4 vols., 2866 pages, is not a dictionary but a series of systematic treatises. Assemblée Nationale was to be in three parts,—(1) the history of the Revolution, (2) debates, and (3) laws and decrees. Only vol. ii., debates, appeared, 1792, 804 pages, Absens to Aurillac. Ten volumes of a Spanish translation with a vol. of plates were published at Madrid to 1806—viz. historia natural, i. ii.; grammatica, i.; arte militar, i., ii.; geografia, i.-iii.; fabricas, i., ii., plates, vol. i. A French edition was printed at Padua, with the plates, says Peignot, very carefully engraved. Probably no more unmanageable body of dictionaries has ever been published except Migne’s Encyclopédie théologique, Paris, 1844–1875, 4to, 168 vols., 101 dictionaries, 119,059 pages.
No work of reference has been more useful and successful, or more frequently copied, imitated and translated, than that known as the Conversations Lexikon of Brockhaus. It was begun as Conversations Lexikon mit vorzüglicher Rücksicht auf die gegenwärtigen Zeiten, Leipzig, 1796 to 1808, 8vo, 6 vols., 2762 pages, by Dr Gotthelf Renatus Löbel (born on the 1st of April 1767 at Thalwitz near Wurzen in Saxony, died on the 14th of February 1799), who intended to supersede Hübner, and included geography, history, and in part biography, besides mythology, philosophy, natural history, &c. Vols. i.-iv. (A to R) appeared 1796 to 1800, vol. v. in 1806. Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus (q.v.) bought the work with its copyright on the 25th of October 1808, for 1800 thalers from the printer, who seems to have got it in payment of his bill. The editor, Christian Wilhelm Franke, by contract dated the 16th of November, was to finish vol. vi. by the 5th of December, and the already projected supplement, 2 vols., by Michaelmas 1809, for 8 thalers a printed sheet. No penalty was specified, but, says his grandson, Brockhaus was to learn that such contracts, whether under penalty or not, are not kept, for the supplement was finished only in 1811. Brockhaus issued a new impression as Conversations Lexikon oder kurzgefasstes Handwörterbuch, &c, 1809–1811, and on removing to Altenburg in 1811 began himself to edit the 2nd edition (1812–1819, 10 vols.), and, when vol. iv. was published, the 3rd (1814–1819). He carried on both editions together until 1817, when he removed to Leipzig, and began the 4th edition as Allgemeine deutsche Realencyclopädie für die gebildeten Stände. Conversations Lexikon. This title was, in the 14th edition, changed to that of Brockhaus’ Konversations Lexicon. The 5th edition was at once begun, and was finished in eighteen months. Dr Ludwig Hain assisted in editing the 4th and 5th editions until he left Leipzig in April 1820, when Professor F. C. Hasse took his place. The 12,000 copies of the 5th edition being exhausted while vol. x. was at press, a 2nd unaltered impression of 10,000 was required in 1820 and a 3rd of 10,000 in 1822. The 6th edition, 10 vols., was begun in September 1822. Brockhaus died in 1823, and his two eldest sons, Friedrich and Heinrich, who carried on the business for the heirs and became sole possessors in 1829, finished the edition with Hasse’s assistance in September 1823. The 7th edition (1827–1829, 12 vols., 10,489 pages, 13,000 copies, 2nd impression 14,000) was edited by Hasse. The 8th edition (1833–1836, 12 vols., 10,689 pages, 31,000 copies to 1842), begun in the autumn of 1832, ended May 1837, was edited by Dr Karl August Espe (born February 1804, died in the Irrenanstalt at Stötteritz near Leipzig on the 24th of November 1850) with the aid of many learned and distinguished writers. A general index, Universal Register, 242 pages, was added in 1839. The 9th edition (1843–1847, 15 vols., 11,470 pages, over 30,000 copies) was edited by Dr Espe. The 10th edition (1851–1855, 12,564 pages) was also in 15 vols., for convenience in reference, and was edited by Dr August Kurtzel aided by Oskar Pilz. Friedrich Brockhaus had retired in 1849; Dr Heinrich Edward, the elder son of Heinrich, made partner in 1854, assisted in this edition, and Heinrich Rudolf, the younger son, partner since 1863, in the 11th (1864–1868, 15 vols. of 60 sheets, 13,366 pages).
Kurtzel died on the 24th of April 1871, and Pilz was sole editor until March 1872, when Dr Gustav Stockmann joined, who was alone from April until joined by Dr Karl Wippermann in October. Besides the Universal Register of 136 pages and about 50,000 articles, each volume has an index. The supplement, 2 vols, 1764 pages, was begun in February 1871, and finished in April 1873. The 12th edition, begun in 1875, was completed in 1879 in 15 vols., the 13th edition (1882–1887), in 16 vols., and the 14th (1901–1903) in 16 vols. with a supplementary volume in 1904. The Conversations Lexicon is intended, not for scientific use, but to promote general mental improvement by giving the results of research and discovery in a simple and popular form without extended details. The articles, often too brief, are very excellent and trustworthy, especially on German subjects, give references to the best books, and include biographies of living men.
One of the best German encyclopaedias is that of Meyer, Neues Konversations-Lexicon. The first edition, in 37 vols., was published in 1839–1852. The later editions, following closely the arrangement of Brockhaus, are the 4th (1885–1890, 17 vols.), the 5th (1894–1898, 18 vols.), and the 6th (begun in 1902).
The most copious German encyclopaedia is Ersch and Gruber’s Allgemeine Encyklopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste, Leipzig. It was designed and begun in 1813 by Professor Johann Samuel Ersch (born at Gross Glogau on the 23rd of June 1766, chief librarian at Halle, died on the 16th of January 1828) to satisfy the wants of Germans, only in part supplied by foreign works. It was stopped by the war until 1816, when Professor Hufeland (born at Danzig on the 19th of October 1760) joined, but he died on the 25th of November 1817 while the specimen part was at press. The editors of the different sections at various times have been some of the best-known men of learning in Germany, including J. G. Gruber, M. H. E. Meier, Hermann Brockhaus, W. Müller and A. G. Hoffmann of Jena.
The work is divided into three sections (1) A-G, of which 99 vols. had appeared by 1905, (2) H-N, 43 vols., (3) O-Z, 25 vols. All articles bear the authors’ names, and those not ready in time were placed at the end of their letter. The longest in the work is Griechenland, vols. 80-87, 3668 pages, with a table of contents. It began to appear after vol. 73 (Götze to Gondouin), and hence does not come in its proper place, which is in vol. 91. Gross Britannien contains 700 pages, and Indien by Benfey 356.
The Encyclopaedia Metropolitana (London, 1845, 4to, 28 vols., issued in 59 parts in 1817–1845, 22,426 pages, 565 plates) professed to give sciences and systematic arts entire and in their natural sequence, as shown in the introductory treatise on method by S. T. Coleridge. “The plan was the proposal of the poet Coleridge, and it had at least enough of a poetical character to be eminently unpractical” (Quarterly Review, cxiii., 379). However defective the plan, the excellence of many of the treatises by Archbishop Whately, Sir John Herschel, Professors Barlow, Peacock, de Morgan, &c., is undoubted. It is in four divisions, the last only being alphabetical:—I. Pure Sciences, 2 vols., 1813 pages, 16 plates, 28 treatises, includes grammar, law and theology; II. Mixed and Applied Sciences, 8 vols., 5391 pages, 437 plates, 42 treatises, including fine arts, useful arts, natural history and its “application,” the medical sciences; III. History and Biography, 5 vols., 4458 pages, 7 maps, containing biography (135 essays) chronologically arranged (to Thomas Aquinas in vol. 3), and interspersed with (210) chapters on history (to 1815), as the most philosophical, interesting and natural form (but modern lives were so many that the plan broke down, and a division of biography, to be in 2 vols., was announced but not published); IV. Miscellaneous, 12 vols., 10,338 pages, 105 plates, including geography, a dictionary of English (the first form of Richardson’s) and descriptive natural history. The index, 364 pages, contains about 9000 articles. A re-issue in 38 vols. 4to, was announced in 1849. Of a second edition 42 vols. 8vo, 14,744 pages, belonging to divisions i. to iii., were published in 1849–1858.
The very excellent and useful English Cyclopaedia (London, 1854–1862, 4to, 23 vols., 12,117 pages; supplements, 1869–1873, 4 vols., 2858 pages), conducted by Charles Knight, based on the Penny Cyclopaedia (London, 1833–1846, 4to, 29 vols., 15,625 pages), of which he had the copyright, is in four divisions all alphabetical, and evidently very unequal as classes:—1, geography; 2, natural history; 3, biography (with 703 lives of living persons); 4, arts and sciences. The synoptical index, 168 pages, has four columns on a page, one for each division, so that the order is alphabetical and yet the words are classed.
Chambers’s Encyclopaedia (Edinburgh, W. & R. Chambers), 1860–1868, 8vo, 10 vols., 8283 pages, edited in part by the publishers, but under the charge of Dr Andrew Findlater as “acting