Leslie Stephen: Dictionary of National Biography

(4679 words)
  • Gillian Fenwick (University of Toronto)

The first series of the Dictionary of National Biography was published in 63 volumes between January 1885 and June 1900. It is a landmark in publishing history and a monument to Victorian enterprise and intellectual life. It remains a valuable reference tool even with the advent of the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, a project that stands parallel to rather than in the place of the DNB. Leslie Stephen was the first editor. Despite his other, highly notable work, it is the DNB for which he is most often remembered, yet the immediate success of the project was limited and the work almost killed him. From the outset he had doubts about its scope and his own abilities, and his fears proved, …

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Fenwick, Gillian. "Dictionary of National Biography". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=9021, accessed 27 November 2015.]