Review by Choice Review
Based on the sixth edition of Oxford Companion to English Literature (CH, Apr'01), this second edition in Oxford's series of paperback reference works packs a great deal of authoritative information into its smaller format. It is intended for students and general readers of British literature, not literature in English around the world. It emphasizes novelists, poets, dramatists, and their works, with some representation of other kinds of writers (journalists, critics, historians, biographers, etc.). Descriptive, not evaluative, its entries provide plot summaries for major works, characters, selected international authors, literary movements and theory, along with most of the thematic essays new to the sixth edition of the parent Companion. The editors compress most entries and judiciously omit some obscure material and most cross-references. The tightened entries read well, but readers will miss the brief clues about a work's reputation and critical reception. The writing is clear, and some entries have even been updated from those in the parent Companion. Best as a handbook for undergraduate students, and useful in circulating collections or small libraries; the parent contains information that makes it the preferred standard work for any college or public library literature collection. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; undergraduates. M. H. Loe SUNY Oswego
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Based on the sixth edition of the best-selling The Oxford Companion to English Literature, the second edition of this reference, which was first published in 1996, has been significantly revised and expanded to offer more current information on authors, literary movements, critical theory, genres, publishers, plays, poems, novels, plot summaries, characters, and more-even coffee houses. Of the 5500 alphabetically arranged entries, 600 are brand new and include topics like Anglo-Indian literature and new writers like Jim Crace and Pat Barker. While classical authors are thoroughly covered, foreign authors have not been given equal attention. Nabokov and Sartre, for example, are covered in much less detail than Oliver Goldsmith or Thomas Lodge. Other entries include two-page historical essays on such topics as Gothic fiction, Romanticism, detective fiction, and black British literature. In addition, an asterick (*) before an item indicates that a separate entry exists for that item, an abbreviated type of cross-reference designation. Novelist Drabble and Stringer, who has edited a number of Oxford references, have retained the style of the original but have condensed the longer articles as well as eliminated some of the marginal entries. The result is a more affordable version of the original resource that makes for an excellent addition to one's personal library and for ready-reference collections whether they be in information commons, dorm collections, or in branch libraries. Although there have been other references covering this topic (e.g., from Penguin and Longman), they are out of print and don't even come close to this title in terms of currency.-Marilyn Lary, North Georgia Coll. & State Univ. Lib., Dahlonega (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.