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Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia

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Overview

Long recognized as the supreme reference on world literature, Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia is the single-most complete one-volume encyclopedia available for those with a serious interest in the subject.

More than 10,000 entries explore all aspects of literature from around the world: biographies of poets and playwrights, novelists and belletrists; plot synopses and character sketches from important works; historical data on literary schools, ...

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Overview

Long recognized as the supreme reference on world literature, Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia is the single-most complete one-volume encyclopedia available for those with a serious interest in the subject.

More than 10,000 entries explore all aspects of literature from around the world: biographies of poets and playwrights, novelists and belletrists; plot synopses and character sketches from important works; historical data on literary schools, movements, terms, and awards; myths and legends; and more.

Completely revised and updated, the fifth edition continues to expand on the diversity of today's canon, with greater attention to traditions from around the globe. In particular, this edition brings new focus to the changing landscape of world religion and culture, as well as to accurate reflection of contemporary reexaminations and interpretations, such as those of the Ottomans, Olmecs, and Umayyads.

For more than sixty years, William Rose Benét and the editors who succeeded him have upheld the level of quality that distinguished the original Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia. Like its predecessors, this new edition will teach and delight, illuminate and expound, and enrich the pleasure of reading in countless ways.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

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

Booknews
<: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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060890162
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/2/2008
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 1232
  • Sales rank: 264,883
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 2.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Murphy is a writer and poet who holds a bachelor's degree in English from Harvard University and master's degrees in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chicago and New York University respectively. His debut book of poems, Sing, Sing, Sing, was the first recipient of the Bobst Award.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    Wonderfull

    I am a bookseller, this is a fantastic reference . As a student and for being a bookseller, it keeps me informed of tidbits that might never have been know about books, history, or authors. A must have!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2002

    A Stellar Source

    I used this encyclopedia to write intriguing papers throughout college as an English major/Philosophy minor and have continued to use it frequently. The book has helped many friends and colleagues with their work, and has settled many a cocktail hour dispute on a great work. Invaluable source of information. I cannot recommend this highly enough for any humanities students or writers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2002

    Best gift I ever received!

    I'm a philosophy major/lit. minor and using information from this book helped me get A's instead of B's. Related terms that are also explained in the book are printed in boldface which, when used, allow for a wider understanding of any subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2001

    Indeed the Best

    I have owned a copy of the third edition since the 1980s and to my knowledge, it is indeed the best single volume English language reference work on culture and civilisation.

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    Posted October 19, 2009

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    Posted January 26, 2011

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    Posted December 20, 2008

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    Posted October 24, 2009

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