Page:Studies of a Biographer 1.djvu/51

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


THE EVOLUTION OF EDITORS


What is an editor? If we turn, as our fathers would have turned, to Johnson's Dictionary, we shall find in the last edition published during his life that the word in 1785 meant either 'publisher' simply, or editor in the sense in which the name describes Bentley's relation to Horace or Warburton's to Pope. The editor, that is as implying the commander of a periodical, is not yet recognised, and Johnson, if any one, would not have overlooked him. Dr. Murray's great dictionary gives 1802 as the date of the earliest recorded use of the word in the now familiar sense. The editor is regarded by most authors as a person whose mission is the suppression of rising genius, or as a traitor who has left their ranks to help their natural enemy, the publisher. Hateful as he may be in himself, he is an interesting figure in the annals of literature. The main facts are familiar enough, and are given in various histories

37