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
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up
Libraries should update their collections with this staple of literary and cultural research. Murphy, who also edited the fourth edition (1996), has again collected entries on a variety of both classic and contemporary works, authors, characters, ideas, and other cultural points of study or interest. The book opens with an entry on Moses's brother Aaron, and closes with a discussion of Ulrich Zwingli, the 16th-century Swiss religious reformer. A focus on people or ideas from (mainly Christian) religious texts and traditions was a mainstay of the title in the past, but here the scope has expanded to include more on other religions, for example, and secular authors such as Turkish Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk, Austrian Elfride Jelinek, and recent Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon. Although few of the entries are lengthy, they provide detailed information in the most efficient way, and cross-references are plentiful. A must-have.-Carol Fazioli, Gwynedd-Mercy College, Gwynedd Valley, PA
<:st> Previous editions are cited in This is a completely revised edition of the classic reference on world literature first published a half-century ago to serve general readers as a "well-organized supplementary memory, in one volume." Entries encompass all aspects of literature, including biographies of poets, playwrights, novelists, and belletrists; plot synopses and character sketches from important works; historical data on literary schools, movements, terms, and awards; and myths and legends. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.