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FAQ: Lisp Frequently Asked Questions 1/7 [Monthly posting]
Section - [1-4] Where can I learn about implementing Lisp interpreters and compilers?

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Books about Lisp implementation include:

   1. John Allen
      "Anatomy of Lisp"
      McGraw-Hill, 1978. 446 pages. ISBN 0-07-001115-X
           Discusses some of the fundamental issues involved in
           the implemention of Lisp.  

   2. Samuel Kamin
      "Programming Languages, An Interpreter-Based Approach"
      Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1990. ISBN 0-201-06824-9
           Includes sources to several interpreters for Lisp-like languages.
           The source for the interpreters in the book is available
           by anonymous FTP from 
          Tim Budd reimplemented the interpreters in C++, and has made
          them available by anonymous ftp from 

   3. Sharam Hekmatpour
      "Lisp: A Portable Implementation"
      Prentice Hall, 1985. ISBN 0-13-537490-X.
           Describes a portable implementation of a small dynamic
           Lisp interpreter (including C source code). 

   4. Peter Henderson
      "Functional Programming: Application and Implementation"
      Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1980. 355 pages.

   5. Peter M. Kogge
      "The Architecture of Symbolic Computers"
      McGraw-Hill, 1991. ISBN 0-07-035596-7.
           Includes sections on memory management, the SECD and
           Warren Abstract Machines, and overviews of the various
           Lisp Machine architectures.
   6. Daniel P. Friedman, Mitchell Wand, and Christopher T. Haynes
      "Essentials of Programming Languages"
      MIT Press, 1992, 536 pages. ISBN 0-262-06145-7.
           Teaches fundamental concepts of programming language
           design by using small interpreters as examples. Covers
           most of the features of Scheme. Includes a discussion
           of parameter passing techniques, object oriented languages,
           and techniques for transforming interpreters to allow
           their implementation in terms of any low-level language.
           Also discusses scanners, parsers, and the derivation of
           a compiler and virtual machine from an interpreter.
           Includes a few chapters on converting code into a
           continuation passing style.
           Source files available by anonymous ftp from 

   7. Peter Lee, editor, "Topics in Advanced Language Implementation",
      The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1991.
           Articles relevant to the implementation of functional
           programming languages.

   8. Also see the proceedings of the biannual ACM Lisp and Functional
      Programming conferences, the implementation notes for CMU Common Lisp,
      Norvig's book, and SICP (Abelson & Sussman).

   9. Christian Queinnec
      "Les Langages Lisp"
      InterEditions (in French), 1994. 500 pages.
      ISBN 2-7296-0549-5, 61-2448-1. (?)
      Cambridge University Press (in English), 1996.
      ISBN 0-521-56247-3. 
      The book covers Lisp, Scheme and other related dialects,
      their interpretation, semantics and compilation.

      All of the programs described in the book are available by
      anonymous ftp from
      For more information, see the book's URL
      or contact the author at

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