Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Dictionary of Irish Literature. Ed. Robert Hogan. Rev. and expanded ed. 2 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 1996. PR8706.D5 820′.99415. Available on CD-ROM and online as part of Studies in Irish Literature (

A literary dictionary consisting primarily of entries (ranging from fewer than 25 to nearly 10,000 words) on some 500 English-language writers (including historians, editors, political writers, journalists, and the like) along with a few discussions of literature-related topics and two lengthy essays on Irish-language authors. Criteria governing the selection of authors or topics are decidedly vague. The author entries emphasize critical commentary but also provide basic biographical information and lists of book-length primary works and criticism. Concludes with a basic chronology of literary and historical events and a selected general bibliography. Indexed by titles, persons, and some subjects. Although something of a hodgepodge of entries of variable quality, the Dictionary does provide the fullest discussions of the handbooks devoted to Irish literature. Review: Patrick Crotty, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 30 May 1997: 15.

An essential complement is The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, ed. Robert Welch (Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1996; 614 pp.), which covers more movements, genres, institutions, historical events and figures, folklore, and groups than Dictionary of Irish Literature does. Unfortunately, it contains more factual and typographical errors than one expects in an Oxford Companion.

Entrants in both works are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).