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Encyclopaedia Metropolitana

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The Encyclopaedia Metropolitana was published in London, 1845, 4to, 28 vols., and was issued in 59 parts in 1817-1845 (22,426 pages, 565 plates).

It professed to give sciences and systematic arts entire and in their natural sequence, as shown in the introductory treatise on method by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The plan was the proposal of Coleridge, and it had at least enough of a poetical character to be eminently unpractical (Quarterly Review, cxiii, 379). However defective the plan, the excellence of many of the treatises by Archbishop Richard Whately, Sir John Herschel, Professors Peter Barlow, George Peacock, Augustus de Morgan, etc., is undoubted.

It is in four divisions, the last only being alphabetical:

  • I. Pure Sciences, 2 vols., 1,813 pages, 16 plates, 28 treatises, includes grammar, law and theology;
  • II. Mixed and Applied Sciences, 8 vols., 5,391 pages, 437 plates, 42 treatises, including fine arts, useful arts, natural history and its application, the medical sciences;
  • III. History and Biography, 5 vols., 4,458 pages, 7 maps, containing biography (135 essays) chronologically arranged (to Thomas Aquinas in vol. 3), and interspersed with (210) chapters on history (to 1815), as the most philosophical, interesting and natural form (but modern lives were so many that the plan broke down, and a division of biography, to be in 2vols., was announced but not published);
  • IV. Miscellaneous, 12 vols., 10,338 pages, 105 plates, including geography, a dictionary of English and descriptive natural history.

The index, 364 pages, contains about 9,000 articles.

A re-issue in 38 vols. 4to, was announced in 1849. Of a second edition 42 vols. 8vo, 14,744 pages, belonging to divisions i. to iii., were published in 1849-1858.

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