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Ephraim Chambers "Cyclopaedia" (1728)
Table of Trigonometry, 1728 Cyclopaedia

Cyclopaedia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (two volumes in folio) was an encyclopedia published by Ephraim Chambers in London in 1728, and reprinted in numerous editions in the eighteenth century. The Cyclopaedia was one of the first general encyclopedias to be produced in English. The 1728 subtitle gives a summary of the aims of the author:

Cyclopaedia, or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Containing the Definitions of the Terms, and Accounts of the Things Signify'd Thereby, in the Several Arts, both Liberal and Mechanical, and the Several Sciences, Human and Divine: the Figures, Kinds, Properties, Productions, Preparations, and Uses, of Things Natural and Artificial; the Rise, Progress, and State of Things Ecclesiastical, Civil, Military, and Commercial: with the Several Systems, Sects, Opinions, etc; among Philosophers, Divines, Mathematicians, Physicians, Antiquaries, Criticks, etc.: The Whole Intended as a Course of Ancient and Modern Learning.

Contents

Noteworthy features

The first edition included numerous cross-references, meant to connect articles scattered by the use of alphabetical order; a dedication to the King, George II; and an insightful, philosophical preface at the beginning of volume 1. Among other things, the preface gives an analysis of forty-seven divisions of knowledge with classed lists of the articles belonging to each, intended to serve as a table of contents and also as a directory indicating the order in which the articles should be read.

Printing history

A second edition appeared in 1738 in two volumes in folio, with 2,466 pages. This edition was supposedly retouched and amended in a thousand places, with a few added articles and some enlarged articles. Chambers was prevented from doing more because the booksellers were alarmed by a bill in Parliament containing a clause to oblige the publishers of all improved editions of books to print their improvements separately. The bill, after passing the House of Commons, was unexpectedly thrown out by the House of Lords; but fearing that it might be revived, the booksellers thought it best to retreat though more than twenty sheets had been printed.

Five other editions were published in London from 1739 to 1751–1752. An edition was also published in Dublin in 1742; this and the London editions were all 2 volumes in folio. An Italian translation appearing in Venice, 1748-1749, 4to, 9 vols., was the first complete Italian encyclopaedia. When Chambers was in France in 1739 he rejected very favorable proposals to publish an edition there dedicated to Louis XV.

Chambers' work was judiciously, honestly and carefully done, and long maintained its popularity. However, it had many defects and omissions, as he was well aware; at his death, on 15 May 1740, he had collected and arranged materials for seven new volumes. George Lewis Scott was employed by the booksellers to select such articles as were fit for the press and to supply others, but he left before the job was finished. The job was given to Dr. (afterwards called Sir John) Hill. The Supplement was published in London in 1753 in two folio volumes with 3307 pages and 12 plates. As Hill was a botanist, the botanical part, which had been very defective in the Cyclopaedia, was the best.

Abraham Rees (1743-1825), a famous Nonconformist minister, published a revised and enlarged edition in 1778–1788, with the supplement and modern improvements incorporated in one alphabet. It was published in London, as a folio of 5 vols., 5010 pages (but not paginated), and 159 plates. It was published in 418 numbers at 6d. each. Rees claimed to have added more than 4400 new articles. At the end he gave an index of articles, classed under 100 heads, numbering about 57,000 and filling 80 pages. The heads, with 39 cross references, were arranged alphabetically.

Precursors and the Encyclopédie

Among precursors of Chambers's Cyclopaedia, perhaps the most notable was John Harris's popular Lexicon Technicum, of 1704 (with later editions from 1708 through 1744). This was also by its title and content "An Universal English Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Explaining not only the Terms of Art, but the Arts Themselves." While Harris's work is often classified as an technical dictionary, it also had considerable depth of coverage, with material taken from Newton and Halley among other notables.

Chambers's Cyclopaedia in turn became the inspiration for the landmark Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert, which owed its inception to a proposed French translation of Chambers' work begun in 1743 by John Mills, assisted by Gottfried Sellius.

References

Further reading

  • Bradshaw, Lael Ely. "Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopedia." Notable Encyclopedias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Nine Predecessors of the Encyclopédie. Ed. Frank Kafker. Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation, 1981. 123-137. (ISBN 0-7294-0256-8).
  • Collison, Robert. Encyclopædias: Their History Throughout the Ages. New York: Hafner, 1966.
  • Kafker, Frank. A. Notable encyclopedias of the late eighteenth century: eleven successors of the Encyclopédie. Oxford : Voltaire Foundation at the Taylor Institution, 1994.
  • Kolb, Gwin J. and James H. Sledd. “Johnson’s ‘Dictionary’ and Lexicographical Tradition.” Modern Philology 50.3 (Feb. 1953): 171-194.
  • Mack, Ruth. “The Historicity of Johnson’s Lexicographer.” Representations 76 (Fall 2001): 61-87.
  • Shorr, Phillip. Science and Superstition in the Eighteenth Century: A Study of the Treatment of Science in Two Encyclopedias of 1725-1750. New York: Columbia, 1932.
  • Walsh, S. Patraig. "Cyclopaedia." Anglo-American General Encyclopedias: A Historical Bibliography, 1703-1967. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1968. 38-39.
  • Yeo, Richard. "The Best Book in the Universe": Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopedia. In Encyclopædic Visions: Scientific Dictionaries and Enlightenment Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001. 120-169. (ISBN 0-521-65191-3)
  • Yeo, Richard. Encyclopædic Visions: Scientific Dictionaries and Enlightenment Culture. Oxford: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Yeo, Richard R. "A Solution to the Multitude of Books: Ephraim Chambers's Cyclopaedia (1728) as "the Best Book in the Universe."" Journal of the History of Ideas, v. 64 (1), 2003. pp. 61-72. (ISSN 0022-5037 )

External links

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"Cyclopaedia" (1728)]]

, 1728 Cyclopaedia]] Cyclopaedia: or, A Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (folio, 2 vols.) was an encyclopedia published by Ephraim Chambers in London in 1728, and reprinted in numerous editions in the 18th century. The Cyclopaedia was one of the first general encyclopedias to be produced in English. The 1728 subtitle gives a summary of the aims of the author:

Cyclopaedia, or, A universal dictionary of arts and sciences: containing the definitions of the terms, and accounts of the things signify'd thereby, in the several arts, both liberal and mechanical, and the several sciences, human and divine: the figures, kinds, properties, productions, preparations, and uses, of things natural and artificial; the rise, progress, and state of things ecclesiastical, civil, military, and commercial: with the several systems, sects, opinions, etc; among philosophers, divines, mathematicians, physicians, antiquaries, criticks, etc: The whole intended as a course of ancient and modern learning.

Contents

Noteworthy features

Noteworthy features of the first edition include the use of cross-references; the dedication to the King, George II; and the compiler's "Plan of the Work," within the prefatory section, volume one. Chambers endeavoured to connect the scattered articles relating to each subject by a system of references. In his preface he gives an analysis of the 47 divisions of knowledge with classed lists of the articles belonging to each, intended to serve as table of contents and also as a directory indicating the order in which the articles should be read.

Printing history

A second edition appeared in 1738, folio 2 vols., 2,466 pages. This edition was retouched and amended in a thousand places, with a few added articles and some enlarged articles. Chambers was prevented from doing more because the booksellers were alarmed with a bill in Parliament containing a clause to oblige the publishers of all improved editions of books to print their improvements separately. The bill, after passing the House of Commons, was unexpectedly thrown out by the House of Lords; but fearing that it might be revived, the booksellers thought it best to retreat though more than twenty sheets had been printed.

Five other editions were published in London, 1739 to 1751–1752. An edition was also published in Dublin in 1742; this and the London editions were all 2 vol. folio editions. An Italian translation appearing in Venice, 1748-1749, 4to, 9 vols., was the first complete Italian encyclopaedia. When Chambers was in France in 1739 he rejected very favorable proposals to publish an edition there dedicated to Louis XV.

Chambers' work was judiciously, honestly and carefully done, and long maintained its popularity. However, it had many defects and omissions, as he was well aware; at his death, on 15 May 1740, he had collected and arranged materials for seven new volumes. John Lewis Scott was employed by the booksellers to select such articles as were fit for the press and to supply others, but he left before the job was finished. The job was given to Dr (afterwards called Sir John) Hill. The Supplement was published in London, 1753, fol. 2 vols., 3307 pages and 12 plates. As Hill was a botanist, the botanical part, which had been very defective in the Cyclopaedia, was the best.

Abraham Rees (1743-1825), a famous Nonconformist minister, published a revised and enlarged edition in 1778–1788, with the supplement and modern improvements incorporated in one alphabet. It was published in London, as a folio of 2 vols., 5010 pages (but not paginated), and 159 plates. It was published in 418 numbers at 6d. each. Rees claimed to have added more than 4400 new articles. At the end he gave an index of articles, classed under 100 heads, numbering about 57,000 and filling 80 pages. The heads, with 39 cross references, were arranged alphabetically. Template:Fact

Precursors and the Encyclopédie

Among precursors of Chambers's Cyclopaedia, perhaps the most notable was John Harris' popular Lexicon Technicum, of 1704 (and later editions of 1708 and 1715). This was also by its title and content "An Universal English Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Explaining not only the Terms of Art, but the Arts Themselves". While Harris' work is often differentially classified as an encyclopaedic dictionary, it also had considerable depth of coverage, with contributions from Newton and Halley among notables, and can also be considered nearly as much of an encyclopaedia for its time, as Chambers afterwards became in its own period, about a quarter-century later.

In turn, Chambers's Cyclopaedia became the inspiration for the landmark Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert, which owed its inception to a French translation of Chambers' work begun in 1743 and finished in 1745 by John Mills, assisted by Gottfried Sellius.

References

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Further reading

  • Bradshaw, Lael Ely. "Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopedia." Notable Encyclopedias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Nine Predecessors of the Encyclopédie. Ed. Frank Kafker. Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation, 1981. 123-137. (ISBN 0-7294-0256-8).
  • Collison, Robert. Encyclopædias: Their History Throughout the Ages. New York: Hafner, 1966.
  • Kafker, Frank. A. Notable encyclopedias of the late eighteenth century: eleven successors of the Encyclopédie. Oxford : Voltaire Foundation at the Taylor Institution, 1994.
  • Kolb, Gwin J. and James H. Sledd. “Johnson’s ‘Dictionary’ and Lexicographical Tradition.” Modern Philology 50.3 (Feb. 1953): 171-194.
  • Mack, Ruth. “The Historicity of Johnson’s Lexicographer.” Representations 76 (Fall 2001): 61-87.
  • Shorr, Phillip. Science and Superstition in the Eighteenth Century: A Study of the Treatment of Science in Two Encyclopedias of 1725-1750. New York: Columbia, 1932.
  • Walsh, S. Patraig. "Cyclopaedia." Anglo-American General Encyclopedias: A Historical Bibliography, 1703-1967. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1968. 38-39.
  • Yeo, Richard. "The Best Book in the Universe": Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopedia. In Encyclopædic Visions: Scientific Dictionaries and Enlightenment Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001. 120-169. (ISBN 0-521-65191-3)
  • Yeo, Richard. Encyclopædic Visions: Scientific Dictionaries and Enlightenment Culture. Oxford: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Yeo, Richard R. "A Solution to the Multitude of Books: Ephraim Chambers's Cyclopaedia (1728) as "the Best Book in the Universe."" Journal of the History of Ideas, v. 64 (1), 2003. pp. 61-72. (ISSN 0022-5037 )

External links


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