Review by Choice Review
The first edition (CH, Apr'80) established itself as a definitive resource for signed, incisive biographical essays treating Irish literary figures. The present edition builds on that strength, updating previous entries and including prominent recent writers and lesser-known figures of the 18th and 19th centuries, more than doubling the number of entries to some 1,200. It retains and updates features such as the first edition's chronology, general bibliography, and introductory essay on Gaelic literature, and adds an essay on contemporary literature in Irish. The more than 100 contributors include some of the most prominent scholars in Irish studies. The refreshing individuality of these voices can lead to imbalances--the Joyce bibliography, for instance, is far too short compared to those for Beckett and Yeats--but also allows for incisive critical comment to a degree unusual in reference works. With extended bibliographies, discussion of individual works subsumed within essays on authors, and a subject index, the revised Dictionary remains distinct from Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, ed. by Robert Welch (CH, Sep'96), with its smorgasbord of short entries on a variety of topics, and continues to be one of the major resources in the field. Academic readers, all levels. W. S. Brockman University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.