AL -- General Encyclopedias


Brockhaus, Die Enzyklopädie: in 24 Bänden [Brockhaus, The Encyclopedia: In 24 Volumes]. 20th, rev., and updated ed. Leipzig; Mannheim: F. A. Brockhaus. 25 cm. 19th ed. titled: Brockhaus-Enzyklopädie. ISBN 3-7653-3100-7: DM 4,992.00 (complete set, if paid in full by Dec. 31, 1998), DM 228.00 (per volume)

Vol. 7. Ew-Fris. 1997. 736 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3107-4

Vol. 8. Frit-Goti. 1997. 736 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3108-2

Vol. 9. Gotl-Herp. 1997. 736 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3109-0

Vol. 10. Herr-Iss. 1997. 736 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3110-4

Vol. 11. Ist-Kip. 1997. 752 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3111-7

Vol. 12. Kir-Lagh. 1997. 736 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3112-0

Vol. 13. Lagi-Mad. 1998. 736 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3113-9


Brockhaus, Die Bibliothek [Brockhaus, The Library]. Leipzig; Mannheim: F. A. Brockhaus. 25 cm

Die Weltgeschichte [History of the World]. ISBN 3-7653-7400-8 (complete set): DM 1,248.00 (complete set, if paid in full by Dec. 31, 1998)

Vol. 1. Anfänge der Menschheit und frühe Hochkulturen [Beginnings of Humanity and Early High Cultures]. Ed. Mathias Münter-Elfner. 1997. 698 p. ill., maps ISBN 3-7653-7401-6: DM 228.00 (individual vols.), DM 185.00 (subscription price)

Vol. 2. Antike Welten (bis 600 n. Chr.) [The World of Antiquity (to 600 A.D.)] Ed. Mathias Münter-Elfner. 1997. 704 p. ill., maps. ISBN 3-7653-7411-3: DM 228.00 (individual vols.), DM 185.00 (subscription price)


Brockhaus, Die Bibliothek [Brockhaus, The Library]. Leipzig; Mannheim: F. A. Brockhaus. 25 cm

Kunst und Kultur [Art and Culture]. ISBN 3-7653-6700-1 (complete set): DM 1,248.00 (complete set, if paid in full by Dec. 31, 1998)

Vol. 1. Von der Höhlenkunst zur Pyramide: Vorzeit und Altertum [From Cave Art to the Pyramids: Prehistory and Antiquity]. Ed. Rudolf Ohlig. 1997. 704 p. ill., maps. ISBN 3-7653-6701-X: DM 228.00 (individual vol.), DM 185.00 (subscription price)

Vol. 2. Säulen, Tempel und Pagoden: Kulturen im antiken Europa und in Asien [Columns, Temples, and Pagodas: Cultures in Ancient Europe and Asia]. Ed. Rudolf Ohlig. 1997. 703 p. ill. maps. ISBN 3-7653-6711-7: DM 228.00 (individual vol.), DM 185.00 (subscription price)

Vol. 3. Herrscher und Heilige: europäisches Mittelalter und die Begegnung von Orient und Okzident [Rulers and Saints: The European Middle Ages and the Meeting of Orient and Occident]. Ed. Rudolf Ohlig. 1997. 704 p. ill., maps. ISBN 3-7653-6721-4: DM 228.00 (individual vol.) DM 185.00 (subscription price)

This review is entitled: "Brockhaus, or, Splitting One to Make Two: Brockhaus, die Enzyklopädie ("The Encyclopedia," in red buckram) and Brockhaus, die Bibliothek ("The Library," in blue buckram)." The new title for Brockhaus's 20th edition is not to be construed as a grandiose claim to be Brockhaus, The Encyclopedia, but rather follows the differentiating convention of Duden titles by the same publisher, viz. Duden, Etymologie (RREO 95-4-528; or RREA 1:50) or Duden, Grammatik der deutschen Gegenwartssprache (Contemporary German Grammar) (RREO 95-4-571).

At the heart of the Brockhaus split are marketing strategies that are not really new. Even in earlier editions of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia, attempts were made to conjoin publications to the lexicon that didn't necessarily belong there, principally as a means of additional revenue. For example, the Duden-Oxford Großwörterbuch English (Duden-Oxford Great Dictionary of English) of 1990 cost DM 79.00 as a single unit, but, in its more exclusive version as an adjunct to the Brockhaus, it cost DM 216.00. These earlier products seem almost modest now in comparison to what Brockhaus offers readers as add-ons to the Encyclopedia and to the Library.

Brockhaus, die Bibliothek was originally envisioned in six different series: (1) Life Histories; (2) World History; (3) Art and Culture; (4) People, Nature, Technology; (5) Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals; and finally (in no less than 24 volumes) (6) Countries and Cities. As it turns out, however, the early plans had to be "redimensioned" almost immediately, and the 30,000 biographies of the first series, for instance, have shrunk to 400 top personalities. The marketing niche of this set is its claim to place knowledge within a familiar context, to offer information in a more narrative (as opposed to academic?) tone suitable for the home, and to strew graphic elements like information boxes, source quotations, commentaries and tables across the page layout to relax the look: a lot of formatting that does not come, let's hope, at the cost of content. Even the concept itself is not new, if we think of Der neue Herder (The New Herder), which devotes six volumes to "Knowledge by the Alphabet" and eight supplementary volumes to "Knowledge by Overview," albeit less focused than the Brockhaus subject areas.

Brockhaus, die Enzyklopädie, in spite of its title, generically fits the description of a "lexicon" with an encyclopedic touch. The basics of this project were introduced in RREO 1997 (cf. RREA 3:78), and the time schedule announced then has been followed almost to the letter, with a new volume appearing monthly. One year after the appearance of volume one, the project has now been half completed. A main question has to do with revisions and updates, since the claim is made that 20% of the approximately 260,000 headwords would be affected by them. Spot checks showed few changes at first glance, and this impression was strengthened by the realization that revisions were often so marginal as to make their purpose unclear; many of the entries were merely reformulated and given terser wording. Updates and total revisions were carried out above all for areas of Eastern Europe affected by new political realities and for important current affairs (e.g., Dayton, Maastricht). Areas of major revision can be identified, particularly on new technologies and in the areas of medicine, art and theology. In other areas, the same deficiencies noted in RREO 97-1/2-085 about volume 1 persist: shorter articles, missing updates, and headword deletions. The "key concepts" introduced in the 19th edition of Brockhaus (and essentially borrowed from Meyers Enzyklopädisches Lexikon) undergo shifts in this latest edition, such as "service society" being nudged aside by "information society."

Tensions arise again in this 20th edition of Brockhaus between knowledge for the ages and current, often short-lived information. Even the use of the new rules of German orthography, applied for the first time in this edition, are subject to the same tension, since it isn't yet clear whether they actually represent a farsighted or a slapdash decision. [sh&sah/rdh]

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