AQ - Book Trade and Publishing

Dictionnaire encyclopédique du livre [Lexicon of the Book]. Ed. Pascal Fouché. Paris: Éditions du Cercle de la Librairie. 31 cm.
Vol. 3. N-Z. 2011. xi, 1088 p. ill. 31 cm. ISBN 978-2-7654-0987-8: EUR 195
Index général: A-Z. 2011. 254 p. ISBN 978-2-7654-0988-5: EUR 35 [12-1]

Volume 1 (A-D) of this work was published in 2002 and Volume 2 (E-M) followed in 2005 (see respectively RREA 8:52 and RREA 11:40). Seven years have elapsed until the completion of the publication, which the publisher had originally promised for the year 2005. (By the way, this stretching-out of a publication over a span of many years is a phenomenon that seems less frequent in the English-speaking world, which regularly manages to issue large, multi-volume lexica at a single blow).

The Dictionnaire is a significant addition to reference works on the history of the book. Although its coverage is international, it is particularly valuable for the amount of information it contains on book history in France and the Francophone countries. By way of comparison, the article on Paris covers 6 columns, with 18 bibliographical references, while the article on Venice covers 4 columns with 5 references; neither Rome, Stuttgart, nor Vienna receive articles at all. For most countries, there is one article dealing with the country in general and another dealing with the country’s libraries. There are numerous articles on special topics, such as privilége (18 columns) or reliure [binding] (34 columns), as well as a very large number of shorter entries for technical terms of the book and printing trades.

All articles are signed. For the most part, bibliographical references are relegated to a bibliography at the end of the volume; it would have been better to integrate these references into the articles themselves. There are many color illustrations, most of them of good size, up to half a page. An index to the publication as a whole (Index général) was issued along with this volume. There are indexes of personal names, institutions, countries, places, and titles.

Despite its somewhat uneven coverage (emphasis on France), this lexicon can be recommended for large research libraries. It will certainly be indispensable for locating information on French printers and publishers, and for looking up the specialized French vocabulary for printing and publishing. [sh/crc]

Encyclopédie de la webculture [Encyclopedia of Web Culture]. Ed. Titiou Lecoq and Diane Lisarelli. Paris: Laffont, 2011. 257 p. 23 cm. (Encyclopedia). ISBN 9782221128299: EUR 23.35

An RREA Original Review by Michelle Emanuel (University of Mississippi)

This illustrated encyclopedia explores the internet as it is today, “au terme d’un processus de démocratisation d’une dizaine d’années” [after a 10-year process of democratization]. It has become a culture with its own codes, language, and mindset. Comprised of 92 articles, this book is “un ‘best-of ’ pour les familiers de cet univers, une initiation pour les neophytes” [a “best-of ” for those familiar with this world and an initiation for neophytes]. The text is cleverly written, combining tongue-in-cheek references to the internet’s fascination with Chuck Norris and David Hasselhoff with straight-faced philosophical questions about the end of anonymity and the selective creation of one’s online profile, asking what phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty would think of Facebook. The topics are varied: popular themes of websites and posts (e.g., animals—especially cats—and food), brand names (Apple, Google), issues unique to the Internet (cyberbullying, net neutrality, Wikileaks), words reappropriated by the internet culture (avatar, cloud, fail, meme, nom), words invented by the internet culture (blogosphere, photobomb), and most importantly, acronyms (LOL, OMG, NSFW, WTF). While most of the entries illustrate the dominance of English-language—and especially American—popular culture on the internet, there are a few entries that are uniquely French in nature, such as Doctissimo (a reference site for “les hypocondriaques francophones” [French-speaking hypochondriacs]) and Frédéric Lefebvre (a deputy of the center-right Union pour un mouvement populaire [Union for a Popular Movement] party known for his often inflammatory statements). A snapshot of our quickly changing times, Encyclopédie de la webculture is a worthwhile addition to collections of contemporary French studies.

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Last update: November 2013 [RT]
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