The fourth edition of Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia was edited by Bruce Murphy. This book was published in New York by Harper & Row in 1996 and in January of 2004 Books In Print listed it at $50.

Typical Questions:

“What does ‘Regency Period’ mean?”
“What was the ‘Aeneid’?”
“Who were Hero and Leander?”
“What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?”




Encyclopedic handbook with an emphasis on literature and the humanities.


  1. Includes information on authors, books, literary characters, musical compositions, plots of literary works, historical topics, art, philosophy, and works of art.
  2. Pays special attention to the Orient, Soviet Union, Latin America, the Near East, and to developments since 1965.
  3. Alphabetical arrangement.
  4. Reflects Benet’s interest in modern poetry.


High school and college students. For use in home and libraries.

Dates of Coverage:

All eras, all literatures, but emphasis on English language.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

Handy for crossword puzzles!

Collaboration that emphasizes the twentieth century and non-Western literatures, with the result that some of the more obscure classical and European authors, characters, works, and motifs have been excluded.

LCSH: 1. Literature—Dictionaries. 2. Art—Dictionaries. 3. Music—Dictionaries.