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1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica

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The Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopędia Britannica (1911) is known as the "scholar's edition" and represents in many ways the sum of knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century.

It is truly a scholar's edition. Many articles were written by the best-known scholars of the age, such as Edmund Gosse, Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Muir, Prince Peter Kropotkin, and William Michael Rossetti[?], as well as many other names now less known. Many of these articles are still of value and interest to modern readers and scholars.

The Eleventh Edition was a major reorganization and rewriting of the Encyclopędia Britannica, which was first published in three volumes in 1768. The Eleventh Edition formed the basis for every edition of the Encyclopędia Britannica up until 1974, when the completely new Fifteenth Edition based on modern principles of information presentation was published.

Sir Kenneth Clark, in Another Part of the Wood, wrote of the Eleventh Edition:

"One leaps from one subject to another, fascinated as much by the play of mind and the indiosyncrasies of their authors as by the facts and dates. It must be the last encyclopeaedia 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 Encyclopędia Britannica he was certainly thinking of the eleventh edition."

The 1911 edition is no longer restricted by copyright, and it is available in several more modern forms. The Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia volume 1 is actually 1911 EB volume 1, renamed to address Britannica's trademark concerns. However, Project Gutenberg currently only holds an electronic version of Volume 1.

Distributed Proofreaders is currently working on producing a complete electronic edition of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, which will be donated to Project Gutenberg when finished.

See also:


  • All There is to Know (1994), edited by Alexander Coleman and Charles Simmons. Subtitled: "Readings from the Illustrious Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopędia Britannica". ISBN 0-671-76747-X

External links The 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica is now in the public domain. Versions can be found at:

  • 1911encyclopedia.org (http://1911encyclopedia.org) World Wide Web edition. There are many scanning errors and no illustrations in this edition.
  • ClassicEB.com (http://classiceb.com/) for a CD-ROM version. This edition has all the illustrations, including thousands of steel engravings and line drawings. These pages also present a great deal of information about the Eleventh and other editions of the Encyclopędia Britannica.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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