Sunday, February 26, 2006

After two snarky posts, a happy one

Yesterday, in a used bookstore in Michigan, Linguist Friend and I found a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition. He had promised me one for a wedding present a year and a half ago and it has taken us this long to find one. Mine is the reduced edition (meaning the print is like 8 or 9 point) but has leather bindings. A few of the bindings will need work. It's not the most beautiful encyclopedia I've ever seen. But it still has articles written by Swinburne, Rossetti, and T. H. Huxley. I whipped out my cell and called Edie to consult. She said the price was reasonable and we should get it. So we did.

It is so freaking beautiful, kids. We're afraid to mail it, so it's actually going to stay here until this next time linguist friend visits me. (He likes to drive. I can't take it back this trip as I flew.)

I had wanted my own copy of this almost 100-year old encyclopedia for years and years and I finally have one. Some might argue that this is a little silly. As with anything else created before Mickey Mouse*, the 11th edition is public domain, and indeed, putting it online is a big project at Project Gutenberg. Soon everyone will have access to the 11th edition, though it will officially be called "the Project Gutenberg encyclopedia" as the people currently publishing the Encyclopedia Brittanica quite understandably don't want people getting confused and believing that their encyclopedia is available online for free.

I don't care. I still love my copy.


*Disney is the primary enthusiast for copyright restrictions and pays a lot of money to keep them coming. When congress lengthens the amount of time a copyright lasts, you can bet that Mickey Mouse was just about to become public domain.


PeaceBang said...

No, no, I totally understand. I found a perfect Concord edition of Emerson's collected works at a little antique store in Frederick, Virginia, upstairs in a little box labelled "Emmerson." It was listed at $125 and after I had flipped reverently through each perfect book I went casually downstairs and asked the proprieter, "Could I take that Emerson collection for a hundred bucks" and she said, "Oh, sure" and after I did a secret dance of spastic happiness it was like transporting a PERSON getting them home. I tried not to drive too hard over bumps and everything.
Mazel tov on your encyclopedia!

Anonymous said...


You have found a real jewel.

My seminary history professor would speak of this edition of the Brittanica only in husehd tones. he called it the "Scholar's" editrion.