A New Britannica

Drop in any evening at a literary pub in Edinburgh and you are likely to find William Smellie, who will expansively declare that he was the editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, published in 1771. And he is apt to say of his achievement: "I wrote most of it, my lad, and snipped out from books enough material for the printer. With pastepot and scissors I composed it." But as of now, Editor Smellie is finished at the Britannica. Because of the encyclopedia's success, both in Britain...

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