Is the OED using a citation from James Russell Lowell that is a plagiary?

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Sep 7 15:57:49 UTC 2007

On 9/7/07, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
> Now -- did perhaps Lowell write the 12-page Cyclopaedia article on
> Dante?  We know (or at least I vaguely remember!) that Lowell put
> considerable effort into translating Dante (was his translation of
> the Inferno never published?); perhaps he was invited to contribute
> to the Cyclopaedia.  This volume, at least, does not credit its contributors.

Looks like he did in fact write the article. From a review of the
Cyclopaedia in the Atlantic Monthly (April 1863, p. 521):
"Professor Lowell's 'Dante,' ... and many others we might name, are
admirable specimens of literary composition."

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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