That idea was heartbreaking to me (and I don’t even own the twenty-volume set), but the articulate essay written by Charlotte Brewer made me rethink my reaction.
I loved her images and her turns of phrase.
I consult the Oxford English Dictionary almost every day. The binding on my first edition, the last installment of which was published in 1928, is disintegrating. Shreds of vellum flutter onto desk or carpet every time I open one of the 12 massive volumes, which can weigh as much as 15 pounds. Because Iâ€™m researching the history of the OED, I need to compare the first edition with the second. But truth be told, I also have a sentimental attachment to these cream-colored pages, stained by age and use, with the complex yet clear patterning of each element in an entry (headword, pronunciation, etymology, definition, quotations), which James Murray, the first chief editor of the OED, designed to be â€œeloquent to the eye.â€