Ten years in preparation, this companion volume to The Reader's Encyclopedia is intended to cover all authors and writings of importance in America, and to extend to all associated topics from the Bible in the United States to ballads and balladry. Major movements, literary groups, characters who appear in books both fictionally and factually -- charts of the prime literary clans such as the Adams family and of fictional ones such as the Snopeses -- are to be found here. Major names and currents in literature are attended to through articles by such contributors as Max Lerner on ""Social Criticism"", Quentin Anderson on ""Henry James"", Cleanth Brooks on ""William Faulkner""; Hemingway, Mark Twain, the Beat Generation literature, are among the subjects handled in this manner. Illustrations are additional meat in 250 halftones of authors. The 6500 entries are neatly expressed, readable and usable by high school students on -- good family volume which may leave the more sophisticated not completely satisfied but which gives an overall sense of how and in what many ways literature enters our corporate national life.