The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature / Edition 1

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Overview


James Hart's Oxford Companion to American Literature is a classic, which, in its 45-year lifetime, has offered a matchless guided tour through American literary culture, past and present, popular and polite. Reviewing the Fifth Edition (1983) in The New York Times Book Review, Alfred Kazin called it "a reference work I have never been able to live without...excellently resourceful." Hart now gives us the first abridgement of the Companion, making available to a much wider readership those entries from the original work that are of the greatest general interest. Compact and affordable, it contains some 2,000 entries covering authors, individual works, important literary movements, and other aspects of American literary life and literary history from the Colonial period to the modern era. Particular emphasis is given to contemporary authors, to whom approximately 325 of the biographical entries are devoted. The more specialized and esoteric entries from the original Companion have been dropped.

This book contains brief biographies of important authors, plot summaries of individual works, descriptions of important literary movements, and much more.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A skilled abridgement...[of] a standard work in its field....A valuable addition to the reference shelf for anyone interested in American literature."--John Barkham Reviews

"Invaluable to those who need such a reference book, and [Hart's] enterprise, as before, has to be applauded."--Sunday Times (London)

"Wonderfully useful for quick references and just as enjoyable for browsing."--The Christian Science Monitor

Praise for the fifth edition of The Oxford Companion to American Literature:

"The histories and latest theories of American writing will come and go, but the authors and their works will remain, preserved for future evaluation by Hart's monumental work. It is without question our most important book on our own literature."--Virginia Quarterly Review

"A reference work I have never been able to live without."--Alfred Kazin, The New York Times Book Review

"Monumental....Without question our most important book on our own literature."--Virginia Quarterly Review

"Gracefully readable. For the serious reader, it is a delight, and for the scholar, it is indispensable."--Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

"If ever a compiler of a reference tool deserved a lifetime achievement award, it is James D. Hart."--Booklist

"An indispensable reference work....The fifth edition has moved on."--American Studies International

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195039825
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/18/1986
  • Series: Oxford Paperback Reference Ser.
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

James D. Hart, Professor of American Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, is Director of the Bancroft Library and author of The Popular Book and A Companion to California.

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