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Jacques Barzun on Reading the Dictionary:

As a man grows older it is likely that the new books to which he forms a permanent attachment are reference books. An encyclopedic reader such as Shaw observed this in himself and on this point, I know, my friends Auden and Trilling report the same experience as I. Hand over to one of us a new Dictionary, “Companion,” or Guide, and our eyes first light up and then turn dreamy: we have seized the volume and are off, arm in arm with the guide or companion; the addictionary weakness prevails: we have dropped out of the conversation and fallen into the deep trance of following alphabetized definitions, row on row, the army of unalterable law. (Review of Eric Partridge’s Origins, in A Company of Readers, ed. Arthur Krystal, 2001)