Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy companion
The first 'Oxford Companion to English Literature' was published in 1932 under the editorial direction of Sir Paul Harvey (no relation the American radio commentator). Half a century and five editions later, this is still a standard, authoritative reference work necessary for scholars and interested non-experts alike.
Under the editorship of Margaret Drabble, author...
Published on 23 Dec 2005 by Kurt Messick

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Takes arbitrariness to a whole new level
The English complexion of this volume is debatable and its function, I suspect, purely notional. Alfred de Vigny? Garcia Marquez?? Alfonso Gatto??? We are referred from Perec to OuLiPo (a point for that) yet Gautier and Gaudier-Brzeska get separate entries instead of referring us respectively to 'art for art's sake' and Vorticism. Stravinsky gets a long entry, on frankly...
Published 20 months ago by Simon Barrett


Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy companion, 23 Dec 2005
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to English Literature (Hardcover)
The first 'Oxford Companion to English Literature' was published in 1932 under the editorial direction of Sir Paul Harvey (no relation the American radio commentator). Half a century and five editions later, this is still a standard, authoritative reference work necessary for scholars and interested non-experts alike.
Under the editorship of Margaret Drabble, author and biographer (known for 'The Witch of Exmoor' and the more recently published 'The Peppered Moth'), this volume remains faithful to Harvey's intention of placing English literature in its widest possible context while exploring the deep classical and continental connections that underpin much of the history.
How can literature be divorced from cultural context? Surely it cannot be -- hence the newest entries into the edition include topics that read as if they were taken from today's best-seller shelf:
- Anglo-Indian Literature
- Simon Armitage
- Kate Atkinson
- Louis de Bernieres
- Censorship
- Ben Elton
- Gay and lesbian literature
- Hypertext
- A. L. Kennedy
- Lad's literature
- Literature of science
- New Criticism
- New Irish Playwrights
- Carol Shields
- Travel writing
This sample listing of the latest entries is representative of the more established categories, in that the entries (encyclopedic in character) include Authors, Subjects, Titles, Events, Characters and Critical Theory. The entries are unsigned (an ever-controversial practice in reference works such as this) -- well over a hundred contributors assisted in this volume, including the likes of Matthew Sweet, Salman Rushdie, Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan, Katherine Duncan-Jones, and Brian Vickers.
This volume serves the general reader well in that one may follow cross-reference trails through the text. Take, for instance, Aaron the Moor -- the reader will be directed to Titus Andronicus, to which one is directed to Shakespeare, and from there a host of other cross-references historical and modern. Under the entry of Gabriel Josipovici, one is led back the entries of Rabelais and Bellow, influences as well as objects of Josipovici's study.
The appendices are new features of this edition. The first appendix is a Chronology that lists the chronology of the production of English literature from c.1000 to 1999 side by side with major historical events in Britain and beyond, and the significant events in the lives of literary figures. Appendix 2 lists the Poets Laureate in chronological order, from 1619 (when the office unofficially began) to the present -- surprisingly, there have only been 21 (19 official). Appendix 3 lists major literary award winners: Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Library Association Carnegie Medalists, and Booker-McConnell Prize for Fiction. Obviously not all of these are British authors, but it helps to place British literature in the wider world context of the twentieth century (as all of these prizes are twentieth-century creations).
In addition to the encyclopedic entries, there are major essays scattered through the text. These include the following topics:
- Biography
- Black British Literature
- Children's Literature
- Detective Fiction
- Fantasy Fiction
- Ghost Stories
- Gothic Fiction
- Historical Fiction
- Metre
- Modernism
- Post-Colonial Literature
- Romanticism
- Science Fiction
- Spy Fiction
- Structuralism and Post-Structuralism
These essays include history and current development of the genre or topic, as well as bibliographic information for further research, which (regrettably) the smaller encyclopedic entries rarely have.
This is a terrific, one-volume reference that should serve well anyone with a need for quick and ready reference material. It should find a welcome home on the shelf of any avid reader, fan of literature and modern fiction, history, religion, or any devoted Anglophile.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent reference material, 30 Mar 2007
i found this book extremely useful when I need to get a brief synopsis of some literature or writer, not only does it tell the story but it also offers a brief analysis. It is also useful if you need to quickly refresh your memory of some literature or if you need to compare some works. a bit heavy to carry around but for home study you couldn't wish for more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The English Literature Undergraduate Bible, 29 Feb 2012
The Oxford companion to English Literature is the most detailed, comprehensible and up-to-date dictionary you will find. The companion is ordered alphabetically, with chronological detail, and consists of over 8,000 entries.

The companion ranges in content:

* Poets and authors and critics (biographies and works)
* Genres
* Movements and theories
* Literary prizes and poet laureates
* Literary terms and jargon
* Fundamental pieces of English literature

Margaret Drabble's latest edition is excellent for providing students with an introduction to the aforementioned sections of English literature, giving them all the relevant information with which they can progress their studies and delve into more detailed research. This really is the reference bible for undergrads and will provide useful throughout your academic careers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars present, 25 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
this is very good apparently. was a gift so can only go by what I am told. used a lot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every book reader needs one., 3 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to English Literature (Hardcover)
This is a fantastic guide to almost every book in literary history that you would want to know about. It higlights the main points of great masterpieces, and is very helpful into giving you a greater understanding of the themes that the author is trying to put across. Buy this is you take your reading seriously.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 29 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to English Literature (Hardcover)
A wonderful,thorough,accessible book. It covers most great authors and master-pieces, discussing in depth the main concepts of each work. A must-have for all English students!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars every English student must have it!, 11 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to English Literature (Hardcover)
I study English literature in Milan and this book is simply fundamental! There you can find many authors, plot descriptions, literary currents, ideas, criticism...
It is just a bit heavy if you read it before sleeping, but truly perfect! A must have!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Takes arbitrariness to a whole new level, 22 Aug 2012
By 
Simon Barrett "Il penseroso" (london, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to English Literature (Hardcover)
The English complexion of this volume is debatable and its function, I suspect, purely notional. Alfred de Vigny? Garcia Marquez?? Alfonso Gatto??? We are referred from Perec to OuLiPo (a point for that) yet Gautier and Gaudier-Brzeska get separate entries instead of referring us respectively to 'art for art's sake' and Vorticism. Stravinsky gets a long entry, on frankly tenuous grounds. There's a general air of tuft-hunting, barrel-scraping and sheer bumbling amateurism. Benjamin West (American painter, d.1820) gets in ('an important turning point in taste') yet of Hopper, Pollock and Warhol there is no sign, let alone (Heaven forfend!) Jeff Koons. The cross-reference from Gertrude Stein to Picasso leads to - a dead end

Without clear focus the internet has made this kind of thing redundant, other than to furnish a room. But people have no space (place a flag in your window instead). I'm told the first edition was better, if you're of a historicist bent - like the old DNB. For normal mortals the Cambridge Guide is streets ahead. You should find any edition (there have been three) a real pleasure to consult. It has pics too!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa845ea08)

This product

The Oxford Companion to English Literature
The Oxford Companion to English Literature by Margaret Drabble (Hardcover - 21 Sep 2000)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews