Photo: Magnus Hjalmarsson, Uppsala University Library

The impulse to collect and order human knowledge may be as old as writing itself. Encyclopedias – in all their shapes and sizes – are some of the strongest expressions of this desire. Yet, dreams of complete knowledge have rarely been easily achieved. Throughout centuries, people have tried and failed.

Stranded encyclopedias is the first international symposium devoted to abandoned encyclopedic works, their forgotten production histories and compilers. During two days, fifteen scholars from eight countries present cases from a three-hundred-year period. Together they give insights into the varieties, motivations, changes, and global diffusion of alphabetical encyclopedic practice, as well as the continuous development of our modern knowledge society.   

If published encyclopedias are the top of an iceberg, how large is the body below the surface, and what – and who – will we find there?

The symposium is a collaboration between Stockholm University (Department of Culture and Aesthetics) and Aalborg University (Department of Culture and Global Studies), funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and the Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond). 


Thursday, 13 September

Venue: Geo-Science Building, Svante Arrhenius väg 8–12, Frescati

Room: Y 23



Coffee and refreshments
For all present


Welcome and information

Linn Holmberg and Maria Simonsen


Introduction and rationale of the Symposium

Linn Holmberg


Session 1. Stranded encyclopedias in eighteenth-century France

Chair: Lynda Mugglestone (University of Oxford, UK). 

Annelie Grosse (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science and Humanities, Germany)
‘Christian philosophy in the Enlightenment’s flagship encyclopedia: Jean Henri Samuel Formey’s unfinished philosophical encyclopedia (1742–1747) as a source of the Encyclopédie’
Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink (Saarland University, Germany)
‘Reinventing economic encyclopedias: Abbé Morellet’s ambitious projet of a Nouveau Dictionnaire de commerce (1769) and its (provisional) failure’
David Eick (Grand Valley State University, USA)
‘Stranded dictionaries during the French Revolution’
Lisanne Jansen (Leiden University, Netherlands)
‘From Abécédaire to Aval via Absalon: Mme de Genlis’ unfinished encyclopedia’

12:30 Lunch

Presenters and invited guests


Session 2. Stranded encyclopedias across the globe

Chair: Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink (Saarland University, Germany)

Clorinda Donato (California State University, USA)
‘Stranded geographies: Italy for Italians in the Dizionario di geografia moderna composto per l’Enciclopedica metodica (1797)’
Linn Holmberg (Stockholm University, Sweden)
‘Stranded encyclopedias in eighteenth-century Scandinavia’
Ana Maria Alfonso-Goldfarb, Marcia H M Ferraz & Elaine de Souza (co-author: Silvia Waisse) (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil)
‘Stranded Brazilian encyclopedias: a late affair’
Poster: Bertha M. Gutiérrez Rodilla (University of Salamanca, Spain) and Carmen Quijada Diez (University of Oviedo, Spain).
‘Stranded encyclopedic medical dictionaries in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Spain’

15:30–16:30 Coffee and refreshments
For all present

Symposium dinner
Presenters and invited guests

Friday, 14 September

Venue: Geo-Science Building, Svante Arrhenius väg 8–12, Frescati

Room: U 28

09:45–10:00 Coffee and refreshments
For all present

Session 3. Stranded encyclopedias in the modern era

Chair: Clorinda Donato (California State University, USA)

Marianne Brooker (University of London, UK)
‘Bringing knowledge into encyclopaedic forms: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the ‘materials of method’
Lynda Mugglestone (University of Oxford, UK).
‘Stranded in time: Andrew Clark and the language of WW1’
Marija Ivanovic (co-author: Stefanie Kremmel) (University of Vienna, Austria)
‘The Arnold-Lissance-Archive – A stranded translator’s dictionary’
Maria Simonsen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
‘From printed to digitized: the history of how the Danish national encyclopedia stranded twice’


Closing remarks

Linn Holmberg and Maria Simonsen

12:30 Lunch

Presenters and invited guests


Mini-workshop: “Stranded encyclopedias – the anthology” (symposium presenters only)


Coffee and refreshments
Presenters and invited guests


Contact the organizers

Linn Holmberg, PhD
Researcher and teacher in History of Science and Ideas
Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University, Sweden

Maria Simonsen, PhD
Assistant professor in History  
Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University, Denmark

Aalborg University, Riksbankens jubileumsfond, Stockholm University.