From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The seventeenth edition of Bartlett's has 25,000 quotations from 2,500 authors. It follows in the path of its predecessors by adhering to certain traditions yet also strives to remain relevant and up-to-date. Bartlett's original collection relied heavily on literary sources, such as the Bible and Shakespeare, and these, as current editor Kaplan tells us in his preface, "are still major components." Structurally, arrangement is still chronological and access is abetted by an index of authors and a very detailed keyword index. But for this edition, hundreds of "purely mechanical, nonsubstantive cross-reference and footnotes" have been eliminated, and full citations are used in place of the often-confusing Ibid. And Bartlett's continues to widen its net beyond canonical sources, casting about for material from culture both high and low. New among the quoted are Maya Angelou, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Princess Diana, Rudy Giuliani, Frank McCourt, Robert McNamara, and Jerry Seinfeld. Selections from Charles Darwin, Bob Dylan, and Virginia Woolf, among others, have been expanded. Some authors, such as popular eighteenth-century English writer Anna Laetitia Barbauld, have been excised, although cutting has not been as deep for this edition as it was for the sixteenth, also edited by Kaplan.
There are hundreds of other quotation books from which to choose. Among those that are comparable in size to Bartlett's, The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (5th ed., 1999) is arranged alphabetically by author, and Random House Webster's Quotationary (1999) is arranged by subject. In addition to these general anthologies, there are books of quotations by women and by African Americans; books of humorous or religions quotations; and books for quotations about movies or sports (for a rundown of some recent examples, see "Other People's Words: Recent Quotation Books," in our July 2002 issue). Strictly speaking, the new Bartlett's may not be a necessary purchase for libraries that have the sixteenth edition and a good array of other fairly current titles. But because it is one of the handful of reference staples that patrons are likely to ask for by name, no self-respecting library should be without it. RBB
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