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This 60th anniversary edition, an update of the 1998 fourth edition, remains an edifying staple for any literary library, as it steps outside literary boundaries to embrace influential political and cultural figures and organizations. Alphabetically arranged, the multiparagraph entries include concise definitions of characters, schools, authors, poets, playwrights, and more. Prolific editor Murphy (Encyclopedia of Murder and Mystery) maintains Benét's customary focus on historical literary figures, noting contemporary writers only if recently deceased or when reputation dictates inclusion. Highly recommended.
—Savannah Schroll Guz