"The NUTTALL ENCYCLOPÆDIA" is the fruit of a project to provide, in a concise and condensed form, and at a cheap rate, an epitome of the kind of information given in the larger Encyclopædias, such as may prove sufficient for the ordinary requirements, in that particular, of the generality of people, and especially of such as have not the means for purchasing or the leisure for studying the larger.
   An Encyclopædia is now recognised to be as indispensable a book of reference as a dictionary; for while the latter explains and defines the vehicle of thought, the former seeks to define the subject-matter. Now the rapid increase in the vocabulary of a nation, which makes the possession of an up-to-date dictionary almost one of the necessaries of life, is evidently due to the vast increase in the number of facts which the language has to describe or interpret; and if it is difficult to keep pace with the growth in the language, it is obviously more difficult to attain even a working knowledge of the array of facts which in this age come before us for discussion. No man can now peruse even a daily newspaper without being brought face to face with details about questions of the deepest interest to him; and he is often unable to grasp the meaning of what he reads for want of additional knowledge or explanation. In short, it becomes more and more a necessity of modern life to know something of everything. A little knowledge is not dangerous to those who recognise it to be little, and it may be sufficient to enable those who possess it to understand and enjoy intelligently what would otherwise only weigh as a burdensome reflection upon their ignorance. Even a comparatively exhaustive treatment of the multitudinous subjects comprehended under the term universal knowledge would demand a library of large volumes, hence the extent and heavy cost of the great Encyclopædias. But it is doubtful whether the mass of information contained in those admirable and bulky works does not either go beyond, or, more frequently than not, fall short of the requirements of those who refer to them. For the special student there is too little, for the general reader too much. Detailed knowledge of any subject in this age of specialisation can be acquired only by study of the works specifically devoted to it. What is wanted in a popular Encyclopædia is succinct information - the more succinct the better, so long as it gives what is required by the inquiry, leaving it to the authorities in each subject to supply the information desired by those intent on pursuing it further. The value of an Encyclopædia of such small scope must depend, therefore, upon the careful selection of its materials, and in this respect it is hoped the one now offered to the public will be found adequate to any reasonable demands made upon it. If the facts given here are the facts that the great majority are in search of when they refer to its pages, it may be claimed for "The Nuttall Encyclopædia" that, in one respect at all events it is more valuable for instant reference than the best Encyclopædia in many volumes; for "The Nuttall" can lie on the desk for ready-to-hand reference, and yields at a glance the information wanted.
   Within the necessary limits of a single volume the Editor persuades himself he has succeeded in including a wide range of subjects, and he trusts that the information he has given on these will meet in some measure at least the wants of those for whom the book has been compiled. To the careful Newspaper Reader; to Heads of Families, with children at school, whose persistent questions have often to go without an answer; to the Schoolmaster and Tutor; to the student with a shallow purse; to the Busy Man and Man of Business, it is believed that this volume will prove a solid help.
   The subjects, as hinted, are various, and these the Editor may be permitted to classify in a general way under something like the following rubrics: -
   1. Noted people, their nationality, the time when they flourished, and what they are noted for.
   2. Epochs, important movements, and events in history, with the dates and their historical significance.
   3. Countries, provinces, and towns, with descriptions of them, their sizes, populations, etc., and what they are noted for.
   4. Heavenly bodies, especially those connected with the solar system, their sizes, distances, and revolutions.
   5. Races and tribes of mankind, with features that characterise them.
   6. Mythologies, and the account they severally give of the divine and demonic powers, supreme and subordinate, that rule the world.
   7. Religions of the world, with their respective credos and objects and forms of worship.
   8. Schools of philosophy, with their theories of things and of the problems of life and human destiny.
   9. Sects and parties, under the different systems of belief or polity, and the specialities of creed and policy that divide them.
   10. Books of the world, especially the sacred ones, and the spiritual import of them; in particular those of the Bible, on each of which a note or two is given.
   11. Legends and fables, especially such as are more or less of world significance.
   12. Characters in fiction and fable, both mediæval and modern.
   13. Fraternities, religious and other, with their symbols and shibboleths.
   14. Families of note, especially such as have developed into dynasties.
   15. Institutions for behoof of some special interest, secular or sacred, including universities.
   16. Holidays and festivals, with what they commemorate, and the rites and ceremonies connected with them.
   17. Science, literature, and art in general, but these chiefly in connection with the names of those distinguished in the cultivation of them.
   Such, in a general way, are some of the subjects contained in the book, while there is a number of others not reducible to the classification given, and among these the Editor has included certain subjects of which he was able to give only a brief definition, just as there are doubtless others which in so wide an area of research have escaped observation and are not included in the list. In the selection of subjects the Editor experienced not a little embarrassment, and he was not unfrequently at a loss to summarise particulars under several of the heads. Such as it is, the Editor offers the book to the public, and he hopes that with all its shortcomings it will not be unfavourably received.

The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. . 1907.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • préface — [ prefas ] n. f. • prefaice fin XIIe; lat. præfatio, de præfari « dire d avance » 1 ♦ Texte placé en tête d un livre qui est de l auteur ou d une autre personne, et qui sert à le présenter au lecteur. ⇒ avant propos, avertissement, avis,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Preface — • The first part of the Eucharistic prayers in all rites Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Preface     Preface     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • preface — PREFACE. s. f. Avant propos, discours preliminaire que l on met ordinairement à la teste d un livre pour preparer le lecteur. Grande, longue preface. belle preface. preface ennuyeuse. faire une preface. l Autheur a mis une excellente preface à la …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • preface — PREFÁCE, prefác, vb. III. 1. tranz. şi refl. A da sau a lua o formă nouă, un conţinut nou; a (se) transforma, a (se) modifica, a (se) schimba, a (se) preschimba. 2. tranz. A repara, a reface un obiect, schimbându i (parţial sau total) aspectul,… …   Dicționar Român

  • Preface — Préface Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Preface — Pref ace, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Prefaced}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Prefacing}.] To introduce by a preface; to give a preface to; as, to preface a book discourse. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Preface — Pref ace (?; 48), n. [F. pr[ e]face; cf. Sp. prefacio, prefacion, It. prefazio, prefazione; all fr. L. praefatio, fr. praefari to speak or say beforehand; prae before + fari, fatus, to speak. See {Fate}.] 1. Something spoken as introductory to a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • preface — Preface, et prologue d un livre, Propos preparatif de ce que nous voulons dire puis apres, Prologus, Praefatio, Exordium. Celuy qui recite la preface és comedies, Prologus. Faire une preface, un preambule, ou une entrée de plaidoirie, Exordium… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • preface — ► NOUN 1) an introduction to a book, stating its subject, scope, or aims. 2) the preliminary part of a speech. ► VERB 1) provide with a preface. 2) (preface with/by) begin (a speech or event) with or by doing something. DERIVATIVES …   English terms dictionary

  • preface — [pref′is] n. [ME prefas < MFr < ML prefatia, for L praefatio < prae , before (see PRE ) + fatus, pp. of fari, to speak: see FAME] 1. [usually P ] R.C.Ch. the introduction to the Canon of the Mass, ending with the Sanctus 2. an… …   English World dictionary

  • Preface — Pref ace, v. i. To make a preface. Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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