Cover image for Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture
Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture
Childs, Peter, 1962-
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Routledge, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxvii, 628 pages ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library DA589.4 .E53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Containing over 970 alphabetically arranged entries, this encyclopaedia surveys British cultural practices and icons in the latter half of the 20th century. Examining both high culture and popular culture, and encompassing the more institutional as well as alternative aspects of British culture (from architecture to pubs, film to internet and current takes on the monarchy), the Encyclopedia casts its net over the whole range of British contemporary life. These entries provide insight into a culture which is dynamic, eclectic and in a constant state of flux. A comprehensive system of cross-referencing and a thematic contents list assists readers to identify entries from particular fields. Entries range from short biographical synopses of the careers of key individuals to longer overview essays which explore the main issues within contemporary cultural debates.

Reviews 2

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.√ĄAnna Youssefi, Univ. of Houston Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Ostensibly a record of British life since 1960, this encyclopedia is lightweight scholarship in the dress of a serious reference work. Lacking consistency of selection (e.g., individual architects, designers, film directors, and intellectuals are included, but individual musicians, authors, dancers, politicians are not) and of treatment (some articles include considerable history--e.g., Orthodox Christianity, Methodism), the book offers a peculiarly skewed picture of culture and Britain. The editors make a distinction between culture and life, which presumably explains the omission of science, industry, construction, banking and financial services, medical practice and pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food, geography, history, economics, museums, and libraries. Even within its scope there are omissions aplenty (e.g., preservation activities especially in transportation, Cymdeithas yr Iath Gymraeg, vegetarianism). The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Oasis, Princess Diana, the National Trust, and Monty Python's Flying Circus must be accessed via the index, since none of them receive main entries. Only for libraries that can indulge 600 pages of trendiness. D. Hunter; University of Texas at Austin

Table of Contents

Afro-Caribbean communities
Asian Press
Black Theatre
Carnaby Street
Channel 4
Daniel Day-Lewis
Dennis Potter
Drink in Britain
FA Cup
Fashion (90s)
Glenda Jackson
Janet Street-Porter
Stanley Kubrick
Labour Party
Lucian Freud
Michael Caine
Nick Park
Notting Hill Carnival
Pop Art
Stanley Kubrick
The Rushdie Affair
Jasper Conran

Google Preview