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The Facts On File Companion To The British Novel (repost)

Posted By: interes
The Facts On File Companion To The British Novel (repost)

The Facts On File Companion To The British Novel By Virginia Brackett, Victoria Gaydosik, Mary Virginia Brackett
English | 2005 | 1013 Pages | ISBN: 081606377X | PDF | 7,2 MB

Intended for high-school and college students, this resource covers the British novel from its earliest predecessors in the 1600s to the present day, encompassing writers from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as well as Commonwealth countries. Although marketed as a set, these are actually two distinct, independent volumes containing approximately 500 entries apiece. Each volume has its own author, title, introduction, A-Z contents, and index. Volume 1, authored by Brackett, covers the British novel from its beginnings through the nineteenth century, while volume 2, by Gaydosik, focuses on the twentieth century.

The authors, both English professors at U.S. universities, wrote most of the material in their respective volumes. Substantive and well written, the articles treat a wide range of literary and popular authors and representative novels by them as well as literary themes and movements, fictional genres, significant historical events, social issues, major literary periodicals, and other relevant topics. Most entries are followed by brief secondary bibliographies. Although author entries make no attempt to mention all of a writer's novels, no primary bibliographies are provided. Each volume features extensive cross-references but only to related entries within that particular volume, never to entries in the companion volume. Both volumes include glossaries and exceptionally detailed indexes, which provide a means of identifying novels by genre and theme and locating authors by nationality. Volume 2 also includes a section listing recipients of major British literary prizes.

If the contents of these two volumes had been consolidated into one seamless, integrated set with a single alphabetical sequence and a comprehensive index, this would be an outstanding reference source. Combining these two complementary volumes into one work would have made the set easier to use and also avoided unnecessary duplication (for example, both volumes include entries for Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, and other authors who spanned the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and both define many of the same literary terms, such as irony and point of view). Eliminating this duplication would have freed space to cover additional novelists, for example, John Banville, David Malouf, and Edith Somerville. In addition, a single alphabetical sequence would have avoided some of the inconsistencies between the volumes. For instance, volume 1 provides a lengthy article on Children's literature, but volume 2 does not.
As a set, this work has serious shortcomings, but when considered as individual entities, both volumes merit high praise. Because these volumes provide valuable coverage of British novelists and novels to an extent that no other reference source currently does, they will make a useful addition to high-school, public, and academic libraries.