First published in 1932, the "Oxford Companion to English Literature" has served as a source of reference for general readers, as well as a guide for students and specialists, on all aspects of English literature and English literary culture. In 1985, under the editorship of Margaret Drabble, the text was completely revised while retaining the essential characteristics of Sir Paul Harvey's original volume.
The 1995 revision contained 60 new entries on emerging contemporary voices, and this revision continues in that tradition, adding 16 survey articles on literary concepts.
The volume offers extensive coverage of the classical roots of English literature and of European authors and works that have influenced the development of English literature. The articles cover authors and their works, allusion and references, fictional characters, plot summaries, composers and artists, literary and artistic movements, historians, philosophers, scholars and editors, publishing history, literary societies, newspapers and periodicals, and critical terms and theory.