Lost between Hotten and Henley: Barrère and Leland’s Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant
chapterposted on 09.08.2011, 14:44 by Julie M. Coleman
John Camden Hotten’s single-volume A Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words (DMS) was published in 1859. It was the first substantial new slang dictionary since Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (CDVT) of 1785. Hotten’s dictionary went through five editions and was republished for many years after his death, becoming the most frequently consulted dictionary of English slang for much of the second half of the nineteenth century. It was not superseded until the publication of John Farmer and William Henley’s Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present (S&A). This appeared in seven volumes between 1890 and 1904, and remained the most authoritative treatment of English slang until the publication of Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English in 1937. Cast into the shade by these monsters of the slang dictionary tradition is the two-volume Dictionary of Slang, Jargon and Cant (DSJC) published by Albert Barrère and Charles Leland in 1889 and 1890. This paper explores the differences between the three nineteenth-century dictionaries and seeks to explain the relatively low profile of Barrère and Leland’s DSJC.