The Bibliotheca Britannica is one of the most remarkable examples of bibliographical scholarship in the English Language. This scarce work of reference continues to be an invaluable resource for scholars and librarians who wish to identify early printed materials covering a wide range of disciplines. Routledge is pleased to make this important source of information more widely available. Published in 1824, it is estimated to include more than 200,000 books, pamphlets and periodicals printed from 1450 to the early nineteenth century.
The Bibliotheca is divided into four large-format volumes which are presented as a boxed set. The first and second volumes contain an alphabetical listing of over 40,000 authors and their biographical details. Full length titles of works, date and place of publication, and information on translations and subsequent editions are provided for each author. The entries covering the earliest printed texts contain details of British and foreign printers.
Volumes three and four provide an encyclopedic index to volumes one and two. The works are listed within 30,000 subject areas, in chronological order of publication. Subjects, authors and titles are fully cross-referenced using an ingenious indexing system.
Robert Watt devoted 25 years of his life to the Bibliotheca's compilation. He was born in 1774 and studied classical languages and philosophy at Glasgow University. Later he became a student of anatomy and theology at Edinburgh, and practised as a doctor. His interest in the history of medicine led him to begin compiling the Bibliography, which he extended to include works on law, history, language, philosophy, science, technology, travel and geography, and classical literature.