Review by Choice Review
Going beyond the traditional emphasis such works place on language and literary studies, this encyclopedia defines "culture" far more broadly, including virtually all aspects of contemporary Spanish life: architecture, cinema, the economy, education, fashion, food and drink, gay culture, intellectual life, language, literature, the media, music, politics, religion, society, sport, and youth culture. Coverage extends from the end of the Civil War (1939) to the present, but emphasizes the period since Franco's death (1975) and the subsequent transition of Spain to a modern liberal democracy and the loosening of old taboos and restrictions. Since "Spanish" includes everything within the national political boundaries, the Basque, Catalan, and Galician components are well represented. Knowledge of Spanish, though obviously an advantage, is not a prerequisite to using the encyclopedia. The more than 700 signed entries range in length from a sentence or two to one or more pages. Cross-references are printed in boldface, and suggestions for further reading (often briefly annotated) are generally plentiful. The index is excellent. Well-done and appealing , highly recommended especially for collections serving Iberian or European area or cultural studies. C. E. Perry; East Central University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
These one-volume, alphabetically arranged encyclopedias present information current through 1998. They follow the publisher's Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture [RBB S 15 98]. Encyclopedia of Contemporary German Culture has 1,144 entries that "[reflect] the broadening of perspectives and approaches in German Studies that has occurred in the English-speaking world in recent years." The editorial staff is university based as are the 159 contributors, identified in the introduction as "specialist[s] in the field concerned." The articles are signed. Examining the years since 1945, the aim of the encyclopedia is "to give coverage to areas of `high' or `canonical' culture, and at the same time to extend the purview to `popular' culture." Emphasis is greater for broad movements, large social institutions, and mass phenomena than for individuals or events of lesser impact. For example, actors, directors, and writers receive less in-depth treatment than politicians or major literary movements. Lengthy articles (up to 2,000 words) are reserved for such topics as Architecture and Holocaust. The introduction states clearly that where literary figures are concerned, entries are generally kept brief, listing essential biographical data and a few lines characterizing work and significance. Most articles have useful and well-coordinated cross-references embedded and appended. Other navigational tools include the index and an extensive list of headwords grouped by area, located at the beginning of the volume. Most articles are followed by lists for further reading, generally of English-language works, though works in German are noted as well. Coverage is thorough, especially in the political and arts arenas. Similar in structure and treatment, Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture has 750 entries. It "reflects the expansion of interest in Spanish culture which has been a feature not only of academic life but of the general public arena during the last quarter of the twentieth century." Coverage begins with the end of the civil war in 1939 (with emphasis on the post-Franco period) and encompasses the Catalan, Galician, and Basque languages and cultures. Though there are fewer individual topics here than in the German volume, entries tend to be longer. Examples of headwords--Banderas, Antonio; Church finances; Civil rights; Fast food outlets; Guggenheim Museum; Marriage and divorce; Picasso, Pablo; and Student protestdemonstrate the volume's range. These encyclopedias are factually correct, balanced presentations that give clear, if somewhat dry, pictures of current German and Spanish culture. Their breadth allows for cross-disciplinary applicability. These thorough overviews will be of interest to college and university students in such diverse areas as political science, religion, and the arts.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Part of a series of encyclopedias on contemporary culture, these two works offer cross-referenced entries, alphabetically arranged, that include both specific and general topics. All articles are signed, and a subject listing, a list of contributors with their affiliations, and suggestions for further reading are included. Coverage in the Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture begins with the 1960s but stresses the 1990s. Many inconsistencies emerge: while individual film directors, intellectuals, and visual artists are treated, musicians, politicians, and literary authors are not. Little uniformity exists between similar entries: "actors (male)" discusses all acting venues but "actors (female)" deals almost exclusively with cinema. Entries tend to be more analysis than fact, and statistics in many expected places are absent. For instance, the entry for "cars" omits any information on manufacturing or ownership and instead discusses four-wheel-drive advertising gimmicks. Far more useful is Bamber Gascoigne's Encyclopedia of Britain (Macmillan, 1993). Coverage in The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture begins with the end of the Civil War in 1939, emphasizing the post-Franco period (after 1975). It is inclusive of Catalan, Galician, and Basque languages and cultures. Musicians, politicians, and writers are treated, and entries may include a bibliography, filmography, or discography of an entrant's major works. General topics receive more thorough and factual treatment, such as the entry for "sexual behavior," which discusses contradictory poll results, statistics regarding both attitudes and behavior, and considerations of age, gender, and geographic location. Altogether a more sound reference work than the Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture, it also provides more consistently annotated, relevant, and numerous bibliographic references. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.ÄAnna Youssefi, Univ. of Houston Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.