The Oxford Companion to American Literature
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The Oxford Companion to American Literature

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For more than a half a century, James Hart's Oxford Companion to American Literature has been a matchless guide through the myriad paths and byways of American literary culture. It has been revised regularly since its first publication in 1941, although Hart died in 1990, before he could complete this new edition. The experienced reference book editor Phillip Leininger has completed the revisions for the sixth edition of this classic work . Nearly 200 new entries range from major new literary talents (Don Delillo, Thomas Flanagan, William Kennedy, Cormac MacCarthy) to playwrights and theatre people (Harvey Fierstein, John Guare, Stephen Sondheim, August Wilson), and science fiction and popular authors (Raymond Carver, Stephen King, Harold Robbins, Theodore Sturgeon). Many more entries have been expanded to take account of work written since the publication of the last edition (Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike). Leininger has also endeavoured to widen the scope of the book by adding entries on women (M. F. K. Fisher, Ursula Le Guin, Bobbie Ann Mason, Gloria Steinhem), as well as African Americans, Native Americans, and other ethnic groups. The Companions Chronological Index includes new literary and social notes that bring it right up to date. While there are a number of reference works dealing with American literature, none of them have the stature and authority of the Oxford Companion, a delight for both the casual browser and the serious student.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 800 pages
  • 174 x 234 x 60mm | 1,601.17g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 6th Revised edition
  • 0195065484
  • 9780195065480
  • 1,179,825

About James D. Hart

The late James D. Hart was Director of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Phillip Leininger is the editor of several reference books, particularly Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature.show more

Back cover copy

For the sixth edition, James D. Hart and Phillip Leininger have updated the Companion in light of what has happened in American literature since 1982. To this end, they have revised the entries on such established authors as Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, and Joyce Carol Oates, and they have added more than 180 new entries on novelists (T. Coraghessan Boyle, Tim O'Brien, Louise Erdrich, Don De Lillo), poets (Rita Dove, Weldon Kees), playwrights (Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson), popular writers (Stephen King, Louis L'Amour), historians (James M. McPherson, David Herbert Donald, William Manchester), naturalists (Aldo Leopold, Edward Abbey), and literary critics (Camille Paglia, Richard Ellmann). In addition, the Companion boasts more women's, African-American, and ethnic voices, with new entries on such luminaries as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, M. F. K. Fisher, William Least Heat-Moon, Ursula Le Guin, and Oscar Hijuelos, among many others. With over 5,000 total entries, The Oxford Companion to American Literature reflects a dynamic balance between past and contemporary literature, surveying virtually every aspect of our national literature, from the Pulitzer Prize to pulp fiction, and from Walt Whitman to William F. Buckley, Jr. There are over 2,000 biographical profiles of important American authors (with information regarding their styles, subjects, and major works) and influential foreign writers as well as other figures who have been important in the nation's social and cultural history. There are more than 1,100 full summaries of important American novels, stories, essays, poems (with verse form noted), plays, biographies and autobiographies, tracts, narratives, and histories. The newedition provides historical background and astute commentary on literary schools and movements, literary awards, magazines, newspapers, and a wide variety of other matters directly related to writing in America. Finally, the book is thoroughly cross-referenced and features an extensive and fully updated index of literary and social history.show more

Review quote

From Reviews of Previous Editions: `A valuable reference work that also provides browsing pleasure.' The New York Times `one of the half-dozen literary works which must be found on any serious follower's shelf' Dallas Times Herald "More" apparently does not always have to mean "less" in this era of canon expansion; here more is just that, insuring this companion's continued preeminence in its field well into the new century. * Nineteenth-Century Literature 51:3 (December 1996) *show more

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