DA -- History and Area Studies


Hauptwerke der Geschichtsschreibung [Masterpieces of Historiography]. Ed. Volker Reinhardt. Stuttgart: Kröner, 1997. xii, 792 p. 18 cm. (Kröners Taschenausgabe, 435) ISBN 3-520-43501-2: DM 49.00

With contributions by 148 historians, this work introduces essential works of European historiography. The 228 entries are arranged by author, with each entry averaging a little over three pages, including a few bibliographical references. Entries vary in quality, but usually they provide reliable information. Coverage is always the Achilles heel of reference works such as this. This particular title is strongly biased towards German-language historiography, while the late medieval period is underrepresented. It concludes with title and name indexes and a chronological listing of all 228 works. A bibliographical listing of standard historiographies and books on the philosophy of history, and--in the absence of a subject index--more cross-references would have been handy. Still, a useful work. [kg/mj]


Dyabola: Sachkataloge des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts [Dyabola: Subject Catalogs of the German Archaeological Institute]. München: Biering + Brinkmann. (Biering & Brinkmann, Postfach 450144, D-80901 München, fax [49 89] 323 52 182)

1997. 1 CD-ROM + program diskette + handbook. DM 3,610.00 (backfile 1956-95), and DM 300.00 (for the software), DM 160.00 (update 1997)

This CD-ROM consists of five databases which can be obtained separately: three are bibliographic (of which the main one is the catalog of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome from 1956 to 1997, with close to 400,000 annotations, including those titles published annually from 1958 to 1993 in print under the title Archäologische Bibliographie), and two are of classical art objects. The main subject focus is classical archaeology, but the scope of the database also extends to Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeology, Byzantine art, epigraphy, numismatics, and ancient history. Other information sources covered: the subject catalog of the Roman-Germanic Institute in Frankfurt (1992-1996), the acquisitions database of the German Archaeological Institute in Madrid (1991-1996), the Census of Antique Art and Architecture Known to the Renaissance, and the Datenbank der attischen Grabreliefs des späten 5. und des 4. Jhs. v. Chr. (Database of Attic Tomb Reliefs of the Late Fifth and the Fourth Centuries B.C.). The retrieval interface runs under DOS and is very difficult to use without assistance; context-sensitive help is not provided. There are indexes by classified search terms, keyword, author, title, series and periodical title as well as a clunky "title free-text" search.

The system responses are very slow and poorly presented, and the interface desperately needs major improvement. Searching large sets can take forever. But since the printed source of these data is no longer published, there is no alternative to Dyabola: archaeologists will not be able to ignore it. Further information on Dyabola is available at the "Projekt Dyabola" website (in German only!) maintained by its publisher, Biering & Brinkmann. [kh/rp]


The Database of Classical Bibliography. Ed. Dee L. Clayman. Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press. (Scholars Press, POB 15399, Atlanta, Ga. 30333-0399, USA)

Vol. 1. L'année philologique, vols. 47-58 (1976-1987). 1995. 1 CD-ROM + handbook

This CD-ROM consists of a digitized version of L'Annee philologique--the most important serial bibliography in the field of Classics--for the volumes published from 1976 to 1987, including over 185,000 entries. Updates are planned to expand coverage to both earlier and later years; a second edition for 1974 to 1989 has been announced. The database runs under Windows and Mac. Its focus is ancient history and classical philology, including the auxiliary disciplines of papyrology, numismatics, epigraphy, and classical culture in the broadest sense (intellectual history, cultural history, history of technology). There are 17 indexes (!), which can be browsed in an "entry window," where terms can be transferred into a "search window" to retrieve results. The search window also enables direct term searching via truncation and Boolean operation. Results are displayed in short form first, then in full. The greatest drawback is the lack of a controlled vocabulary, which will become worse as more data are digitized: simply digitizing printed bibliographies is not sufficient. Despite the flexibility offered by Windows, the interface is not intuitive. For further information and commentary, see Julie Still's online review, "The Online Database of Classical Bibliography", as well as the publisher's own presentation of the product. [kh/rp]


Gnomon Bibliographische Datenbank: Internationales Informationssystem für die Klassische Altertumswissenschaft [Gnomon Bibliographic Database: International Information System for Classical Studies]. Jürgen Malitz. München: Beck. ISSN 0340-3718

3d ed. (1996), April. 1 CD-ROM + handbook. ISBN 3-406-41085-5: DM 598.00 (basic set), DM 498.00 (for subscribers to Gnomon), DM 298.00 (annual update)

The data for this CD-ROM, first released in 1994 and since improved, derive primarily from the periodical Gnomon from 1925 to 1995, including personalia and obituaries, and (since 1990) its quarterly bibliographic supplement, plus an extensive list of other important journals in ancient history. In total about 200 journals are indexed, as are 8,000 German dissertations from 1902 to 1995, covering all aspects of the ancient world. Altogether over 180,000 items are indexed. The data are updated annually on CD-ROM, more frequently via the Web interface.

There are three search levels: (1) indexed fields, including author, text and tables of contents listings for journals and series; 2) descriptor search--this is the only database of the three in Classics to offer a true thesaurus of subject terms; and 3) a very slow free-text search capability. Results can be sorted by author, title and date, etc.

Trial use of the database is available via C. H. Beck's Gnomon website. [kh/rp]


The African Studies Companion: A Resource Guide & Directory. Hans M. Zell and Cecile Lomer. 2d rev. ed. London; Munich [et al.]: Zell, 1997. xvi, 276 p.; 22 cm. ISBN 1-873836-41-4: £48.00

The second edition of this guide is a significantly expanded and updated version of the first edition, representing a growth from 667 to 935 entries in the new edition. For the most part the guide covers only Sub-Saharan Africa. The organization of the annotated bibliographic citations has not changed, with bibliographies, periodicals, libraries and resource centers, publishers, organizations and institutes, foundations, as well as awards being provided with their own chapters. Addresses are included for corporate bodies, and the volume concludes with title and selected subject indexes. [ks/rob]


Österreichische historische Bibliographie: Information und Dokumentation auf dem Gebiet der Geschichte [Austrian Historical Bibliography: Information and Documentation in the Field of History]. Publ. for the Institut für Geschichte, Universität Klagenfurt. Graz: Neugebauer (Kommissionsverlag Wolfgang Neugebauer, Kreuzgasse 6, A-6800 Feldkirch, fax [43 5522] 74770)

1945-93 (1996). 2d expanded ed. 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 3-85376-088-0: ÖS 4900.00, DM 700.00

This is one of three highly regarded German-language historical bibliographies to be published recently in electronic form. In addition to considering the spectrum of search capabilities and the quality of bibliographic description offered by each, it is also important to evaluate their degree of overlap. Only when they each occupy their own niche and complement each other are they justifiable as independent publications. If the degree of overlap is too great, then pressure mounts for some form of consolidation.

The Österreichische historische Bibliographie (ÖHB) is produced at the University of Klagenfurt with financial support from the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research. It indexes approximately 115,000 monographs, theses, catalogs, and dissertations, as well as articles in journals, magazines, festschrifts, proceedings, anthologies, and exhibition catalogs. Scope is restricted to Austrian history (within the borders of the Second Republic) and to works on the history of other countries insofar as they were published in Austria. The publication date range is 1945-1993.

The new CD-ROM product runs on either a DOS or a Windows platform, whereby the DOS version is by the far the superior version, especially with regard to response time. Indeed, for a variety of reasons, the Windows version cannot be recommended. It does not, for example, run from the CD-ROM--although this is claimed in the user instructions. Once the search software is installed on the harddrive, searches take a ponderously long time. Furthermore, the Microsoft Access interface used in the Windows version is quirky, not only in what appear to be highly arbitrary constraints placed on Boolean search formulation, but also in "or" searches that produce different retrieval sets depending in which order the elements of the search are placed. A Boolean search seeking information on the Finnish educational system might take the form "Bildungswesen / Finnland" (where the "/" stands for Boolean "or"). It results in 56 hits, while reversing the order to "Finnland / Bildungswesen" yields 858! Through trial and error, consistent results can be obtained--in this case through judicious use of the truncation symbol "*"--but the Windows interface is anything but straightforward and user-friendly and places enormous demands on the user's time and patience. Yet even the otherwise satisfactory DOS interface has problems. For example, although there is a thesaurus of descriptors in the DOS version, and from this thesaurus searches can be launched automatically, the scope of these searches is not limited to the descriptor field, but extends to the title field as well. This, of course, makes it quite difficult to speak of a "controlled vocabulary": a search under the descriptor Ausbildung (training, education) also retrieves an item entitled "Die Ausbildung des polnischen Nationalbewußtseins," where Ausbildung means "emergence," not "education."

Print and download functions are supported on both platforms, although not satisfactorily explained in the online help--while a printed manual is not provided. Customization of the fields to be printed or downloaded is not permitted, and results are not sortable in alphabetical or in any other order.

The shortcomings of the CD product lead us to consider the WWW version of the ÖHB, accessible through the site of the University of Klagenfurt at http://info.uni-klu.ac.at/. Apart from the advantage that the Web version is universally accessible and can be queried free-of-charge, it also contains far more current records than the CD-ROM, whose coverage ends in 1993. [cr/jg]


Historische Bibliographie [Historical Bibliography]. Publ. for the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Außeruniversitärer Historischer Forschungseinrichtungen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. München: Oldenbourg.

1991-95 (1997). 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 3-486-56303-3: DM 98.00

This first update of the CD-ROM version of the Historische Bibliographie has expanded its original coverage (1991-1994) by one year in either direction, i.e. to 1990-1995. Its 54,000 entries are drawn from virtually all areas of historical research, and although German-language material is given clear priority, unlike the ÖHB (see 97-3/4-403 above) there are no provenance restrictions and the scope of coverage extends beyond German-speaking countries to include topics from the rest of Europe and beyond.

Apart from the broader chronological range of this update, the other most obvious change vis-à-vis the first release is the new search interface: Microsoft's Internet Explorer has replaced AskSam. This user-friendlier touch aside, the content-related weaknesses of the original product appear not to have been addressed. Chief among these is the absence of descriptor assignments. Although searches can be conducted on Author, Title Keyword, Subject Placename, and Subject Name fields, the subject place index appears to have been generated from the title field only. Not only is this an inadequate substitute for true indexing: it also leads to a number of retrievals that are simply wrong. Additionally, the automated procedure used to retrieve records despite the inflectional endings typical for German words, e.g. Wort and its plural form Wörter, plays havoc with many proper name searches. Looking for an author Becker retrieves titles published by C. H. Beck, for example--although the search was explicitly restricted to the Author field. (Searching for Beck retrieves Becker, too, of course.) These problems are compounded by database inaccuracies affecting works that were indexed based on publisher announcements, but were then published under different titles. An example is the following work, cited in the Historische Bibliographie as Bürgerschaften: alteuropäische und moderne Bürgerschaft; Rezeption und Innovation der Begrifflichkeit, although the actual published title is quite different: Bürgerschaft: Rezeption und Innovation der Begrifflichkeit vom Hohen Mittelalter bis ins 19. Jahrhundert. And the published work had 520 pages, not the 320 claimed for it in HB.

All of these issues will naturally be lost on any user who fails to complete the installation successfully. This reviewer failed in repeated attempts to load the search interface on Windows 3.11. The Windows 95 installation succeeded only after calling the technical support number of Oldenbourg in Munich, and receiving a set of supplemental instructions by fax. Quite another question is whether it is advisable to insist on the Microsoft web browsing software to work with this database, since it is well known that there are other products of comparable quality readily available. [cr/jg]


Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte: Datenbank [Annual Reports on German History: Datafile]. Publ. for the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. [Berlin]: Akademie-Verlag

N.S. 1991-95 (1996). 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 3-05-003068-2: DM 248.00 (Institutions), DM 78.00 (Individuals)

Two Contrasting Reviews and a Summary

[97-3/4-405] This first release of the Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte in electronic form parallels the identical print edition. The year range covered (1991-1995) and the number of entries (54,000) are also the same as for the Historische Bibliographie, but the scope of the Jahresberichte differs substantially from both of the other historical bibliographies discussed on these pages. Only works on German history, from the Romano-Germanic beginnings to about 1990 and regardless of language or place of publication, are covered by the Jahresberichte--material on non-German topics is excluded consistently. The most significant format omissions are unpublished dissertations and reviews.

Installation is easy, whereupon users can choose one of three different search types (Keyword, Index Search, and Expert) depending on individual research needs and the user's sophistication as an on-line searcher. Context-sensitive help is available, and there is some variety in the selection of output type.

Supporting the three search options is a thorough content analysis of each item that results in two types of indexing: assignment of an alphanumeric classification heading corresponding to topic area and historical period; and then detailed descriptor assignments. These features lend a power and accuracy to digital searching painfully absent in the other electronic products under review here. Admittedly, there are problems and inconsistencies in the assignment of descriptors--Volksschulen (public schools) and Schulen (schools) are both used for works having to do with public schooling, for example--but overall, this product deserves high marks. [cr/jg]

[97-3/4-406] Based upon a thorough examination of the CD-ROM edition of the Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte, I must disagree vehemently with the generally positive review of this work offered above.

I would estimate that close to one quarter of those publications that I as an historian would regard as important have been omitted. For example: Of the 74 German titles published between 1991 and 1993 reviewed in Rheinische Vierteljahresblätter, 18 of these, or 24%, are missing from the Jahresberichte. Twelve of 38 relevant titles cited by Gerd Schwerhoff in his survey of literature on witches and witchcraft appearing in Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht (vol. 46 [1995], nos. 7/8, p. 359-380) have been left out. Numerous monographs, festschrifts, and exhibit catalogs are lacking. It is also evident that no coverage control takes place by monitoring, say, the supplements to the Zeitschrift für historische Forschung, and it is equally apparent that regional and local historical periodicals are being overlooked as sources of titles for the index.

It is thoroughly unclear what if any selection criteria are being applied to choose which articles are to be included (and therefore which not) from journals and collective works, especially in neighboring disciplines such as literature, cultural studies, and music and art history. The inclusion of 14 of the 21 articles from volume 28 (1995) of the Beiträge zur Geschichte des Bistums Regensburg on the subject of pilgrimages, for example, appears to have been arbitrary, even random.

As has been observed by the preceding reviewer, inconsistencies also plague the assignment of index terms--though this is the least of the inadequacies that could be enumerated. If classification and indexing were indeed carried out with item in hand, as is claimed, the results must cast a highly unflattering light on the historical competence of the editorial staff. The inadequacies mean that the most reliable search form is the Keyword Search, taking advantage of right truncation and Boolean operators. But search successes of this type--that only put into greater relief the editorial shortcomings described above--cannot mitigate what is, in sum, a very low grade that we must give this resource. [kg/jg]

Do We Really Need Two Cumulative Bibliographies for German History? [97-3/4-407]

The preceding negative appraisal of the Jahresberichte für Deutsche Geschichte, though drawing attention to significant shortcomings in the comprehensiveness of the work's coverage and in its editorial preparation, still leaves two important questions unanswered: first that of the relative merits of it and its competitor, the Historische Bibliographie, and second, crucially, the justification for continuing these two highly duplicative bibliographic resources as separate publications. This latter questions asserts itself now with especial force, since the publisher of the Jahresberichte, the Akademie Verlag, was recently acquired by Oldenbourg, the publisher of the Historische Bibliographie. It should be possible to devise a reasonable division of labor between these two experienced editorial teams, taking advantage of the particular talents of each for the greater good of a final, combined product. An added factor is that the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences would no doubt wish to be relieved of responsibility for the Jahresberichte, seeing it as the responsibility of the historical community. Unfortunately, there is at present no central information-gathering hub for the historical sciences that could assume this responsibility. [sh/jg]


Handbuch der deutschen Bundesländer [Handbook of the German Federal States]. Ed. Jürgen Hartmann. 3d expanded and updated ed. Frankfurt; New York: Campus-Verlag, 1997. 685 p. 22 cm. ISBN 3-593-35752-6: DM 78.00


Handbuch der deutschen Bundesländer [Handbook of the German Federal States]. Ed. Jürgen Hartmann. 3d expanded and updated ed. Licensed ed. Bonn: Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, 1997. 685 p. 22 cm. ISBN 3-89331-083-5: free of charge. (Bundeszentrale . . . , Berliner Freiheit 7, 53111 Bonn, fax [49 228] 515-113)

This reliable handbook, distributed free of charge by the Federal Center for Political Education, has now been released in a new (third) expanded and updated edition. The first edition (1990) covered only the old federal states, while the second edition (1994) was the first to cover all federal states. New contents include an essay on the significance of the new federal states as a whole for German federalism, a larger appendix of tables, and a reliable, detailed index. Articles on the federal states have been thoroughly revised and updated, mostly by their original authors. There is even an interesting discussion of the failed fusion of Berlin and Brandenburg. Figures are current, as a rule, to 1995, though statistical data are unfortunately not consistently comparable between all federal states. The competently selected bibliographic references are also up-to-date, though it would have been thoughtful to include the URLs of the official web sites of the German Länder.

It will surely displease librarians that the editors collected information on museums, theaters, and festivals, but not libraries. One finds only brief information on libraries in North Rhine-Westphalia; for Berlin there is only the mention of the unification of the State Library. 

From the first edition on, this handbook has been an indispensable, well compiled reference work covering all aspects of political life, historical development, and the social, economic, and cultural-political quirks of the German federal states. This latest edition should not replace the earlier editions on reference shelves, but rather sit beside them, reflecting the most recent history of the new federal states and the Berlin republic. [kuw/ga]


Ämter, Abkürzungen, Aktionen des NS-Staates: Handbuch für die Benutzung von Quellen der nationalsozialistischen Zeit; Amtsbezeichnungen, Ränge und Verwaltungsgliederungen, Abkürzungen und nichtmilitärische Tarnbezeichnungen [Governmental Agencies, Abbreviations, and Programs of the Nazi State: Handbook for the Use of Archival Materials from the Nazi Period; Names of Agencies, Ranks, and Administrative Divisions, Abbreviations, and Non-military Cover-names]. Compilers Heinz Boberach, Rolf Thommes, and Hermann Weiß. Publ. for the Institut für Zeitgeschichte. München: Saur, 1997. 416 p. 25 cm. (Texte und Materialien zur Zeitgeschichte, 5) ISBN 3-598-11271-8: DM 198.00

Behind the relatively vague term handbook one usually expects a compendium of several different types of information categories, brought together in a single volume. This work is at one and the same time an administrative handbook simply listing service and rank designations, a government handbook concentrating on the territorial administrative structure, and finally a general and special index of abbreviations.

Heinz Boberach divides the first part--official titles and ranks (p. 9-64)--into five sections: top officials, generals, and comparable ranks (military ranks are omitted for the other groups); officials in higher, elevated, mid-level, and basic service, all followed by tables showing beginning and top salaries; and an alphabetical register of office insignia and ranks, from Abgabenrevisoren to Zweiter Vorstandsbeamter der Reichsbank. Only genuine titles and ranks are included, along with corresponding pay grades. Terms denoting function, like Blockwart, and sui generis titles, like the Reichslandschaftsanwalt in the office of the Inspector General for German roads, are excluded.

The second part (p. 65-246), also compiled by Heinz Boberbach, covers the "Administrative structure of the German Reich and the integrated occupied territories" as of the summer of 1942. It includes a table of contents and index. The sections cover: (1) general administration (states, districts [Reichsgaue], annexed and occupied territories), (2) government administration and police (including the Security Service), (3) Nazi Party structure, (4) ordinary law courts and special courts for in penal matters, and (5) economic and financial administration, with an addendum on church administrative structure in the Reich proper, subdivided into Protestant (evangelisch) and Catholic churches).

Part three (p. 241-364) is a list of abbreviations from the Nazi period. Part four (p. 365-446) contains non-military cover-names of the Nazi period, as well as locality and territory registers. Two indexes of military cover-names are cited in the introduction to part four.

This handbook, compiled from archival records, serves not only the specialist studying new documents--particularly those accessible only since German unification--but also the non-specialist interested in the "daily conditions of life and experience of people subject . . . to a totalitarian dictatorship." (p. 5) [sh/ga]


Österreich-Lexikon: in zwei Bänden [Encyclopedia of Austria: In Two Volumes]. Ed. Richard and Maria Bamberger, Ernst Bruckmüller, Karl Gutkas. Special ed. Wien: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Österreich-Lexikon, 1996. 25 cm. ISBN 3-95004-380-2: ÖS 498.00. (Other editions also available as of 1996. Orig. ed. Verlagsgemeinschaft Österreich-Lexikon, 1995.)

Vol. 1 [A-L]. 1996. xvii, 735 p. ill.

Vol. 2 [M-Z]. 1996. vii, 709 p. ill.

The large German-language encyclopedias (Brockhaus, Meyer, Herder) are widely available in Austria and Switzerland and are well appointed with general articles on Austria and Switzerland. Although there appears to be little business justification for publishing a complete general encyclopedia in either of these countries, the Austrian or Swiss reader still has a need for such a nationally-oriented encyclopedia.

The latest, six-volume Schweizer-Lexikon (Luzern: Verlag Schweizer Lexikon, 1992/3) combines numerous and at times lengthy Switzerland-oriented articles with general articles from Brockhaus. The latest Österreich-Lexikon (as with its 1966/67 predecessor) gives priority to Austria-oriented topics and articles. Most numerous are biographical articles, followed by geographic and topical articles, including a number of articles on corporate bodies (featuring many business firms) and press publications such as magazines and newspapers.

Articles about persons cover native-born Austrians, including those Austrians who spent most of their lives abroad, as well as foreigners who have had a significant impact on Austria. German-speaking persons from the countries of the former Habsburg Monarchy are given special consideration. People of the 20th century (including those still living), as well as corporations, are represented in greater numbers than those from other historical periods, in order to "emphasize the 20th century [and to depict] Austria from the point of view of recent years."

By and large, the articles of this encyclopedia are brief and their scope is directly proportional to the significance of the person or topic described. Only outstanding people and prominent topics are given longer articles, e.g. Beethoven with two columns. The federal states are given long survey articles. Most articles have bibliographic references, and the illustrations in black-and-white and color are small, but of good quality. Tables and maps are included in articles; volume 2 has a separate map section and a chronological survey of Austrian state and federal government since 1918. Volume 1 has a bibliography of reference works and major monographs arranged by subject headings.

All in all, this up-to-date and useful national encyclopedia is recommended for every reference department. This edition replaces the 1966/67 edition, which by now of course is extremely outdated. [sh/ga]


Heimat im Buch: sudetendeutsche Heimatbücher, Ortsmonographien, Karten, Heimatblätter, Heimatzeitschriften, Jahrbücher und Kalender nach 1945; eine Bibliographie [The Homeland in Books: Sudeten German Homeland Newsletters, Magazines, Yearbooks, and Calendars since 1945; A Bibliography]. Rudolf Hemmerle. Publ. for the Sudetendeutsches Archiv. 2d rev. and expanded edition. München: Sudetendeutsches Archiv, 1996. 334 p. ill. 24 cm. (Veröffentlichungen des Sudetendeutschen Archivs) ISBN 3-930626-07-1: no price available

This volume supersedes the first edition (1970) as well as the Sudeten German sections of other bibliographies, for example, Wolfgang Kessler's Ost- und südostdeutsche Heimatbücher und Ortsmonographien nach 1945 (München: Saur, 1979) and Horst von Chmielewski and Gert Hagelweide's Bestandverzeichnis der deutschen Heimatvertriebenenpresse (München: Saur, 1982). Heimat im Buch is exclusively a bibliography of independent publications which have appeared since 1945 about the former Sudetenland, especially individual districts and localities, and most especially those published by expellees themselves.

Materials are listed alphabetically in three broad categories--homeland books and maps; newspapers; yearbooks and calendars--further subdivided by region. (It would have been better to have arranged the entries first by region and then by type of material.) The first section lists numerous works which exist only in manuscript form and gives their location--chiefly in the Sudetendeutsches Archiv in Munich or in their respective regional or local homeland association. The work includes some color illustrations of title pages, maps of each homeland region, and at the end three maps showing the German-speaking regions of Czechoslovakia. An indispensable index gives Czech and Slovak town and district names with references to their German names. Also noted are the political and legal jurisdictions with the proportion of German-speakers within total population according to the 1930 census.

In contrast to other formerly German-inhabited eastern regions, Sudeten-German regional bibliography has developed only modestly since 1945--and was utterly lacking before then. The Auswahlbibliographie zur Geschichte und Landeskunde der Sudetenländer has been the only current bibliography, appearing as a section of the Johann Gottfried Herder-Institut's Zeitschrift für Ostforschung (now . . . Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung). This bibliography ceased with vol. 42 (1993) of the Zeitschrift. Picking up with 1994 imprints, the Herder-Institut has begun a separate Bibliographie zur Geschichte der Böhmischen Länder und der Slowakei. This series is due to start in 1997 and will be reviewed in a forthcoming issue of IFB (and RREA). [sh/ga]

  An RREO Original Review

Dictionnaire du XIXe siècle européen [Dictionary of 19th Century Europe]. General ed. Madeleine Ambrière. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1997. xlvii, 1375 p. ISBN 2-13-048651-7: FF 990

The Presses Universitaires de France, or PUF, has published a great number of specialized dictionaries in recent decades in the areas of political philosophy, arts, geography, psychology, sociology, and literature. The Dictionnaire du XIXe siècle européen belongs to the series covering history, along with the Dictionnaire européen des Lumières [European Dictionary of the Enlightenment], the Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française [Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution], and others.

The 1570 entries this work contains describe the most important 19th-century personalities, trends, disciplines, institutions, and other topics. They are divided into nine sections: French literature, European literature, sciences, medicine, philosophy, music, arts, law and political economy, and history. The targeted audience is the greater educated public, including specialists. The chief editor, Madeleine Ambrière, a well-known expert on Alfred de Vigny, identifies the genre of the book as a "dictionary in its presentation, . . . and encyclopedia in its conception and execution."

The intention of the editors was to present the 19th century in the way our 20th century transformed its perception. Time, as the introduction puts it (p. vii), has helped to transcend the "passions," "hatred," and "comraderies"--to use favorite words of the last century--that might have existed among contemporaries, and has added new criteria to the evaluation of works, events, and inventions. In some areas, like the sciences, an explicit goal is to present both what scholars meant by certain scientific notions a hundred or so years ago, and how scholarship looks at those interpretations now. According to Françoise Balibar, editorial director of the sciences section: "When editing the entries of the sciences in this 19th-century dictionary, we have had two main obligations in mind: to show the extraordinary development of the sciences characterizing that period, and, at the same time, to present the way the 20th century judges and evaluates that development."

The emphasis of the dictionary is France within Europe. This concept is very clear from the chronological table (p. 1348-1375) covering twice as many events in France as in the rest of Europe. The sample of French names, institutions, trends, etc. is broader than the sample of German or, say, Polish ones. The critique Émile Faguet, the philosopher Louis Bautain, the composer Daniel François Esprit Auber all get a main entry, while the Russian writer Ivan Gontcharov, the Hungarian gynecologist Ignaz F. Semmelweis, and such composers as the Finn Jean Sibelius and and the Czech Leos Janacek occur only within the entries Russe (Littérature), Obstétrique, and Nationalités respectively.

The dictionary is a structural masterpiece: perfectly clear and easy to use. It is revealing of what the concepts and principles of selection of the editors were. After the list of contributors and a brief biographical introduction to each of the nine scholars directing the edition of the nine sections, each of these principal editors gives a summary of how they have conceived of their subject area. Each description is followed by a bibliography of comprehensive works. The main entries constitute, of course, the bulk of the book. Each major entry is followed by a brief selected bibliography separately listing works by and about individual authors. At the end of each article, a few other general main entries are also listed that contain complementary information. For example, the entry dealing with the intellectual movement Jeune-Allemagne (Junges Deutschland, Engl. "Young Germany") is followed by the name of the main entry Allemande (Litteratures d'expression) (Literature of German-speaking countries) where the movement is placed in a broader context. Cross-references (entries that occur only in the body of other entries) are not listed in the alphabetic list of the main entries, but separately, in one of the indices.

Three indexes and a chronology of events close the volume. First, an analytical table lists the main entries by discipline, clearly showing how the selection was made. From this index, for example, it becomes clear that Greek, Croat, and Dutch literatures in the 19th century are treated in only one main entry each, while Swiss-French and Portuguese get several main entries, since specific authors are also selected for longer description. Then, an index listing doctrines, trends, and movements is provided, followed by an index of personal names.

Katalin Radics, University of California, Los Angeles

Next Section
Previous Section
Table of Contents

Comments, suggestions, or questions
Last update: July 31, 2000 [RD]
© 2005 Casalini libri - VAT no. IT03106600483