The Oxford Companion to English Literatureby Margaret Drabble
When the fifth edition of The Oxford Companion to English Literature appeared, The New York Times Book Review, in a front-page review, hailed it as "a wonderful, infuriating, amusing, and informative war horse of a book" and "a source of real delight," adding "No wonder the book is, as Miss Drabble says, 'much loved'." Now, Margaret Drabble has/em>/em>… See more details below
When the fifth edition of The Oxford Companion to English Literature appeared, The New York Times Book Review, in a front-page review, hailed it as "a wonderful, infuriating, amusing, and informative war horse of a book" and "a source of real delight," adding "No wonder the book is, as Miss Drabble says, 'much loved'." Now, Margaret Drabble has updated the fifth edition, adding sixty completely new entries and revising the entries on contemporary writers.
Readers will find many new faces here. Drabble has introduced dozens of contemporary novelists, poets, and other literary figures, including Martin Amis, Wendy Cope, Salman Rushdie, David Hare, P.D. James, Paul Theroux, A.N. Wilson, Anita Brookner, J.M. Coetzee, Robertson Davies, Thomas Keneally, David Malouf, Toni Morrison, and Gore Vidal. There are also new appendices listing winners of major literary prizes--including the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Booker Prize--and a full chronology spanning nearly a thousand years of English literature, from Beowulf to the present day. Of course, the Companion continues to offer unmatched coverage of English literature, from its classical roots (with entries on Homer, Plato, Virgil, and Catullus) to its European influences (from Rabelais and Goethe to Cervantes, Schiller, and Baudelaire). The curious will find information on fictional characters, the plots of major works, literary and artistic movements, critical terms and theory, and much more.
Comprehensive, authoritative, and up to date, this revised edition of The Oxford Companion to English Literature offers the most complete reference guide to our marvelous literary heritage.
This revision of the sixth edition adds material but not pages. The chronology, awards lists, and entries include works published through 2005, but entries from the previous edition have not been revised; the last case of Internet censorship cited is from 1999. Of the 16 two-page essays on various genres, only 2 have been given slight alterations ("Children's Literature" has lost its condescending conclusion). This edition contains more information on female and ethnically diverse writers. There are some omissions; for example, Alan Furst is left out of the "Spy Fiction" essay, and Martin McDonagh (The Beauty Queen of Leenane ) earns only one sentence, in "Irish playwrights, new." "Gay and lesbian literature," which is no longer a separate essay, fails to mention several significant works, though they are treated elsewhere. Altogether absent from the book are authors such as W. G. Sebald, David Mitchell, and Ismail Kadare. Some choices are puzzling: Denise Levertov has twice Richard Wilbur's space; readers are told how to pronounce "Carew," but not "Bewick" (or Coetzee, Milosz, etc.). Flashes of wit-on "horror": "for every King there are a dozen or more knaves"-and verve ("Lads' literature"), leaven the learning. This is still the title to heft if you need elegant plot summaries, or help with anaphora, isocolon, and their ilk. However, for most purposes the previous edition still suffices.
Patricia D. LothropCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
- Oxford University Press, USA
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