The Oxford Companion to English Literatureby Margaret Drabble, Jenny Stringer, Daniel Hahn
One of the great reference books of the century is now revised and updated. It contains 60 new entries on contemporary writers, from Martin Amis and Bruce Chatwin, to Salman Rushdie and Gore Vidal. Comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date, this book offers the most complete reference guide to a 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.
Meet the Author
About the Editor:
Margaret Drabble is one of Britain's leading novelists, the author of numerous works, including Jerusalem the Golden, The Needle's Eye, The Middle Ground, and the trilogy of novels The Radiant Way, A Natural Curiosity, and The Gates of Ivory.
- London, England
- Date of Birth:
- June 5, 1939
- Place of Birth:
- Sheffield, England
- Cambridge University
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