Library of Entertaining Knowledge

Portrait of a Kshatriya from The Hindoos (1835), in the "Library of Entertaining Knowledge"

The Library of Entertaining Knowledge was founded by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.[1] The books appeared from 1829 to 1838, published in London by Charles Knight, and complemented the Society's Library of Useful Knowledge, which had not sold as well as hoped.[2][3] The volumes were priced at 4s. 6d, more expensive than rival non-fiction series.[4]

Number Year Title Author
1[5] 1829 (31 March) The Menageries. Quadrupeds, Described and Drawn From Living Subjects James Rennie (anonymous)
1829 A Description and History of Vegetable Substances used in the Arts, and in Domestic Economy: Timber Trees: Fruits Robert Mudie (anonymous)
1830 The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties[6] George Lillie Craik (anonymous)
1830 The New Zealanders[7] George Lillie Craik (anonymous)
24 1830 Insect Architecture[8] James Rennie (anonymous)
1830 Insect Transformations[8] James Rennie (anonymous)
1831 Paris and Its Historical Scenes (2 Vols.) George Lillie Craik (anonymous)
1831 Insect Miscellanies[8] James Rennie (anonymous)
1831 The Architecture of Birds[9] James Rennie (anonymous)
35 1831–2 Pompeii (2 vols.) William Barnard Clarke (anonymous), later expanded[10][11]
1831–5 Historical Parallels (2 vols.)[12] Arthur Thomas Malkin (anonymous)
1832 Vegetable Substances Used for The Food of Man
12 1832–3 Criminal Trials (2 vols.)[13] David Jardine (anonymous)
1832-6 The British Museum. Egyptian Antiquities (2 vols.) George Long (anonymous)
18, 19 1833[14] The British Museum. Elgin and Phigaleian Marbles (2 vols.)[15] Sir Henry Ellis (anonymous)
1833 Vegetable Substances: Materials of Manufacture
1833 The Domestic Habits of Birds James Rennie (anonymous)
1834 History of British Costume James Planché (anonymous)
1834-5 The Hindoos (2 Vols.)[16] Revised by Friedrich August Rosen[17]
1835 The Faculties of Birds James Rennie (anonymous)
1836 The British Museum. The Townley Gallery (2 vols.)[15] Sir Henry Ellis (anonymous)
1836 Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (2 vols.)[18] Edward William Lane[19]
1836 The Chinese. A General Description of the Empire of China and its Inhabitants (2 vols.) John Francis Davis
1836 The Backwoods of Canada: Being Letters from the Wife of an Emigrant Officer Catharine Parr Traill (anonymous)
1837 Secret Societies of the Middle Ages Thomas Keightley; published anonymously and against the author's wishes[20]
1838 Distinguished Men of Modern Times (4 Vols.) Henry Malden (anonymous)


  1. ^ Sylvanus Urban (1866). The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Review -- Vol. 2. p. 266.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Rosemary. "Knight, Charles". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/15716. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Royal A. Gettmann (10 June 2010). A Victorian Publisher: A Study of the Bentley Papers. Cambridge University Press. pp. 13–4. ISBN 978-0-521-15320-1.
  4. ^ Aileen Fyfe (28 February 2012). Steam-Powered Knowledge: William Chambers and the Business of Publishing, 1820-1860. University of Chicago Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-226-27651-9.
  5. ^ Robert Bent (1839). The London catalogue of books ... containing the books published in London ... since the year MDCCCXIV to MDCCCXXXIX. p. 131.
  6. ^ George Lillie Craik (1865). The pursuit of knowledge under difficulties [by G.L. Craik]. Continuation. p. v.
  7. ^ George Lillie Craik (1830). The New Zealanders. Charles Knight.
  8. ^ a b c Samuel Halkett (1926). Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature. Ardent Media. pp. 159–60. GGKEY:XNNP1DZ3NZG.
  9. ^ The Westminster Review. Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy. 1831. p. 195.
  10. ^ Eric Moormann (10 March 2015). Pompeii's Ashes: The Reception of the Cities Buried by Vesuvius in Literature, Music, and Drama. De Gruyter. p. 57 note 219. ISBN 978-1-61451-873-0.
  11. ^ Shelley Hales; Joanna Paul (17 November 2011). Pompeii in the Public Imagination from Its Rediscovery to Today. OUP Oxford. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-19-956936-6.
  12. ^ Samuel Halkett (1926). Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature. Ardent Media. p. 54. GGKEY:XNNP1DZ3NZG.
  13. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Jardine, David" . Dictionary of National Biography. 29. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  14. ^ Library of Entertaining Knowledge. Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. 1833.
  15. ^ a b s:1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ellis, Sir Henry
  16. ^ The Library of Entertaining Knowledge. The Hindoos. C. Knight. 1835.
  17. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Rosen, Friedrich August" . Dictionary of National Biography. 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  18. ^ Library of Entertaining Knowledge. Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. 1836.
  19. ^ Edward W. Lane (1 January 2010). Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians. Cosimo, Inc. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-61640-504-5.
  20. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Keightley, Thomas (1789-1872)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 30. London: Smith, Elder & Co.