Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


The New Companion to the Literature of Wales. Comp. and ed. Meic Stephens. Cardiff: U of Wales P, 1998. 841 pp. Welsh ed.: Cydymaith i lenyddiaeth Cymru. Cardiff: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, 1997. 831 pp. PB2202.N49.

Covers Welsh literary culture from the sixth century through the late 1990s in some 3,300 entries on authors (including hymn writers, historians, antiquaries, critics, scholars, translators, journalists, and the like, but excluding anyone born after 1950); prosody (less fully than in the Welsh edition); genres; motifs; manuscripts; periodicals; literary works; folk songs; hymns; mythical, historical, and literary figures as well as a host of other individuals (even rugby players); folklore and legend; historical events; societies; movements; English authors important to Welsh culture; music—in short, just about anything of significance to Welsh literature. Entries emphasize factual information rather than interpretation, and many cite standard scholarly works; author entries focus on biographical details and major works but do offer occasional evaluative comments. Concludes with a chronology of Welsh history. Although some entries have no discernible connection with Welsh literature, the New Companion is an essential work for quick reference. A revision of The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales, ed. Stephens (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986; 682 pp.); Welsh edition: Cydymaith i lenyddiaeth Cymru (1986; 662 pp.).