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Pliny's Natural History, the first encyclopedia.
Featuring chapters like "Other wonderful things related to dolphins"
and one mentioning the lynx and the sphinx in a single passage.
Obviously he got a lot very wrong
, but it launched a tradition of authoritative encyclopedias. More recently, you hopefully know that the forty-four million word eleventh (1911) edition of Encyclopedia Britannica
is online, later volumes are not, but you can still find elsewhere Trotsky's article on Lenin
, Freud's on psychoanalysis
, Houdini on conjuring
, or Lawrence of Arabia on guerillas
. Britannica also offers a series of articles from its archives
showing how views on Mars
or the debate in 1768 over whether California was an island
. Other fascinating encyclopedias online include the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
and the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia
, and the Encyclopedia Mythica
posted by blahblahblah
on Jul 5, 2005 -