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New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, 1st Edition

  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 0684314525
  • ISBN-13: 9780684314525
  • DDC: 903
  • Grade Level Range: 9th Grade - College Senior
  • 2780 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2005 | Published/Released December 2004
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2005

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What are the origins of the concepts under which we organize societies, create institutions and think about our lives? Where did the concept of God or equal rights or democracy come from? How does one idea influence another? Such questions fuel debates, speeches, papers and assignments in history classes, school speaking competitions, ethics classes and more.

The publication of the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas marks the return of a reference work that is an essential tool to make the often complex history of "what we think" accessible to students and general readers. The original 1974 Dictionary of the History of Ideas has long been admired as a landmark document encapsulating the thinking of an era. This thoroughly re-envisioned New Dictionary of the History of Ideas brings fresh intelligence and a global perspective to bear on timeless questions about the individual and society. A distinguished team of international scholars explore new thinking in areas previously covered (communism, linguistics, physics) and present cross-cultural perspectives on more recent topics such as postmodernism, deconstruction and post-colonialism.

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Features and Benefits

  • Hundreds of signed articles arranged alphabetically.
  • Productive browsing further supported by a topical outline of contents that appears in each volume.
  • Area specialists on Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and North America, and specialists on women's studies and ethnic studies advised on the ideas most important to include.


  • RUSA's Outstanding Reference Sources 2012

Alternate Formats

  • Casebound Edition

    ISBN-10: 0684313774 | ISBN-13: 9780684313771


"Selected as a 2005 RUSA outstanding reference source, the new edition of this long-standing favorite aids our understanding of the ideas that make up Western culture. Expanding on the original Dictionary of the History of Ideas (1974), edited by Philip Wiener, the New Dictionary has a broader scope introducing global- and gender-neutral perspectives not present in its Eurocentric predecessor. Academic excellence and scholarship don't keep this six-volume set from interesting the lay reader. The 700 accessible articles present new material, with original entries on feminism and antifeminism, queer theory, and nongender topics like diversity, social capital, and third cinema. Standard subjects, like beauty and love, are treated at length in the earlier set and simply updated in the new version to include late 20th-century ideas and non-Western thought. Each entry explores origin, cultural interpretations, and historical themes. The alphabetical arrangement is not an impediment to cross-disciplinary study, since a reader's guide and full index present material in a topical framework. Bottom Line This delightful foray into humankind's ideas, from abolitionism to Zionism, is a bargain highly recommended as an essential purchase for academic libraries. Public libraries of all sizes would also greatly benefit from its one-stop-shopping approach to the philosophy of ideas." --Library Journal, April 2005

— Library Journal

"This set’s impressive depth is illustrated by entries like "Text/Textuality" next to "Textiles and Fiber Arts" as "Catalysts for Ideas." Summing up: Highly recommended. Academic and Research Libraries." --Choice, July/August 2005

— Choice

"Browsing through the set, we see articles on democracy, evil, feminism, gay studies, middle eastern notions of humor, liberalism and social Darwinism. New topics that are gender and global-inclusive include Afrocentricity, critical race theory, man and masculinity and yin/yang. There are even a series of visual essays which use images rather than words. This is a great place to send a new generation of students, either in print or as an eBook." --Library Journal, (Library Journal, Best Reference Sources 2005), April 2006

— Library Journal

"This is an entirely new work rather than a mere revision, featuring more than twice as many articles as the original (well over 700 as compared to just over 300) as well as a more definite global view of the topics covered when compared to the Eurocentric nature of the older set. Just as telling, reflecting the scholarly shift over the past 30 years, are entries that no longer exist, such as Baconianism; Faith, hope, and charity; and Uniformitarianism and catastrophism. Although the original edition was not entirely bereft of illustrations, they were sparse. Not so with this edition: black-and-white illustrations are scattered throughout, most notably in entries such as Architecture, Humanity in the arts, Iconography, and Maps and the ideas they express. The detailed "Reader’s Guide" is a good companion to the index, which occupies more than 200 pages. Articles conclude with up-to-date bibliographies (often divided into primary and secondary sources) and see also references. The casual reader will likely miss an entry often referred to in various cross-references: the 54-page essay Historiography, which is placed just after the preface in volume 1 rather than in the main alphabetic arrangement. It would have been helpful to mention this placement in the see also references. This is a well-written set that will appeal to anyone interested in the topic. This well-written set is highly recommended for large public and academic libraries. In all, well worth the 30-year wait." --Booklist, May 2005

— Booklist

"An entirely new work, rather than a mere revision, it features of twice as many articles as the original, as well as a more definite global view." --Booklist, February 2006

— Book Crossing

"Sure to become a standard in reference collections this set will be a great addition to all academic and large public libraries." --ARBA, March 2006