The starting date of the fourth volume of Julie Coleman's pioneering
history marks the appearance of the most influential slang dictionary of
the twentieth century, Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and
Unconventional English, produced at a time when the Depression had broken
down traditional working-class communities; the United States was a
still-reluctant world power; and another world war was inevitable. If the
First World War unsettled combatants' minds, the second unsettled society.
It challenged values around the world and, as the author shows, offered new
opportunities for vibrant self-expression. Lexicographers recorded a rich
harvest of words and phrases from around the world, reflecting new-found
freedoms from convention, increased social mobility, and the continued rise
of the mass media. Julie Coleman's account ranges across the
English-speaking world. It will fascinate all those interested in slang and
its reflections of social and cultural change.