The book, The Dictionary of Lost Words is a novel written by Australian author Pip Williams. While based on the real event of compiling the Oxford University Press’s New English Dictionary² (now the Oxford English Dictionary), it is a novel focused on the fictional character Esme Nicoll. She is the motherless daughter of Harry, a lexicographer working on the dictionary. From six years of age, when she picked up a slip of paper that had fallen on the floor at her father’s workplace, Esme secretly and gradually collected a trunkful of words that had either been discarded by the lexicographers or were used by female stall holders in the Oxford Covered Market. The collected words related to women and Esme recorded the meanings for each. In the story, these words were published in a book titled Women’s Words and Their Meanings. Esme’s objective was to ensure that these words, discarded by men but important to women, were not lost. She believed the words and their meanings were significant because they revealed the narrative of women that was often not present in the writings of men.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11890