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LSEWHERE in these volumes, under the heading of ENCYCLOPEDIA (vol. ix. pl. 369), an account is given in detail of the particular form of literature towhich that name applies. It is no longer necessary, as was done in some of the earlier editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica, to defend in
a Preface the main principle of the system by which subjects are divided for treatment on a dictionary plan under the headings most directly suggesting explanation or discussion. The convenience of an arrangement of material based on a single alphabetization of subject words and proper names has established itself in the common sense of mankind, and in recent years has led to the multiplication of analogous works of reference. There are, however, certain points in the execution of the Eleventh Edition to which, in a preliminary survey, attention may profitably be drawn.
General idea of the book.
It is important to deal first with the relationship of the Eleventh Edition to its predecessors. ~_ 11. addition to providing a digest of general information, such as is required in a reference-book pure and simple, the object of the Ericyclopcedia Britannica has always been to give reasoned dis- cussions on all the great questions of practical or speculative interest, presenting the results of accumulated knowledge and original inquiry in the form of articles which are themselves authoritative contributions to the literature of their subjects, adapted for the purpose of systematic reading and study. In this way its successive editions have been among the actual sources through [which progressive improvements have been attained in the exposition of many important branches of learning. The Ninth Edition in particular, to which the Eleventh is the lineal successor~for the name of the Tenth was used only to indicate the incorporation of supplementary volumes which left the main fabric untouched was universally recognized as giving the most scholarly contemporary expression to this constructive ideal. The reputation thus gained by the EncycloPadia Britannica as a comprehensive embodiment of accurate scholarship—'the word being used here for authoritative exposition in all departments ofknowledge—carries with it a responsibility which can only be fulfilled by periodical revision in .the light of later research. Yet in any complete new edition, and certainly in that which is here presented, due acknowledgment must be made to the impulse given by those who kept the sacred fire burning in earlier days. In this respect, if a special debt is owing to the editors of the Ninth Edition, and particularly to the great services of Robertson Smith, it must not be forgotten that long before their time the Encyclopedia Britannica had enlisted among its contributors many eminent writers, whose articles, substantially carried forward at each revision, became closely associated with the name and tradition of the work.1 To
Debt to earlier editions.
Their special value.
' In earlier days the reverence due to deceased authority was perhaps carried to extreme lengths. The following footnote, attached in the Eighth Edition to Sir Walter Scott’s article DRAMA, may be citedz—“It is proper to state here . . . that this article is reprinted as it originally appeared in the supplement to the fourth, fifth and sixth editions of this work without any of those adaptations which the course of time and change
preserve the continuity of its historic associations, so far as might be consistent with the public interest, and with what was due to progress in knowledge, was one of the first duties of those responsible for a new edition; and just as the Ninth Edition carried forward, with notable additions or substitutions, work contributed to the Eighth and earlier editions, so it provided matter for utilization in the Eleventh, which in its turn had to accommodate the new knowledge of a later generation.
In considering the treatment, however, of the mass of material thus handed down, the editor of the Eleventh Edition had an entirely new situation to deal with. It is necessary here to explain why it is that the Eleventh Edition is much more than a revision—is, indeed, a new edifice as compared with the structure of the Ninth Edition. In the whole architecture of the latter there was a serious flaw, due to no want of ability in editors or contributors, but to the conditions imposed upon them in the system of publication.
The economic and mechanical obstacles to the production of a great encyclopmdia otherwise than in a series of volumes separately .issued at intervals during a number of years were formerly considered prohibitive. Thus the Ninth Edition, the first volume of which was published in 187 5 and the twenty-fifth in 1889, was incomplete for some sixteen years after its real inception. Not only does such a long interval between the start and the finish involve the possibility of a change in editorial direction and conception such as happened in 1881 when Spencer Baynes was compelled by ill-health to hand over the reins to Robertson Smith; but even if the same editorial policy remained to dominate the work. the continual progress of time was constantly changing the conditions under which it was exercised. With such a system of publication an encyclopaedia can have no proper unity of conception or uniformity of treatment. It cannot be planned from the beginning so as to present at its completion a satisfactory synoptic view of any department of knowledge. The historical record is restricted by the accident of the dates at which the separate Volumes are published, in such a way that the facts included in one volume may contradict those in another. Individual volumes, the contents of which are arbitrarily determined by the alphabetical order of headings, may indeed be abreast of the learning and accomplishments of their day, but each time a later volume appears the circumstances have altered, and there is every chance that some integral portion of \ what had previously been published may be stultified. Those who were responsible for the execution of the Ninth Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica did their best under an impossible system. They made it a collection of detached monographs of the highest authority and value. In their day the demand of a modern public for “up-to-date-ness” had not come int0~ existence, and it seemed perfectly reasonable in r879 to bring the article on the history of England no further than the accession of Queen Victoria. But it was not their failure to appreciate the importance of dealing with the latest events in history that made so much of the Ninth Edition useless in preparing its successor. When only this was in question, later history could be added. It was the fact that, owing to its system of publication, its arrangement was not encyclopaedic, and that in preparing an edition which for the first time had the advantage of being systematic in the distribution of its material, there was no way of adapting to its needs what had been written originally on a faulty principle. .
Until the year 1902, when, within nine months, nine supplementary volumes of text were issued by The Times, no publisher had cared or dared to attempt to produce at one time the whole of any work of similar magnitude. It was the regular practice to issue volume by volume. On this system the public has been furnished with the Oxford New English Dictionary (still incomplete in 1910, though work had begun in the early ’sixties and the first volume appeared in 1888) and with the Dictionary of National Biography, while the French La Grande Encyclojbédie, which took even longer than the Ninth Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica to complete, was coming out in its thirty-one volumes between 1885 and 1902. But the proof obtained in 1902 of the practicability of simultaneous production in the case of the supplementary volumes which
A new departure.
The old system of production.
Defect of division under different dates.
Novelty of the method now employed.
of circumstances render necessary in ordinary cases. We have deemed this homage due to the genius and fame of the illustrious author, whose splendid view of the origin and progress of the dramatic art we have accordingly presented to the reader exactly as it proceeded from his own hand, leaving every contemporaneous allusion and illustration untouched.” It may be remarked that this footnote, which was reprinted from the Seventh Edition, was itself carried forward without being brought up to date, apparently in the same spirit; and in another footnote, also reprinted from the Seventh Edition, a reference is made to allusions “on p. 147," which were indeed on p. 147 of the Seventh Edition, but are on p. 137 of the Eighth]
converted the Ninth into the Tenth Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, made it imperative to extend this limited experiment to the making of an entirely new edition. By this means a new value might be given to a work which aimed not merely at providing a storehouse of facts, but expounding all knowledge as part of an ordered system. For the problem here was bound up with the question of the date of publication to a unique degree. In some other sorts of book the fact that successive volumes appear at certain intervals of time only aflects the convenience of the purchaser—as, for instance, in the case of the Cambridge Modern History; the various volumes do not cover the same field or touch the same materials. But in an encyclopwdia it is only the alphabetization of the headings which causes them to fall in distinct volumes, and the accident of position separates the treatment of the same or closely related subjects in such a way that, if they are discussed from the point of view of widely different dates, the organic unity of the work is entirely lost. Thanks to the enterprising provision of capital, and the co-operation of a far-sighted business management, it was possible to start
the preparation of the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica with the 5:33:31:knowledge that it would be published as a whole at one date. The separate volumes, suchawork.
whatever their number, would no longer represent so many lapses of time and so many
distinct units in executive conception, but merely mechanical divisions for convenience in handling. And arrangements were made so that the printing of the whole edition should eventually take hardly more time than had been required for the printing and correcting of a single volume under the old system.
The opportunity thus provided was in many ways more appropriate to the making of an entirely new work than to the revision of an old one. For the Ninth Edition was wanting in precisely that character of interdependence in all its parts which could now be given
. . . Mere revision to the various related artlcles. Moreover, experience had shown that, as compared no long," with other encyclopmdias of less ambitious scope, not intended for systematic study possible. or continuous reading, its arrangement as a work of reference had defects which resulted in some injustice being done to its merits as a series of individual contributions to learning. There was no reason why both these purposes should not be served, and attention be paid to distributing the material under the much larger number of headings which are required for rapid and easy reference, when once it was possible to ignore the particular order in which the subjects were treated. Since none of the work was printed or published until the whole of it was ready, new headings could always be introduced with their appropriate matter, according as the examination of what was written under another heading revealed omissions which showed that some related subject required explanation on its own account, or according as the progress of time up to the year of publication involved the emergence of new issues, to which previously no separate reference would have been expected. The execution of the Eleventh Edition, planned on uniform lines as a single organism, and thus admitting of continual improvement in detail, irrespectively of the distribution of matter under this or that letter of the alphabet, could proceed in all its parts pari passu, the various articles being kept open for revision or rewriting, so as to represent the collective knowledge and the contemporary standpoint of the date at which the whole was issued.
This new design involved the maintenance, during all the years of preparation, of an active collaboration among a vast body of contributors. The formal structure of the Ninth Edition necessarily disappeared, leaving only its component parts as building material for incorporation in the
. . . . . . . . . . A new survey new edifice to such degree as examination might prove its adaptability. The Site—1n this of the field 0’ case the whole field of knowledge—was mapped out afresh under the advice of special- knowleam ist departmental advisers, who, in providing for the occupation of the diflerent areas, co-operated with a central editorial staff, comprising many members, each of whom was responsible to the Editor-in-Chief for a particular section of the work. In this manner what, it is hoped, is a more complete articulation of subjects was efiected, while co-operation between the contributors who dealt with each homogeneous department of knowledge was combined with the concentration in editorial direction, which alone could make the Eleventh Edition of the Encydopcuiia Britannica an organic unit. The result of the new survey was a distribution of material under a far larger number of headings than had been included in the Ninth Edition—some 40,000 instead of some 17,000; and the method of simultaneous construction enabled the co-ordination which is of such peculiar importance in a work of reference to be applied systematically by the editorial staff. The authority which attaches to the names of individual contributors remains, as before, an important feature of the Eleventh Edition, but by these means, it is hoped, the authority which attaches to the Encyclopedia Britannica itself is more firmly established. When Robertson Smith finally wrote his preface to the Index volume of the Ninth Edition, he said :—“The use of initials (as signatures to articles) was not designed to lighten the responsibility of the editors. No editor can possess the knowledge which would enable him to control the work of his contributors in all the subjects treated 5::521iZZ-cesof in the Encyclopedia, but no effort has been spared on the part of the editorial stafi to ‘ secure the accuracy and sufliciency of every contribution, and to prevent those repetitions and inconcinnities which necessarily occur where each contributor is absolutely and solely responsible for the “articles which bear his name.” The principle here enunciated, which represents the tradition of the Encyclopedia Britannica in the matter of the correct relationship between editors and contributors, and 'the responsibility attaching to individual signatures, has been adopted. in the Eleventh Edition, but with all the advantages resulting alike from simultaneous production and from'the- factthat the Editor-in-Chief was assisted by a‘much larger staff, working under conditions which enabled, the editorial control to be eflective to a degree unattainable under the earlier system. In concert with the numerous eminent writers whose signatures give individual interest and-weight to their contributions, the whole work—and not only the unsigned articles, many of which indeed have equally high authority behind them—passed through the detailed scrutiny of the editorial staff, whose duty it was to see that it provided what those who used any part of the book could reasonably expect to find, to remedy those “inconcinnities” to which Robertson Smith alluded, and to secure the accuracy in the use of names, the inclusion of dates, and similar minutiae, which is essential in a work of reference.
A great deal of the older fabric was obviously incompatible with the new scheme of treatment; but, where-possible, those earlier contributions have been preserved which are of the nature of classics in the world of letters. By a selective process which, it is believed, gives new value to the old material—by the revision, at the hands of their own authors or of later authorities, of such articles or portions of articles as were found to fit accurately into their several places ——or by the inclusion under other headings of a consideration of controverted questions on which the writers may have taken a strong personal view, itself of historical interest—their retention has been effected so as to conform to the ideal of making the work as a whole representative of the best thought of a later
Method [and results.
Increased value for reference.
Use of older material.
Questions of Formal Arrangement.
Both in the addition of new Words for new subjects, and in the employment of different words for old subjects, the progress of the world demands a reconsideration from time to time of the headings under which its accumulated experiences can best be presented in a work which employs the dictionary plan as a key to its contents. No little trouble was therefore expended, in planning the'Eleventh Edition, on the attempt to suit the word to the subject in the way most likely to be, generally useful for reference. While the selection has at times been, of necessity, somewhat arbitrary, it has been guided from first to last by an endeavour to follow the natural mental processes of the average educated reader. But it was impossible to interpret what
is “natural” in this connexion without consideration for the advances which have
SZSrZZZ'Zfzn been made in terminological accuracy, alike in the technicalities of science and sense_ in the forms of language adopted by precise writers, whose usage has become or
is rapidly becoming part of the common stock. The practice of modern schools and the vocabulary of a modern curriculum, as well as the predominating example of expert authorities, impose themselves gradually on the public mind, and constitute new conventions which are widely assimilated. In forecasting what would be for the convenience of a new generation of readers, it has seemed best to aim at adopting the nearest approach to correct modern terminology, while avoiding mere pedantry on the one hand, and on the other a useless abandonment of wellestablished English custom.
It is easier, however, to lay down principles than to carry them out consistently in face of the obstinacy of the materials with which one is dealing in an encyclopzedia which attempts to combine accurate scholarship with general utility and convenience. In the case of biographical articles, for instance, it was decided that the proper headings were the names by which the individuals concerned are in fact commonly known. Thus “George Sand” is now dealt with under her pen-name (SAND, GEORGE) and not under that of Madame Dudevant; “George Eliot” is no longer hidden away under her married name of Mrs Cross; and “Mark Twain” is taken as the permanent name by which the world will know Mr Clemens. But it is not only in the case of pseudonyms that there is a difficulty in deciding upon the heading which is most appropriate. In variance with the practice of the Dictionary of National Biography, all articles on titled persons are herefSZSZZ'inames arranged under the title headings and not the family names. In principle it is believed ' that this is much the more convenient system, for in most cases the public (especially outside the British Islands) does not know what the family name of an English peer may be. Moreover, the system adopted by the Dictionary of National Biography sacrifices a very important feature in connexion with these biographical articles, namely, the history of the title itself, which has often passed through several families and can only be conveniently followed when all the holders are kept together. As a rule, this system of putting peers under the headings of their titles agrees with the principle of adopting the names by which people actually are called; but sometimes it is too glaringly otherwise. Nobody would think of looking for Francis Bacon under the heading of Viscount St Albans, or for Horace Walpole under that of Earl of Orford. In such cases what is believed to be the natural expectation of readers has been consulted. The exceptional use, however, of the family name as a heading for persons of title has been reserved strictly for what may be regarded as settled conventions, and where reasonably possible the rule has been followed; thus Harley and St John are dealt with as Earl of Oxford and Viscount Bolingbroke respectively. On the other hand, when a celebrity is commonly known, not under his family name but under a title which'eventually was changed for a difierent one of higher rank, the more convenient arrangement has seemed to be—notwithstanding general usage—to associate the article with the higher title, and so to bring it into connexion with the historical peerage. Thus the account of the statesman commonly called by his earlier title of Earl of Danby is deliberately placed under his later title of Duke of Leeds, and that of Lord Castlereagh under Marquess of Londonderry. If the result of such exceptions to the rule might seem to be that in certain cases a reader would not know where to turn, the answer is that a reference to the Index, where crossreferences are given, will decide. In the text of the work, although a great deal has been done to refer a reader from one article to another, mere cross-references—such as “Danby, Earl of; see LEEDS, DUKE 0F”—~are not included as distinct entries; it was found that the number of such headings would be very large, and they would only have duplicated the proper function of the Index, which now acts in this respect as the real guide to the contents and should be regarded as an integral part of the work.
The reference just made to the Dictionary of National Biography may here be supplemented by a few words as to the British biographies in the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The whole standard of biographical writing of this kind has undoubtedly been raised by the labours of Sir Leslie Stephen, Dr Sidney Lee, and their collaborators, in the compilation of that invaluable work; and no subsequent publication could fail to profit, both by the scholarly example there set,
. . . . . . . Progress In and by the results of the original research embodied in it. But in the corresponding treatment of articles in the Encyclopedia Britannica advantage has been taken of the opportunity for biography further research and the incorporation of later information, and they represent an independent study, the details of which sometimes differ from what is given in the Dictionary, but must not for that reason be thought in haste to be incorrect. Allowance being made for a. somewhat different
Use of the