Konversationslexikon: Brockhaus 1827, volume 12
Compulsory reading for the cultured classes: Allgemeine deutsche Real-Encyklopaedie für die gebildeten Staende, also known as Conversations-Lexikon. The 12th volume (W to Z) of the “seventh original edition” of the work published by F. A. Brockhaus in Leipzig in the year 1827
Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek Leipzig, Fotografie: Michael Setzpfandt


The A-Z of industrialisation

In temperament he was taciturn rather than loquacious, and he cherished a yearning for self-education. That is to say, he loved to read books, even though their contents came alike to him whether they were books of heroic adventure or mere grammars or liturgical compendia. As I say, he perused every book with an equal amount of attention ...

Nikolai Gogol, Die toten Seelen, 1842 (übersetzt von Alexander Eliasberg)

Education is developing one’s own personality. It is based to a great extent on attaining an understanding of the world, something that each person has to achieve individually, by reading (Journal, Newspaper) and writing (Script) or travelling (Travelling) and involves technical (Technology), scientific (Science), ethical and aesthetic (Ornament) aspects. Unlike vocational training, education is not driven by purely economic interests (Capital). Education enables people to transcend social barriers and has a powerful emancipatory influence.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the Konversationslexikon became one of the most important educational media. Its aim was to present knowledge in an easily understandable way. The encyclopaedia by the Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus publishing house, published in 1827 in its seventh edition, became a seminal work. A preface by the publisher accompanying the 12th volume from the year 1829 noted: “This work, which bears the title Conversations-Lexikon, has been compulsory reading for the cultured classes of our nation for 33 years now”.