80 Years of Authoritative Answers from Oxford University Press

September 26, 2012

80 years ago, Oxford University Press published the first edition of The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Since then, we have been proud to publish some of the world’s most critically-acclaimed and frequently-used subject reference works. In our 80th anniversary year, we invite you to celebrate the relaunch of our online site alongside the millions of students, academics, and readers from around the world who check facts and authoritative definitions in our Dictionaries and expand their research in our Encyclopedias and Companions.

Let us take you on a journey around our new site, exploring eight specially-selected events from 1932 to celebrate eight decades of Oxford’s subject reference publishing...

  1. In LITERATUREAldous Huxley was looking towards a dystopian future as he published his most famous work - Brave New World.
  2. A window opened onto an ancient world, as the final objects from Tutankhamun’s Tomb were placed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. If you can’t get to Cairo – then visit our ARCHAEOLOGY area to find out about the man behind the myths.
  3. The public were marvelling over another great monument to engineering and ARCHITECTURE in Sydney as the famous Harbour bridge was finally completed. Find out about the people involved and the architectural background to the history of bridges.
  4. POLITICAL HISTORY shows that great monuments rely upon the efforts of unnamed millions, and so do civilizations – in 1932 thousands of unemployed veterans who made up the Bonus Army marched to Washington to petition Congress for their promised money.
  5. ECONOMIC downturns and recessions feel like recent news stories to us, but find out more about the effects the 1930s Depression had on ordinary people around the world; from the money in their pockets to their literature.
  6. Even in the midst of economic Depression, great scientific discoveries are made. In 1932, racing against much international competition, British physicist Sir James Chadwick identified (and later named) the particle known as the neutron. Find out more about this discovery in our SCIENCE area, Chadwick’s connections with the development of the first atomic bomb in our HISTORY area, and read what Chadwick had to say about it in our QUOTATIONS area.
  7. It isn’t just our 80th anniversary celebrations this year – we wish happy birthday to Sir V.S. Naipaul who was born in August 1932. Find out about this literary prize winner, and his most famous works.
  8. Returning to our own birthday celebrations, we wish to congratulate The Oxford Companion to English Literature – which has been in print ever since 1932. Readers have relied on it through seven editions for a wide range of literary information, and we are proud to publish this classic work. Search for ‘1932’ within this book and you will discover, amongst many things, the launch of the periodical Scrutiny out of which sprang F.R Leavis and his ‘Great Tradition’, the emergence of the Socialist Realist novels in Russian literature,  and the birth of John Updike. Hear the current Editor, Professor Dinah Birch, introduce the current edition and celebrate with us its ability to develop and change with every generation of reader – something which we hope our new online site can offer to reference users for years to come.