The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature is an encyclopedia of literary criticism that was published by Cambridge University Press between 1907 and 1921.[1] Edited and written by an international panel of 171 leading scholars and thinkers of the early twentieth century, its 18 volumes comprise 303 chapters and more than 11,000 pages. The English-literature chapters begin with Old English poetry and end with the late Victorian era. Coverage of American literature ranges from colonial and revolutionary periods through the early twentieth century.

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature
A seal depicting a crowned naked woman holding a goblet in her left hand and a skull in her right, standing in front of a desk with the words "Alma mata Cantabria" on it. The seal is surrounded by the words "Hinc lucem et pocula sacra".
Seal of the encyclopedia
GenreLiterary criticism
Publication date
  • 1907 (1907)–1921 (1921) (print)
  • 2000 (2000) (online)

A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller were the joint editors-in-chief of the 14 volumes (with an additional index volume) on English literature.[2] William Peterfield Trent, John Erskine, Stuart Sherman and Carl Van Doren were the editors-in-chief of the 4 volumes on American literature. The 4 volumes on American literature were published in Cambridge, England by the Cambridge University Press and in New York City by G. P. Putnam's Sons.[3] published the complete work online in the year 2000,[4] dividing it into over 5,600 files, and including indexes by chapter, bibliography, and chapter author. It contains biographical information and bibliographies on major individuals and literary movements. It is "considered the most important work of literary history and criticism ever published", its "topics ranging from poetry, fiction, drama and essays to history, theology and political writing."[4] The encyclopedia's scope is vast, encompassing "a wide selection of writing on orators, humorists, poets, newspaper columnists, religious leaders, economists, Native Americans, song writers, and even non-English writing, such as Yiddish and Creole".[4]

   Edited by A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller.
Volume I. From the Beginnings to the Cycles of Romance.
II. The End of the Middle Ages.
III. Renascence and Reformation.
IV. Prose and Poetry from Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.
V. The Drama to 1642: Part I.
VI. The Drama to 1642: Part II.
VII. Cavalier and Puritan.
VIII. The Age of Dryden.
IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.
X. The Age of Johnson.
XI. The Period of the French Revolution.
XII. The Romantic Revival.
XIII. The Victorian Age: Part I.
XIV. The Victorian Age: Part II.
Edited by W. P. Trent, J. Erskine, S. P. Sherman, and C. Van Doren.  
XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature.
  Early National Literature: Part I.
XVI. Early National Literature: Part II.
  Later National Literature: Part I.
XVII. Later National Literature: Part II.
XVIII. Later National Literature: Part III.


  1. ^ Cambridge History of English and American Literature, National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ Ward, A. W.; Waller, A. R. (eds.). The Cambridge History of English LIterature. Cambridge University Press; 1907–1916
  3. ^ Trent, W. P.; Erskine, J.; Sherman, S. P.; Van Doren, C. (eds.). The Cambridge History of American Literature. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons; 1917–1921
  4. ^ a b c The Cambridge History of English and American Literature,

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