The Eleventh Edition is generally known by many in the literary world as being the classic edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, even 90 years after its publication! The following quotes give some insight why so many feel the EB11 is so revered and still valuable today!
These quotes are from:
All There Is To Know -- A selection from the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica; A. Coleman and C. Simmons, 1994, André Deutsch Ltd, London
The Myth of The Britannica, H. Einbinder, 1964, Grove Press, New York
The Great EB -- The Story of the Encyclopedia Britannica; H. Kogan, 1958, University of Chicago Press, Chicago
"A snapshot of Anglo-American culture at its zenith!" "The best history book of our western society!" "Read our society’s unadulterated history before revisionists gained control of the media…" "An encyclopedia you can actually enjoy reading!" "A joy for compulsive readers…" "A marvel of technology and readability of its time…" "The Eleventh represents the pinnacle of literary taste before the world turned sour…" "Later editions reflect the tendency to court public favor by accepting the claims and beliefs of various religious sects. The Eleventh Edition did not consult with religious groups in preparing its articles." "The traditions of the West have been reflected over the years in successive editions of many encyclopedias, the most famous in English being the Encyclopedia Britannica, the first edition of which was published in Edinburgh in three volumes between 1768 and 1771." "In a home where English is spoken and where there is at least some cultural ambition, an edition of the Britannica is almost surely to be found…" "…the Eleventh…retained the scholarly authority associated with the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford and Cambridge, as did all previous editions. The Eleventh, however, contained elements new in the making of a Britannica. Not only was the number of entries on United States and Canadian subjects markedly increased, but the disposition of the material was revised to give it a more popular air, a tone for the whole of the book in which journalist clarity accompanied without compromise in quality, the august scholarly tradition already established by previous editions…the Eleventh was a best-seller among encyclopedias of any age." "The fresh clarity of the articles in the Eleventh was a happy change from the forbidding monumentality of the treatises found in other encyclopedias." "The charm of the Eleventh's quirky integrity spring from a passionate, wayward celebration of life, caught in time just a few years before World War I, which began the decline of the British Empire!" "Some of the assertions were amusing, and some were shocking!" "…The eras between 1870 and 1914 was the time for the creation of what now seem to us to be hallowed traditions. This was the age of the "Invention of Tradition" - the old school ties, the reunions, the Royal Jubilees, Bastille Day, May Day, the Olympic games, the Cup Final, and the Tour de France, even the founding of the Boy Scouts - the Eleventh served this same purpose - preserving the pinnacle of the joys of our society." "This was the period of innocence, but with an eccentricity and an attractive oddity to the inner calm of the book as a whole." "The arrangement of articles tended to make the Eleventh Edition a practical reference work for layman rather than an erudite work largely for scholars and educators." "The index was a ‘model of well-ordered compactness,’ and was designed primarily to aid the general reader." "The EB was not the final compendium of knowledge but designed as a stimulant to further study…" "The idea which ran through the whole of the Eleventh Edition was that the public's interests were best served by giving the reader all the relevant information about any subject…" "The Encyclopedia Britannica was famous for both its lofty intellectual nature and its utilitarian side. It gave detailed instructions and advice on how to make liquid glue, how to tie knots, how to make gold lacquer, how to fashion snowshoes, how to perform sleight-of-hand tricks, how to collect butterflies, how to construct cheap farm bridges, how to make putty, how to build an icehouse, how to shoe a horse, how to devise flies for trout fishing." "The EB contains the wonderful story of the 19th century is told by the men who made its greatness; the history of modern progress in the arts, sciences and industries has the glow that only a soldier can give to the tale of a campaign; for the men who fought against ignorance, and brought enlightenment to their generation, themselves tell how the light was spread." "To own a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica is to acknowledge one's self as recognizing the best there is in literature." "The Encyclopedia Britannica was an educational heritage that needed to be brought within the reach of every person able to read English. It was designed to be a ‘thorough library of knowledge.’" "Britannica's unbroken continuity, its famous contributors and commercial success established it as the leading general reference work in the English language." "The early role of the encyclopedia was as a vehicle of scientific communication." "The Encyclopedia Britannica allowed the entire domain of knowledge to be covered far more thoroughly than had ever before been possible." "The most obvious point to be made about the Eleventh is the simpliest and the most impressive - the Eleventh was not published sequentially in successive volumes. The whole enterprise remained in a state of adjustable galley proof, constantly subject to revision until the very last moment, late summer 1910. The first fourteen volumes were put on sale en bloc in the autumn of 1910; the second set of the remaining fourteen volumes in early 1911. This was a "first" in the history of multi-volume reference publications…since all others were published in successive volumes over the years, a fatal defect." "The execution of the Eleventh edition could proceed in all of its parts…the various articles being kept open for revision or re-writing, so as to represent the collective knowledge and the contemporary standpoint of the date at which the whole was issued…" "What was the average student's verdict after a year's use of the EB? "Most readers will, I believe, say it is one of satisfaction. It reaches a high standard of accurate and full statement on important matters, and rarely fails to give some information even on an obscure or little-known subject. It is, when all deductions have been made, the most useful of all books of reference, and represents the combination of learning, research, co-operation and organization in a higher degree than perhaps any other of the monumental works of literature and science. It is the high-tide mark of human knowledge. And it is knowledge brought to the service of all."
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