This abridgement of The Oxford Companion to African American Literature will make the entries of the greatest general interest available to a wider audience, providing the same calibre of scholarship and information as the original volume. The Concise collects more than 400 biographies (authors, critics, literary characters and historical figures) of both well-known figures and the lives and careers of writers not found in other reference works. The abridgement also includes the 150 plot summaries of major works. The editors briefly update the biographic details for author entries to include mention of major new works, death dates, and awards since the Companion's 1997 publication. A revised introduction, contributors list, subject index, cross-references, and updated bibliographical notes are also included. The volume reprints in its entirety the five-part fifteen page essay, "Literary History", capturing the full sweep of African American writing in the U.S. from the colonial and early national eras to the present day.