Loy’s Lunar Lexicon

By Matt Bell, Matthew Days, Casey Margerum, Hannah Sommerlad

Davidson College

homepage of Loy's Lunar Lexicon featuring large black & white photo of the moon

Loy’s Lunar Lexicon creates a lexicon from Mina Loy’s first volume of poetry Lunar Baedecker. Published in 1923 by Contact Press with “Baedecker” misspelled, the volume is divided into two parts:

  1. Poems 1921-1923
  2. Poems 1914-1915

Very little scholarly attention has been given to the collection as a whole. This lexicon hopes to encourage further study.

abstract image of moon with "Explore the Lexicon" superimposedWhat is a Lexicon?

  1.  A word-book or dictionary; chiefly applied to a dictionary of Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, or Arabic.
  2. Linguistics. The complete set of meaningful units in a language; the words, etc., as in a dictionary, but without the definitions  (Oxford English Dictionary).

Our lexicon consists of all of the words from Lunar Baedecker, listed in alphabetical order.  It is also part-dictionary; we have chosen to define some of the terms that Loy has selected for her collection, with the hopes that future scholars will continue to expand on our work.  Defined can be accessed below, and words selected for defining are 1) difficult terms, or 2) words related to astronomical images, lightness, darkness, seasons, and celestial themes.

partial list of defined terms

Our Definitions 

Definitions for this index are taken primarily from the 1907 Webster’s International Dictionary of the English Language (abbreviated “MW” within individual entries).  If the definition is not found in this dictionary, we turn to the Oxford English Dictionary (abbreviated OED).  Loy’s created words are identified as “CW” after the entry.

How can I use this lexicon?

The lexicon is set up so that you can access Loy’s word choice in multiple ways. Below, you can choose to view either the words we have defined or the Lunar Baedecker lexicon in its entirety.  Within the full lexicon, words are still hyperlinked but do not necessarily give complete information; we hope that future scholars will be inspired to expand upon our work and contribute to our data collection.

Through “tagging” or hyperlinkage between different words by theme, we hope that the lexicon inspires scholars to see new connections between Loy’s vocabulary. The lexicon also aims to adumbrate Loy’s fascination with the celestial and plant the scholarly seeds from which future close readings may grow.

sample definition page