Based on the vastly popular Oxford Companion to English Literature edited by Margaret Drabble, this indispensable volume offers over five thousand alphabetically arranged entries on individual novels, plays, songs, poems, novelists, poets, playwrights, essayists, philosophers, historians, fictional characters, literary movements, legends, and much more. Like its parent volume, this abridgement features useful plot summaries, entries on important fictional characters, and countless biographical articles on authors and other influential figures in the world of letters, all presented with the same lightness of touch that has made the original work such a pleasure to read. Fully revised and updated, the third edition features dozens of new entries on writers ranging from literary giant Marcel Proust, to American writers Michael Cunningham, Harper Lee, and Cormac McCarthy, to rising British stars Monica Ali, Hari Kunzru, and Zadie Smith. Readers will now find concise, reliable accounts of postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard, literary critic Terry Eagleton, science fiction writer Douglas Adams, fantasy writer Philip Pullman, Jamaican poet Jean "Binta" Breeze, playwright Michael Poliakoff, and children's author J.K. Rowling. In addition, the edition includes updated appendices listing the winners of the Nobel, Booker, and Pulitzer prizes. There is also a new timeline, chronicling the development of literature from its origins right up to the present day.With generous coverage of literature from around the world, entries on literary movements, critics, and critical theories, and updated information on modern authors and works, this is a book that readers will find indispensable. Written by a team of more than 140 distinguished contributors, headed by Margaret Drabble, it belongs on the shelves of all lovers of literature.