The book leaves the reader informed about each writer's main output, sensitive to the special character of his gifts and aware of the writer's place in the story of English literature as a whole. A lucid and readable guide, it is invaluable both to the student of English literature and to the general reader.
Drabble's revision not only bring the volume up to date; it both deepens and widens its appeal. Topics once regarded as non-literary--detective stories, science fiction, children's literature, comic strips, for example--are now included, as are numerous foreign language authers who have become well-known in translation. There are also entries on composers who have adapted English texts to musical forms and articles on visual artists whose work has been touched by the English literary consciousness. The book covers all the important movements and critical theories (including the latest developments in Freudian and Marxist criticism and Saussurean linguistics and its successors). What is more, the entries on classic works--Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, The Faerie Queen, and many others--now incorporate the findings of the latest scholarship. In still another innovation, the entries now offer the reader a guide to turther study and research by referring to the relevant biographies, memoirs, critical studies, and standard scholarly editions of many of the important works. Also, the book's appendices on censorship, copyright, and the calendar have been updated, and an exhaustive cross-referencing system in the manner of the more recent Companiions has been adopted.