My publisher’s decision to issue a revised edition of this History after ten years has given me the opportunity to update the three chapters dealing with twentieth-century literature. No attempt was made in the first edition to give proper coverage to literature later than that of the 1950s. Updating has therefore involved covering the output of some twenty years during which literary productivity has continued to increase in all fields. The finishing point may now be regarded as the present. I have also taken the opportunity to re-examine the coverage of earlier chapters, taking into account such criticisms as have been made by reviewers and other readers. In particular I have taken pains to meet the just complaint that Irish writers were not as fully represented as they should have been; and I have here and there added other writers who, I now think, were improperly omitted.
I ought to say a belated public thank-you to my son, Fabian, for all his work on the card-index which I used extensively both for this book and for A Guide to Twentieth-Century Literature in English.