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The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature

Cox, Michael
Publisher:  Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom
Year Published:  2005   First Published:  2004
Pages:  830pp   ISBN:  0-19-861054-8

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Michael Cox was formerly Senior Commissioning Editor for Reference Books at OUP. This book is based on the Oxford Chronology of English Literature (2002) which listed 30,000 works by 4,000 authors in a timeframe. It was originally published in 2004, with an updating in 2005. The "Concise" lists half the works of the mother set (15,000) by 3,000 authors. These significant works are arranged in chronological order by publication date (1474 through 2003), and placed in a cultural context. Much of this cultural context is not in the two volume set itself. For each year we get a list of some people who were born and others who died (but no actual month and date - except now and again, e.g. "Death of Mary I (17 Nov)" in 1558. Events are noted, as well as film titles. Timelines then are being stressed, to tell you what was being published, when, and by whom, and its "chronological neighbours". Works of the imagination dominate. The range is from William Caxton's The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1473 or 1474) through Minette Walters Disordered Minds (2003). There is an author index and an anonymous title index, as well as an index to periodicals.

* Audience or interest level: students, libraries, literary historians.
* Some interesting facts: "Works of indisputable greatness will be found alongside others whose very ephemerality exemplifies the taste of the moment".
* What I don't like about this resource (its shortcomings): paperback binding.
* What I do like about this resource (its positives): the author index lists "flourished" dates, a listing of books, and a brief description of who he or she was. Modest price.

Quality-to-Price Ratio: 90

[Review by Dean Tudor]

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