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The first edition of The Oxford Companion to English Literature, edited by Sir
Paul Harvey, was published in 1932, and quickly established itself as the
standard source of reference for scholars, students, and general readers alike.
In 1985, under the editorship of Margaret Drabble, the text was thoroughly and
sensitively revised to bring it up to date.
The sixth edition, published in 2000, was extensively revised, expanded, and
updated. Almost 600 new entries covered new writers, genres, and issues, and
existing entries were reworked to incorporate the latest scholarship. In
addition to the extensive coverage of writers, works, literary theory,
allusions, and characters, there are sixteen featured entries on key topics
including black British literature, fantasy fiction, and modernism. The
Companion remains an unrivaled work that places English literature in its
widest context: no other book offers such extensive exploration of the
classical roots of English literature, and the European and non-European works
and writers that have influenced its development.
The sixth edition has now been revised to ensure that it remains absolutely
up to date: the invaluable appendices - the chronology, and lists of winners of
major literary awards - have been updated, as have many of the entries.
Informed by the latest scholarly thinking, and comprehensively cross-referenced
to guide the reader to topics of related interest, the Companion retains its
position as the best guide to English literature available.