somenof his notebooks he starts making thematic notebooks as well as further stages of experiment,nand some of them are called “war fictions”, actually which are all about propaganda. RICHARD: We have just a comment, “war andnthe upheaval it creates, can it be a catalyst for change?” I suppose this means linguistic change LYNDA: Yeah, I think that’s right actually. I mean you know he saw oddly war as an opportunitynyou know because and he was interested in testing out this idea about does languagenchange in war? Is war a prompt for that? Richard Mulcaster another renaissance scholarnhad said war is such a breeder for example, and then Clarke’s very interested in thensame idea. How and what kind of words are bred in war? Part of it is a kind of obvious language ofntechnology, the language of modern war, but he was really interested in the stimulus,nyou know, in all sorts of things like his interest in female fashion, or millinery. He was perplexed. we get some other little interesting asidenlike, I have no idea why war is proving so enormously productive in relation to millinerynbut here’s some more examples! So he’s intrigued by all of these things. RICHARD: Thank you. I can’t see anything else in the chat butnI found it fascinating myself that just the diversity of the sources that he was usingnfrom bounder’s language to the sort of language you might find in the Times leader. He clearly has a sense that that languagenis permeating every aspect of society and that there’s no sort of standard receivednthing. LYNDA: Absolutely, yeah he’s incredibly inclusive. I mean it does make it very difficult. The first time I came across these notebooksnI was like well how on earth does one work with these? Because there were words everywhere and itnwas only in fact, everything is being transferred to a database, so some of the images you gotnon the slides are in fact from the actual archive itself and other bits are just bitsnfrom the database where everything has been tagged and categorized whether it’s relatingnto gender or fashion or whatever which made it much much easier to work with actually. I mean I should say Clarke himself by thenend thought he’d failed entirely, so this was not a project which he was happy withnby the end, just because he thought well maybe maybe this experiment was not the kind ofnthing you should, maybe you should wait till the end of war collate everything, just pickna few examples and then create an alphabetic index actually. So he did start to doubt his methods by thenend, but I think it’s the immediacy actually and the fact that he keeps redefining wordsnas you go through the war that makes it very interesting so you start to see just how messynlanguage is as a kind of response. RICHARD: Okay, we have another question atnthe moment saying as far as you can tell do you think he read newspapers every day? I mean was he someone who sat down to scarna whole series of newspapers every day? Was it that sort of method or was it morenhaphazard? LYNDA: In the early years it’s pretty regularnactually, not absolutely every day but you know certainly you know on a number of occasionsnover a week it depended as well what was happening with the individual newspapers, he says henonly cut newspapers up was which were the ones he felt able to dispose of. So his charitable instincts could get thenbest of him. The Daily Express disappears for a while becausenhe decided to donate it for the use of wounded soldiers in nearby Braintree for example. Sometimes and if there’s something very calamitousnthat happens in war then all the newspapers sometimes were bought up before he could getnto them and even the newspapers he did clip up were the ones that had made their way aroundnthe village. He shared the newspapers and then they gradually,nso that’s why sometimes it’s difficult to say oh yes he read this on this day becausenhe sends his newspapers around the village for the benefit of those who want to be ablento read what’s going on and weren’t able to access newspapers as readily as he could. It’s a very kind of inclusive project thatnway around. But by the later years of war then war itselfnstarts to impact on Clarke and he loses the people who’d helped him at the rectory whonchopped the wood and fed the pony and tenders to the car and he started having to do allnthis himself and he writes some really sad letters to Madden saying you know I’m desperatenfor a chance of reading and writing but instead I’m queuing wood until midnight. It’s interesting how real war also impactsnon how he reads and makes the project. RICHARD: It’s fascinating yes. I mean we have another question about couldnyou tell us a little more about any categories he excludes and perhaps why? For example itineraries, undergraduate slangnor something like that, does he make exclusions of that nature? LYNDA: Not particularly. The bits that, I mean, I guess as a churchnof England clergyman he does get rather annoyed with the loose use of Christian terminologynI think that that is one bit which prompts a kind of lapse in his objectivity. When people talk about re-christening townsnthere was a lot of renaming going on as you tried to share the German influence and hendoesn’t like things like that, but he still records them because you know that was thenthing about being with the OED. The OED training he’d had was absolutely vitalnbecause as the early lectures for that for the foundational lecture set up the OED thenemphasis was that you must be a historian not a critic. It doesn’t matter whether you like or dislikensomething, the important thing is that it is in fact recorded so even bits where Clarkenis like yes you know inappropriate use as we might say today he’s still recording themnactually so yeah there are no major exclusion zones, actually which is which is quite impressive. RICHARD: We have one comment from Jim Buchanannwho says that there’s a theory that women rush out to buy hats if they think there’sngoing to be a war because new hats are among the first items that are going. LYNDA: That must be right! Clarke didn’t knownthat one but that’s absolutely brilliant that must be the explanation. Yeah he was he was very interested in thennumber of items of female clothing that could reflect the influence of war, like the henliked the silken bayonet belt actually which has absolutely nothing to do with the pragmaticsnof war but you would just wear this rather nice silken bayonet belt as a woman you seento signify your kind of allegiance. And of course ladies kaki was something elsenhe was very interested in and they say women’s trench coats you know called things like thenSomme. “Buy the Somme today” as your oh you couldnbuy the man as well. He collects all of these, I mean these trendsnfor naming actually. It now seems extraordinary that you mightnwant to buy your desired model of trench coat called the Somme but no it’s all there innWords in Wartime. RICHARD: Thank you, well I’ll certainlynremember the zeppelin nighties! LYNDA: Yes there’s even poems written aboutnthe zeppelin nighties. RICHARD: We have just a question from AlannJames. It says, I think you mentioned in passingna list of Gaelic place names, do I take it that this is in the collection of Clarke’snnotes in the Library because it would be of interest to the official Scottish, Gaelicnplace names agency? LYNDA: Yes it is it’s buried in in one ofnhis notebooks you can do email me after us and I’ll try and locate the precise referencenfor you. Yeah it’s one of his early pre-Words in Wartimennotebooks of English words is where he was kind of playing around with how you mightndo a project of this kind, but yes he’s very interested on that comment, like yeah likelynotherwise to be forgotten. He’s got quite a lot of stuff because he wasnScottish I should say and that’s what we’ve got quite a lot. The Scotsman is one of his favourite sourcesnactually so it doesn’t get this kind of scathing comments that the Star does. So yeah so he’s got a lot of evidence of Scotsnwords, Scots culture and he talks he uses a lot of his Scots dialect words as well innthe course of his diary. Yes, do contact me that’s fine. RICHARD: So Ellen if you contact Lynda afterwardsnperhaps that will be all right. We have a question from Marina Warner: doesnhe give the origin of peaky blinder? LYNDA: Only by referring it to the kind ofnthe language of the stub youths of Birmingham. As within the actual entry. It wasn’t in any dictionary of the time asnfar as he could find out it certainly wasn’t in the OED. He was very interested in this very memorablenquotation actually. I know it always makes me smile when I comenacross that this particular bit of the notebook as the Kaiser, as the boss peaky blinder ofnBerlin. So yes but the actual article is much longernthat he gives and it does elaborate much more on the social circumstances of those who werentermed peaky blinders. He underlines quite a lot on that particularnclipping. RICHARD: I think just one more from Mark Thompson. Did he provide any summary conclusions atnthe end of the war pulling together his thoughts thematically or on any other basis? LYNDA: Well it would have been nice if hendid but no he was quite sad at the end of the war. His wife had died, it’s very like Johnsonnactually you know and he was increasingly convinced that he’d worked on all of thisnand maybe it wasn’t what he wanted. I don’t think that any lexicographers arenentirely happy with what they have achieved, and you know whether this is a you know andictionary or you know a collection or I don’t know. It’s such a kind of diverse sort of you knownmulti-disciplinary kind of text, so in a way he does fit into the typical “the tearsnof the lexicographer”. He was very sad at the end of the war becausenyou know although one of the terms that he records his “thankful villager”, “thankfulnvillage” is one where it didn’t lose any of its sons as they went to war, but GreatnLeighs was not a “thankful village.” There’s a very sad letter he writes to Maddennin the library just saying there are so few of the boys from this village left to comenback. In a way he ends with this kind of ratherndowncast sense, really that was it worth it, was war worth it? But he’s most reflective actually in the lettersnto Madden which links him very closely with the Bodleian which makes doing this topicnappropriate today. RICHARD: I think that’s about the only that’snabout all the time we have for questions so thank you so much Lynda for giving us, I meanntaking us not just into the content but also the context of the Andrew Clarke diaries andnscrapbooks and I think for me what came across was just the symbiosis of language and experiencenyou know as the lexus of the past just proves to be completely inadequate, exactly thatnlanguage is a very living thing. but I think you’ve given us a really wonderfulninsight into what is clearly a treasure trove of linguistic knowledge and we look forwardnto the to the book when it is published later this year. Thank you very much indeed.
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Lynda Mugglestone, Writing a War of Words: Andrew Clark and the Language of WWI

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