Published by Cambridge University Press, 1910
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CONDITION: 4tos. Green cloth. Faded gilt lettering. Volumes show minor edge-and corner- wear. Pages are of fine, thin India paper, and as is typical when our forbears dove to this authoritative set of tomes to prove a point, we see a crease or wrinkle to one or more of the first few pages of several volumes. First volume waved and ridge rather like a topographical map to the mountainous land of Beautiful Knowledge (or reached by navigating the swamps of beautiful bullwhacky) but seems NOT direct-moisture-caused. Several but not many subsequent volumes show slight ripple, as often seen in books printed on super-thin India paper, but the first volume, those foothills are the way infor those courageous enough to put down the phone. A clean, affordable working set, is all. The Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica represented "in an entirely new and original form a fresh survey of the whole field of human thought and achievement, written by some 1500 eminent specialists drawn from nearly every country of the civilized world, incorporating the results of research and the progress of events up to the middle of 1910." Essentially this work must be thought of as something akin to the Google of today -- massively comprehensive collaboration of the cream of science, art, literature and general information as could be gathered and synthesized century past but that of a century past, with none of the conjecture, hot air, specious claims, conflation of fact with myth, selective target marketing, etc. These volumes represent the first year the entire encyclopedia was issued as a whole ("so as to give an organic unity to the whole work.") and the last year, before the set began, some say, to be gradually "dumbed-down", reduced to its latter-century status as a lower common-denominator, an agglomeration of commonly useful information, widely acknowledged by serious researchers to have de-volved to a shadow of its former self in terms of comprehensiveness, depth, excellence of and commitment to the highest-quality scholarship, source and material. From 1911 onward we see the steady decline of this once-magnificent work of universal reference to the status of obligatory gift for our 12-year olds, that they may bail themselves out of actual thinking. This situation was not so much the result of conscious publisher decision (although there were indeed cost-cutting measures on the table), as it was the availability of world-class scholars."Later editions reflect the tendency to court public favor by accepting the claims and beliefs of various religious sects. This edition did not consult with religious groups in preparing its articles. 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. It is perhaps the most useful of all books of reference, and represents the combination of learning, research, co-operation and organization in a higher degree than any other of the monumental works of literature and science."After the editors issued the Twelfth Edition (which differed from the Eleventh Edition by the addition of two volumes and an index) they wrote: "neither the minds nor the wills that are required for such an undertaking are any longer obtainable in any corresponding degree, nor probably can they be again for years to come. A shifting of interest has taken place among writers of the academic type, so that there is a disinclination to make the exertion needed for entering anew into their old subjects -- a necessary condition for just that stimulating, vital presentation of old issues in the light of all the accumulated knowledge about them, which was so valuable a feature of the Eleventh Edition.". Bookseller Inventory #

Bibliographic Details

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: 1910
Book Condition: Good Plus
Edition: Eleventh Edition.

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