The Encyclopædia Britannica 11th Edition (1910–1911) is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time. This edition of the encyclopedia is now in the public domain, but the outdated nature of some of its content makes its use as a source for modern scholarship problematic. Some articles have special value and interest to modern scholars as cultural artifacts of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Background[edit | edit source]
The 11th edition was assembled with the management of American publisher Horace Everett Hooper. Hugh Chisholm, who had edited the previous edition, was appointed editor in chief, with Walter Alison Phillips as his principal assistant editor.
Originally, Hooper bought the rights to the 25-volume 9th edition and persuaded the British newspaper The Times to issue its reprint, with 11 additional volumes (35 volumes total) as the 10th edition, which was published during 1902. Hooper's association with The Times ceased during 1909, and he negotiated with the Cambridge University Press to publish the 29-volume 11th edition.
Though it is generally perceived as a quintessentially British work, the 11th edition had substantial American influences, not only in the increased amount of American and Canadian content, but also in the efforts made to make it more popular.(Citation needed) American marketing methods also assisted sales. Some 11% of the contributors were American, and a New York office was established to manage that part of the enterprise.(Citation needed)
The initials of the encyclopedia's contributors appear at the end of selected articles (at the end of a section in the case of some longer articles, such as that on China) and a key is given in each volume to these initials.
Some articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time, such as Edmund Gosse, J.B. Bury, Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Muir, Peter Kropotkin, T.H. Huxley and William Michael Rossetti. Among the then lesser-known contributors were some who would later become distinguished, such as Ernest Rutherford and Bertrand Russell. Many articles were carried over from the 9th edition, some with minimal updating, some of the book-length articles divided into smaller parts for easier reference, yet others much abridged. The best-known authors generally contributed only a single article or part of an article. Most of the work was done by journalists, British Museum scholars and other scholars.
The 1911 edition for the first time included a number of female contributors, with 34 women contributing articles to the edition.
The 11th edition introduced a number of changes of the format of the Britannica. It was the first to be published complete, instead of the previous method of volumes being released as they were ready. The print type was kept in galley proofs and subject to continual updating until publication. It was the first edition of Britannica to be issued with a comprehensive index volume in which was added a categorical index, where like topics were listed. It was the first not to include long treatise-length articles. Even though the overall length of the work was about the same as that of its predecessor, the number of articles had increased from 17,000 to 40,000. It was also the first edition of Britannica to include biographies of living people.
According to Coleman and Simmons, p 32 the content of the encyclopedia was comprised as follows:
|Pure and applied science||17%|
Hooper sold the rights to Sears Roebuck of Chicago during 1920, completing the encyclopedia's transition to becoming a substantially American publication.(Citation needed)
During 1922, an additional 3 volumes (also edited by Hugh Chisholm), were published, covering the events of the intervening years, including World War I. These, together with a reprint of the 11th edition, formed the 12th edition of the work. A similar 13th edition, consisting of 3 volumes plus a reprint of the 12th edition, was published during 1926, so the 12th and thirteenth editions were of course closely related to the 11th edition and shared much of the same content. However, it became increasingly apparent that a more thorough update of the work was required.
The 14th edition, published during 1929, was considerably revised, with much text eliminated or abridged to make room for new topics. Nevertheless, the 11th edition was the basis of every later version of the Encyclopædia Britannica until the completely new 15th edition was published during 1974, using modern information presentation.
The 11th edition's articles are still of value and interest to modern readers and scholars, especially as a cultural artifact: the British Empire was at its maximum, imperialism was largely unchallenged, much of the world was still ruled bymonarchs, and the tragedies of World War I and II were still in the future. They are an invaluable resource for topics omitted from modern encyclopedias, particularly for biography and the history of science and technology.
As a literary text, the encyclopedia has value as an example of early 20th-century prose. For example, it employs literary devices, such as pathetic fallacy (attribution of human-like traits to impersonal forces or inanimate objects), which are not as common in modern reference texts.
Evaluations[edit | edit source]
During 1917, using his pseudonym of S.S. Van Dine, the US art critic and author Willard Huntington Wright published Misinforming a Nation, a 200+ page criticism of inaccuracies and biases of the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition. Wright claimed that Britannica was "characterized by misstatement, inexcusable omissions, rabid and patriotic prejudices, personal animosities, blatant errors of fact, scholastic ignorance, gross neglect of non-British culture, an astounding egotism, and an undisguised contempt for American progress."
Amos Urban Shirk, who read both the entire 11th and 14th editions during the 1930s, said he found the 14th edition to be a "big improvement" over the eleventh, stating that "most of the material had been completely rewritten".
Robert Collison, in Encyclopaedias: Their History Throughout The Ages (1966), wrote of the 11th edition that it "was probably the finest edition of the Britannica ever issued, and it ranks with the Enciclopedia Italiana and the 'Espasa [Enciclopedia universal ilustrada europeo-americana] as one of the three greatest encyclopaedias. It was the last edition to be produced almost in its entirety in Britain, and its position in time as a summary of the world's knowledge just before the outbreak of World War I is particularly valuable."
Sir Kenneth Clark, in Another Part of the Wood (1974), wrote of the 11th edition: "One leaps from one subject to another, fascinated as much by the play of mind and the idiosyncrasies of their authors as by the facts and dates. It must be the last encyclopaedia in the tradition of Diderot which assumes that information can be made memorable only when it is slightly coloured by prejudice. When T.S. Eliot wrote 'Soul curled up on the window seat reading the Encyclopædia Britannica,' he was certainly thinking of the eleventh edition." (Clark refers to Eliot's 1929 poem "Animula".)
1911 Britannica in the 21st century[edit | edit source]
The 1911 edition is no longer restricted by copyright, and it is available in several more modern forms. While it may have been a reliable description of the consensus of its time, for some modern readers, the Encyclopedia has several major errors, ethnocentric remarks, and other issues:
- Contemporary opinions of race and ethnicity are included in the Encyclopedia's articles. For example, the entry for "Negro" states, "Mentally the negro is inferior to the white... the arrest or even deterioration of mental development [after adolescence] is no doubt very largely due to the fact that after puberty sexual matters take the first place in the negro's life and thoughts." The article about the American War of Independence attributes the success of the United States in part to "a population mainly of good English blood and instincts".
- Many articles are now outdated factually, in particular those concerning science, technology, international and municipal law, and medicine. For example, the article on the vitamin deficiency disease beriberi speculates that it is caused by a fungus, vitamins not having been discovered at the time. Articles about geographic places mention rail connections and ferry stops in towns that no longer employ such transport presently.
- Even where the facts might still be accurate, new information, theories and perspectives developed since 1911 have substantially changed the way the same facts might be interpreted. For example, the modern interpretation of the history of the Visigoths is very different from that represented by the 11th edition which used the now out-of-favor Great man theory,(Citation needed) such that there are not any entries for Visigoth or Goth; rather the history of the tribe is found under the entry for Alaric I.
The 11th edition of Encyclopædia Britannica has become a commonly quoted source, both because of the reputation of the Britannica and because it is now in the public domain and has been made available on the Internet. It has been used as a source by many modern projects including Wikipedia and the Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia.
Gutenberg Encyclopedia[edit | edit source]
The Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia is the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, renamed to address Britannica's trademark concerns. Project Gutenberg's offerings are summarized below in the External links section and include text and graphics. Distributed Proofreaders are currently working on producing a complete electronic edition of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.
References[edit | edit source]
- S. Padraig Walsh, Anglo-American general encyclopedias: a historical bibliography, 1968, 49.
- Gillian Thomas (1992). A Position to Command Respect: Women and the Eleventh Britannica New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0810825678.
- *All There is to Know (1994), edited by Alexander Coleman and Charles Simmons. Subtitled: "Readings from the Illustrious Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica". ISBN 067176747X
- Misinforming a Nation. 1917. Template:Ws
- Woodall, James (1996). Borges: A Life. New York: BasicBooks. p. 76. ISBN 0465043615.
- Willcox, Walter Francis (1911). "Negro". Encyclopædia Britannica. Volume. XIX (11th ed.). New York: Encyclopædia Britannica. pp. 344. http://web.archive.org/web/20050513180938/http://77.1911encyclopedia.org/N/NE/NEGRO.htm. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
- Hannay, David (1911). "American War of Independence". Encyclopædia Britannica. Volume. I (11th ed.). New York: Encyclopædia Britannica. pp. 845. http://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=User:Tim_Starling/ScanSet_TIFF_demo&vol=01&page=EB1A895. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
[edit | edit source]
Public domain texts[edit | edit source]
- 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica at Wikisource
- Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th ed. 1911, separate volumes in several formats, on the Internet Archive:
|Internet Archive – Text Archives|
|Volume 1||DjVu 1||A||Androphagi|
|Volume 2||DjVu 2||Andros, Sir Edmund||Austria|
|Volume 3||DjVu 3||Austria, Lower||Bisectrix|
|Volume 4||DjVu 4||Bisharin||Calgary|
|Volume 5||DjVu 5||Calhoun, John Caldwell||Chatelaine|
|Volume 6||DjVu 6||Châtelet||Constantine|
|Volume 7||DjVu 7||Constantine Pavlovich||Demidov|
|Volume 8||DjVu 8||Demijohn||Edward the Black Prince|
|Volume 9||DjVu 9||Edwardes, Sir Herbert Benjamin||Evangelical Association|
|Volume 10||DjVu 10||Evangelical Church Conference||Francis Joseph I|
|Volume 11||DjVu 11||Franciscans||Gibson, William Hamilton|
|Volume 12||DjVu 12||Gichtel, Johann Georg||Harmonium|
|Volume 13||DjVu 13||Harmony||Hurstmonceaux|
|Volume 14||DjVu 14||Husband||Italic|
|Volume 15||DjVu 15||Italy||Kyshtym|
|Volume 16||DjVu 16||L||Lord Advocate|
|Volume 17||DjVu 17||Lord Chamberlain||Mecklenburg|
|Volume 18||DjVu 18||Medal||Mumps|
|Volume 19||DjVu 19||Mun, Adrien Albert Marie de||Oddfellows, Order of|
|Volume 20||DjVu 20||Ode||Payment of members|
|Volume 21||DjVu 21||Payn, James||Polka|
|Volume 22||DjVu 22||Poll||Reeves, John Sims|
|Volume 23||DjVu 23||Refectory||Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin|
|Volume 24||DjVu 24||Sainte-Claire Deville, Étienne Henri||Shuttle|
|Volume 25||DjVu 25||Shuválov, Peter Andreivich||Subliminal self|
|Volume 26||DjVu 26||Submarine mines||Tom-Tom|
|Volume 27||DjVu 27||Tonalite||Vesuvius|
|Volume 28||DjVu 28||Vetch||Zymotic diseases|
|Volume 29||DjVu 29||Index||List of contributors|
|Volume 1 of 1922 supp||Abbe||English History|
|Volume 2 of 1922 supp||English History||Oyama, Iwao|
|Volume 3 of 1922 supp||Pacific Ocean Islands||Zuloaga|
|Reader's Guide - 1913|
- Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia:
|Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia|
As of 24 2011[update]
|Volume 2.1:||Andros, Sir Edmund||–||Anise|
|Volume 2.4:||Aram, Eugene||–||Arcueil|
|Volume 2.5:||Arculf||–||Armour, Philip|
|Volume 2.6:||Armour Plates||–||Arundel, Earls of|
|Volume 2.7:||Arundel, Thomas||–||Athens|
|Volume 3.1:||Austria, Lower||–||Bacon|
|Volume 3.5:||Bedlam||–||Benson, George|
|Volume 3.6:||Bent, James||–||Bibirine|
|Volume 4.2:||Bohemia||–||Borgia, Francis|
|Volume 4.3:||Borgia, Lucrezia||–||Bradford, John|
|Volume 4.4:||Bradford, William||–||Brequigny, Louis|
|Volume 5.2:||Camorra||–||Cape Colony|
|Volume 5.4:||Carnegie, Andrew||–||Casus Belli|
|Volume 5.6:||Celtes, Konrad||–||Ceramics|
|Volume 5.7:||Cerargyrite||–||Charing Cross|
|Volume 6.2:||Chicago, University of||–||Chiton|
|Volume 6.6:||Cockaigne||–||Columbus, Christopher|
|Volume 6.8:||Conduction, Electric||–|
|Volume 7.2:||Constantine Pavlovich||–||Convention|
|Volume 9.4:||England||–||English Finance|
|Volume 9.5:||English History||–|
|Volume 9.6:||English Language||–||Epsom Salts|
|Volume 9.8:||Ethiopia||–||Evangelical Association|
|Volume 10.1:||Evangelical Church Conference||–||Fairbairn, Sir William|
|Volume 10.2:||Fairbanks, Erastus||–||Fens|
|Volume 10.3:||Fenton, Edward||–||Finistère|
|Volume 10.4:||Finland||–||Fleury, Andre|
|Volume 10.5:||Fleury, Claude||–||Foraker|
|Volume 10.6:||Foraminifera||–||Fox, Edward|
|Volume 10.7:||Fox, George||–||France|
|Volume 10.8:||France||–||Francis Joseph I.|
|Volume 11.1:||Franciscians||–||French Language|
|Volume 11.2:||French Literature||–||Frost, William|
|Volume 11.4:||G||–||Gaskell, Elizabeth|
|Volume 11.5:||Gassendi, Pierre||–||Geocentric|
|Volume 11.8:||Germany||–||Gibson, William|
About[edit | edit source]
- Eleventh edition and its supplements at Encyclopædia Britannica
- "The magic of Encyclopedia Britannica's 11th edition" at The Guardian
- Misinforming a Nation at Wikisource