The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English

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9780192122711: The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English
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This is a unique new reference book to English-language writers and writing throughout the present century, in all major genres and from all around the world - from Joseph Conrad to Will Self, Virginia Woolf to David Mamet, Ezra Pound to Peter Carey, James Joyce to Amy Tan.

The survivors of the Victorian age who feature in The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English - writers such as Thomas Hardy, Olive Schreiner, Rabindranath Tagore, Henry James - could hardly have imagined how richly diverse `Literature in English' would become by the end of the century. Fiction, plays, poetry, and a whole range of non-fictional writing are celebrated in this informative, readable, and catholic reference book, which includes entries on literary movements, periodicals, and over 400 individual works, as well as articles on some 2,400 authors.

All the great literary figures are included, whether American or Australian, British, Irish, or Indian, African or Canadian or Caribbean - among them Samuel Beckett, Edith Wharton, Patrick White, T. S. Eliot, Derek Walcott, D. H. Lawrence, Tennessee Williams, Vladimir Nabokov, Wole Soyinka, Sylvia Plath - as well as a wealth of less obviously canonical writers, from Anaïs Nin to L. M. Montgomery, Bob Dylan to Terry Pratchett. The book comes right up to date with contemporary figures such as Toni Morrison, Ben Okri, Salman Rushdie, Carol Shields, Tim Winton, Nadine Gordimer, Vikram Seth, Don Delillo, and many others. Title entries range from Aaron's Rod to The Zoo Story; topics from Angry Young Men, Bestsellers, and Concrete Poetry to Soap Opera, Vietnam Writing, and Westerns.

A lively introduction by John Sutherland highlights the various and sometimes contradictory canons that have emerged over the century, and the increasingly international sources of writing in English which the Companion records. Catering for all literary tastes, this is the most comprehensive single-volume guide to modern (and postmodern) literature.

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Review:

There is plenty of information to be discovered here, conveniently and relatively cheaply assembled. (Times Literary Supplement)

vigorously comprehensive work (Ian Hamilton, The Sunday Telegraph)

a display of riches ... The miracle is, since this volume extends its explorations across the seven seas and both sides of the Atlantic, what a treasure house has been assembled and displayed with such glittering clarity. (Michael Foot, Evening Standard)

a unique reference book on English-language writers and writing throughout the present century ... it is the most comprehensive single-volume guide to modern (and postmodern) literature yet to be published (Books Magazine)

The entries are exhaustive, and well presented. A valuable reference ... or those who enjoy twentieth century literature, and cetainly significant historically, if only to help future ages identify just what the late twentieth century thought important in the literary world. (Seán A. Finnegan, Contemporary Review)

This is what the Editor's foreword says about the book: 'The Companion is essentially a collaborative work, a series of mini-biographies and essays combining the imaginative insights and scholarship of a dedicated group of co-authors.' Well, that says it all, really. It's hard to know quite how to review a book like this. I can say that in reading this, you will almost certainly find what you seek, and waste an hour or more looking at fascinating irrelevancies. The entries are exhaustive, and well presented. A valuable reference, certainly, for those who enjoy twentieth century literature, and certainly significant historically, if only to help future ages identify just what the late twentieth century thought important in the literary world. (Seán A. Finnegan, Contemporary Review, No. 1573 (Vol. 270), February 1997)

About the Author:

Jenny Stringer is a freelance writer, and co-editor of The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature. John Sutherland is Lord Northcliffe Professor of English Literature at the University of London.

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