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Reviews Joanne Shattock, ed., The Cambridge Bibliography of EnglishLiterature Volume 4, 1800-1900. Third Edition Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. The combined erudition assembled in this volume is awesome. Heading a team of 180 identified contributors (some work was done inhouse ), recruited from the international scholarly community, the editor, Joanne Shattock, pays tribute to their talents, saying, "[their] professionalism and persistent desire for accuracy and comprehensiveness was salutary" (Acknowledgments, x). In planning this volume, the first to appear of a projected 5 volumes of the new third edition of the CambridgeBibliography ofEnglishLiterature (originally published as the CBEL, 1940, and NCBEL between 1969 and 1974) the editor faced a number of difficult decisions. Of primary concern, of course, was the content and general arrangement of the work. This work is composed of sixteen sections as opposed to six for the last edition, due mainly to a different system of organization . Whereas the earlier work listed all the subdivisions direcdy on the Contents pages, this edition is simplified by a single initial "Contents Summary" followed a few pages later with a detailed listing of subdivisions. This makes it much easier for the user and eliminates much flipping of pages. Those familiar with the now "old" NCBEL will notice immediately that the former distinction between major and "minor" authors has been abandoned, which is a welcome change because how does one determine the criteria for labeling someone "minor," and in the climate of the current revisionist thinking the rating might very well be reversed. Retained is the older practice of indicating authorship of individual articles by giving initials at the end. In a spare, cogent, well-written "Editor's Preface" Shattock defines the book's mission as a "definitive primary bibliography of nineteenth -century authors and texts" and identifies the two primary tasks faced by contributors as the opportunity to "update and augment the bibliographical details already available," and to introduce "hundreds of entries for writers previously omitted" (vii).The resultingvolume is Victorian Review111 Reviews more than 50% longer than its predecessor. Perhaps most interesting changes are the new additions which reflect research trends in the last thirty years. Recendy the Modern Language Association of America offered its membership the opportunity to reflect on the profession and comment on a series of questions, two of which were: "Did your field exist in 1900?" and "What is the most important change since 1900?" In the more than 200 replies received (published in PMLA, December, 2000, vol. 45, no. 7, a Special Millennium issue) the response to the second query was almost universally "diversity," in one form or another. Whether it was women's studies, multicultural change, interdisciplinary emphasis, new critical approaches, or other, all pointed to the consistent and relendess broadening of humanistic studies. In this sense the new bibliography is certainly the child of its time, reflecting the diversity and changing ideas of the current scholarly community, at die same time that is seizes the opportunity to build and expand on what has gone before. Some sections have been substantially altered, such as poetry, particularly for the years 1800-1835, which is now 5 times longer; listing of novelists has also been expanded. Children's books now notes more than four hundred authors. The source material for dramatists as well as nineteenth-century theatre is now more complete. Entirely new sections include Political Economy and one dealing with domestic matters, such as household books, domestic manuals, and etiquette guides, once thought too trivial to be noticed, but now seen as important cultural archives. The section on Philosophy has been expanded to include Science. One theme which vibrates across all die disciplines and reflects primary research trends over the last thirty years is material dealing with women. As their role in society has been reexamined new evidence of their importance is found not only in literature, but in "history , philosophy, science, English studies, and non-fictional prose" (vii). Newspapers and Magazines has added two subsections—"News Agencies" and "Press Organizations"—both the result of important 112volume 27 number 2 Reviews recent research. Used in conjunction withJohn North's Waterloo Directory of EnglishNewspapersandMagazine, 1800-1900, Series 1, this will provide an important new research tool...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 111-113
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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