29 Apr:
Roget’s Lexical Legacy

Peter Mark Roget waited until retirement to compile his personal collection of synonyms into a book for publication: the first edition of Roget’s Theasurus, released on 29th April, 1852. 

Despite initial scepticism from critics, who couldn’t grasp its practical brilliance, the public embraced the new format – despite its unconventional organisation, in which synonyms were categorised by conceptual threads, rather than in alphabetical order.

In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca explain how Roget drew inspiration from the systematic brilliance of Carl Linnaeus; discover literary references to the book in J.M. Barrie and Sylvia Plath; and question whether Roget’s work was an entirely positive development for journalism…

Further Reading:

• ‘Roget and His Thesaurus’ (The Saturday Evening Post, 2023): https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2023/01/roget-and-his-thesaurus/

• ‘Peter Mark Roget, the Keeper (See: Steward, Caretaker) of Synonyms’ (The New York Times, 2008): https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/books/18book.html

• ’Eulogy at a Roget’s Thesaurus Funeral – Johnny Carson’ (NBC):