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Dictionary of the History of Ideas

Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas
170 occurrences of ideology
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Preface to the Electronic Edition

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170 occurrences of ideology
[Clear Hits]

Preface to the Electronic Edition

On behalf of the Directors and Board of Editors of the Journal of the History of Ideas, we are pleased to make available, through digitization, a valuable reference work produced in an earlier generation by a remarkably talented group of scholars. Authors who contributed articles to the Dictionary of the History of Ideas include Isaiah Berlin, George Boas, Herbert Butterfield, Merle Curti, Mircea Eliade, Joan Kelly Gadol, Sidney Hook, Milton Konvitz, Leonard Kreiger, Judith Shklar, Peter N. Stearns, and René Wellek. The editor of the Dictionary was Philip P. Wiener, who was also for many years editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas. Current JHI Editors and Contributing Editors who wrote for the DHI include Robert M. Kingdon, Helen North, Jerrold E. Seigel, and John W. Yolton.

Published in its original edition in 1973-74 and last reprinted in 1977-1980, the Dictionary of the History of Ideas was a culminating work in a tradition that had been energized by the fight against fascism. It was a tradition committed to the pursuit of disinterested scholarship in the academic sphere and to free expression of thought in the political sphere (as in Arnaldo Momigliano's article "Freedom of Speech in Antiquity"). Among reviewers, F. E. L. Priestley called the Dictionary "monumental," noting the "impressive list of 254 contributors, drawn from a world-wide range of institutions," and Roy Porter remarked on its "conceptual richness," "authoritativeness," and "originality." Peter Gay, anticipating another, different style of research, perceptively suggested that "the cultural history of the future toward which our profession is now aiming will have to embrace both thinker and demagogue, poet and peasant, the writer and the reader of newspaper articles."

The articles contained in this Dictionary return us to time when it was still possible to speak with a confident authoritativeness about central ideas in the Western tradition (non-Western traditions make only a marginal appearance in this work, although there are entries on "China in Western Thought and Culture" and "Islamic Conceptions of Intellectual Life"). As we move into a new century, there are still things to be learned from our scholarly authors about such subjects as "Allegory," "Authority," " "Democracy," "Humanism in Italy," "Love," "Protest Movements," "Relativity," "Religious Toleration," "Romanticism" (in various permutations), "Social Attitudes toward Women," and "War and Militarism."

The ideal reader of the Dictionary of the History of Ideas is whoever finds sustenance in the clear exposition of influential ideas. The DHI recounts the historical development of such ideas across a range of disciplines, including philosophy, religion, politics, literature, and the biological, physical, and social sciences. We imagine a student sitting at a computer or reading a printout far from the academic capitals where most of these articles were written. We salute you for your curiosity. We recommend this Dictionary as a starting point. We invite you to interact with and to contribute to the panorama of ideas.

Many people have helped in making possible the electronic edition of the DHI. Aside from the people who typed and retyped the entire text, and those who fine-tuned the resulting product, we want particularly to note the efforts of: Jim Draper, Director of Business Development, The Gale Group (http://www.galegroup.com); David Seaman, former Director of the Electronic Text Center; Matthew Gibson, Associate Director of the Electronic Text Center; and Jayme Schwartzberg for the design of the site.

Maryanne Cline Horowitz, Occidental College and UCLA
Donald R. Kelley, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Allan Megill, University of Virginia

Publications Committee, Journal of the History of Ideas
January 2003