Larousse

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This is a bibliography page, concerning a work to which reference is made elsewhere in this guide.


Larousse is one of the great names in French publishing, and in the publishing of dictionaries throughout the world. You may come across the word in academic writing by itself to support a reading or translation of a French word: it is often used without any precise indication of which edition, variety or date. You may like to see AWE's pages on dictionaries in general, and the US family of dictionaries at Merriam-Webster. Larousse resembles OUP as a publishing house in that, as well as managing and publishing works of immense and significant scholarship, it has a wide range of saubordinate products, usually of single volume size, and has diversified inot making them available on line.
Pierre Larousse (1817–1875) was a French schoolteacher who formed the ambitious plan of writing a great French dictionary and encyclopedia. From 1851 he had been the partner of Pierre-Augustin Boyer (1821-1896), another disillusioned ex-teacher, and together they founded the Librairie Larousse et Boyer, publishing progressive textbooks for children, and instruction manuals for teachers. In 1856 they published Nouveau Dictionnaire de la langue française,('New Dictionary of the French Language'), the forerunner of the Petit Larousse, but Larousse was already starting to plan his next, much larger project. On December 27, 1863 the first volume of the great encyclopedic dictionary, the Grand dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle (Great Universal 19th-Century Dictionary), appeared. It was praised by Victor Hugo and became a classic. It is still highly respected in its modern, revised form. In 1869 Larousse ended his partnership with Boyer and spent the rest of his life working on the Great Dictionary. The dictionary was finished (15 volumes, 1866–76; supplements 1878 and 1890), by Larousse's nephew Jules Hollier in 1876, after Larousse's death (in Paris in 1875) from a stroke caused by exhaustion.
  • Several strands of the general 'Larousse' brand may be distinguished:
    • Le petit Larousse ('The little Larousse'), usually Illustré ('illustrated') or en couleurs ('in colour') first published in 1905, edited by Claude Augé (1854-1924), is a single volume, the first part containing common words, defined and classified grammatically - what an anglophone would expect in an ordinary dictionary; a second part, containing what an anglophone would expect in an ordinary encyclopedia, i.e. proper nouns with an indication of their significance; and a group of pages of useful information, including explanations of Greek and Latin (and other) expressions, a universal chronology, and large pictures illustrating groups of things, such as plants, mushrooms, ships and costumes, designed to teach the distinctions. The Petit Larousse appears in an updated edition each year, given the date of the following year. Different formats include compact, large, junior and CD-ROM (only old editions appear on-line).
      • Larousse publishes many single-volume bilingual dictionaries, and dictionaries for individual subjects; some are for younger learners, and some for specialists, such as various works on grammar, Old French atlases, the Larousse Gastronomique
    • Le Grand Larousse (formally Grand Larousse encyclopédique en dix volumes) is an encyclopedia dictionary, which was published in 10 volumes bertween 1960 and 1964. Two supplementary volumes appeared in 1968 and 1975. A version in two volumes was published c.2007.
    • La Grande Encyclopédie en 20 volumes, which appeared in 20 volumes in 1971, has fewer dictionary articles, and a much fuller encyclopedia of knowledge:each entry is an article in the style of an encyclopedia.
      • Earlier versions of this were:
        • Grand dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle ('Great Universal Dictionary of the 19th Century'), often called the Grand Larousse du dix-neuvièmesupervised by Pierre Laroussetill his death in 1875, before its completion: it was publishede in 15 volumes betwen 1866 and 1876, with two supplements in 1877 and 1890.
        • Larousse du XXe siècle, dictionnaire encyclopédique universel en six volumes, edited by Paul Augé (1881-1951; son of Claude) between 1927 and 1933.