Chambers Biographical Dictionary provides concise descriptions of over 18,000 notable figures from Britain and the rest of the world. It was first published in 1897.
The centenary edition (ISBN 0-550-16060-4) was edited by Melanie Parry and the revised edition (ISBN 0-550-18022-2) was edited by J. O. Thorne and T. C. Collocott. The 9th edition, 2011, has biographies of over 18,000 people, most consisting of about a dozen lines in a two-column page layout. Some however run to 50 lines or more while Shakespeare covers two pages. Entries typically consist of place of birth, a summary on education or career, and achievements or publications. A single reference source is usually given.
The publishers, Chambers Harrap, who were formerly based in Edinburgh, claim their Biographical Dictionary is the most comprehensive and authoritative single-volume biographical dictionary available, covering entries in such areas as sport, science, music, art, literature, politics, television, and film. The 1990 reprint is published by University Press, Cambridge.
The centenary edition contained well over 17,500 alphabetically arranged articles describing the nationality, occupation, and achievements of each person, as well as 250 panels which focus on a wide variety of individuals regarded as being particularly important, influential, and interesting. Sources are given and there are thousands of suggestions for further reading.
Famous quotes containing the words dictionary, chambers and/or biographical:
“I am hungry and you give me
a dictionary to decipher.”
—Anne Sexton (19281974)
“O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Natures soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lulled with sound of sweetest melody?”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“Biography, in its purer form, confined to the ended lives of the true and brave, may be held the fairest meed of human virtueone given and received in entire disinterestednesssince neither can the biographer hope for acknowledgment from the subject, not the subject at all avail himself of the biographical distinction conferred.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)