The Corner

Brittanica Farewell

Our slideshow on the passing of the Encyclopedia Brittanica into the realm of fleeting pixels ignored one of its great achievements — the 11th edition (29 vols., 1910–11). I wore out one set through over-use, which I gave to the library at NR; a set in better condition sits by my desk at home as I write. Its ethnographic judgments would probably get the publishers arrested today, e.g. this, from the article on Afghanistan:

The first impression made by the Afghan is favorable. The European, especially if he come from India, is charmed by their apparently frank, open-hearted, hospitable and manly manners; but the charm is not of long duration, and he finds that the Afghan is as cruel and crafty as he is independent.

NB: I find that Wikipedia tends to plagiarize the 11th on older subjects (it is out of copyright). The whole edition is available online, organized by subject, not alphabetically.


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