Oxford Companion to English Literature

The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature
(Paperback Edition) Handy Reference Book


This is a compact version of the 6th edition of the Oxford Companion to English Literature. The emphasis is naturally on British literature (John Galt is not listed as a character in Atlas Shrugged, but as a Scottish novelist). There is coverage of writers from the United States, Canada, Africa, the Caribbean and India.

Among the entries are:

  • short biographies of novelists, dramatists and poets, and also a few philosophers (Swedenborg), historians, scholars, critics, biographers, travel writers, and journalists
  • plot summaries and descriptions of poems

Other notable entries:

  • literary and intellectual movements, genres, and critical theory
  • figures in Irish mythology
  • gay and lesbian literature
  • literary societies, libraries, publishers, and even coffee houses

Topics that get two-page treatmen: Black British literature, science fiction, structuralism and post-structuralism, ghost stories, post-colonial literature, romantic fiction, spy fiction

No editorializing. They “describe and characterize rather than judge.”

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