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Lisp Primer

Colin Allen - Maneesh Dhagat

© 1996-1999


This text has been written to provide a quick introduction to the basic elements of Common Lisp for both experienced and novice programmers. It is not intended to be a comprehensive account of the language for, in our experience, it takes only a little introduction before most Lisp programmers are able to turn to Guy L. Steele, Jr.'s, Common Lisp: The Language (2nd Edition, Digital Press, 1990) or to the ANSI Common Lisp specifications for all their reference needs. Readers who have a basic understanding of Lisp and are looking for some A.I. applications may find useful the examples at

This text has been used successfully with honors undergraduate students at Texas A&M University. We now make it available on the World Wide Web in the hope that it will provide useful to the Lisp community at large.

Some parts of this text are incomplete. We have in mind to complete those parts if there is enough interest. If you find the text useful, please drop us a line.

Academic sites are free to mirror the html code provided that these conditions are respected:

  1. This preface and copyright statement are left unchanged.
  2. The authors are notified by email of the URL of the site where Lisp Primer is mirrored.
  3. Any emendations of the html code are shared with the authors with the understanding that they may be incorporated into the master copy.
If you agree to these conditions, the source code for Lisp Primer can be retrieved at lphtml.tar.gz (approx 70K). (List of existing mirror sites)

A PDF version of the original version of the Primer is provided for reading convenience, but it has not been maintained and so contains some omissions and errors that have been corrected in the online version.

Colin Allen <> and Maneesh Dhagat <>


© Colin Allen & Maneesh Dhagat
March 2007