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  • Cited by 11
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2019
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

First taking shape during the seventeenth century, the European encyclopedia was an alphabetical book of knowledge. For the next three centuries, printed encyclopedias in the European tradition were an element of culture and peoples' lives, initially just among Europe's educated elite but ultimately through much of the literate world. Organized around themes such as genre, economics, illustration, and publishing, The European Encyclopedia is the first comprehensive survey of encyclopedias to be written in English in more than fifty years. Engaging with printed encyclopedias, now largely extinct and the object of nostalgia, as well as the global phenomenon of Wikipedia, Jeff Loveland brings together encyclopedias from multiple languages (notably English, French, and German, amongst others). This book will be of interest to anyone, from academics in the humanities to non-academic readers, with an interest in encyclopedias and their history.


‘A highly readable account of the many permutations of a genre that became familiar to a wide public. The thematic approach is innovative, and the research is mind-boggling in its extent, with coverage of dozens of encyclopedias in several languages. Loveland has written a major contribution to the history of encyclopedism.’

Kathleen Hardesty Doig - Georgia State University

‘The great fields of the history of knowledge and the histories of print and digital culture have had the encyclopedic tradition on their horizons forever: a jumbled and forbidding mass of peaks (the Encyclopédie, Britannica, Zedler, Larousse, Wikipedia …), never explored as a whole. This book surveys it in a map of wonderful clarity, fascinating in itself and a sure guide for decades of future exploration.’

John Considine - University of Alberta

'… the book is replete with fascinating information.'

W. Baker Source: Choice

‘Loveland combines many of the virtues of the encyclopedists themselves. He is formidably well-informed, having mastered the abundant primary sources in English, French and German and the secondary sources in Italian and Spanish as well. He is precise. He is well-organised. His presentation of information is cool, concise, balanced and accurate …’

Peter Burke Source: Library and Information History

‘It would be extremely beneficial for those associated with FE or HE institutions, as it could also be read by students, early career researchers, and faculty in many departments. While the main narrative is a history of European encyclopaedias, it will also be of interest to colleagues working on business and economic history, information studies, world literature and print and visual culture.’

Rose Roberto Source: Publishing History

‘Loveland's book will be of interest to scholars of encyclopedism; of eighteenth-century culture in general; and of the relations among technology, authorship, information, and modernizing culture. The book deepens our knowledge of encyclopedias as both reflections and drivers of cultural evolution.'

Larry W. Riggs Source: NPEC Reviews

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