A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (The Language Library) Review

A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (The Language Library)
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A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (The Language Library) ReviewYou get a lot of value for the money with this one. For a reasonable price you get almost 1000 pages of literary information. Every obscure literary term imaginable is here, but that's not why I am taking the time to praise this handy little volume. It's a browsers dream.
What I found most interesting were the lengthy sections on genres. There are pages devoted to specific types of novels, dramas, and poems. There are luxuriously long sections on science fiction novels, crime fiction, pastoral writings, short stories, gothic fiction, comic drama, and a host of other such topics. When you go to the short story section, for instance, you will find 12 pages dedicated to coverage of authors and their works dating from biblical times to the present (1998). I quickly found recommended writers that I hadn't known along with those I was well acquainted with. Although this book was inexpensive, I have spent many times its purchase price buying new books that I found referenced in this Dictionary. There are no individual entries for authors or their works in this book. For that you need to go to books like the Oxford, Cambridge, New York Public Library or Benet's literature reference works.
In poetry sections you will find examples of the type of verse being discussed. You will be amused at some of the entries provided under "light verse" and "limericks". There is even a heading for "shaggy dog story".
Any weaknesses to the book? Well there are a few. This book has a single author, unlike many reference works that have a group of contributors. This can lead to weak sections that are outside the solo author's expertise. Every reader will find a favorite author or two missing from the genre sections. I was appalled, for instance, to find no mention of Flannery O'Connor in the section on American short story authors. As the author is English, there may also be a slight bias toward English writers. I was also somewhat annoyed that Mr. Cuddon often -but not always- didn't take the time to give a foreign title its English translation. Would it have hurt him to list the Victor Hugo novel as "Toilers of the Sea" instead of "Les Travailleurs de le Mer"?
I am a hopeless book addict, and this little reference work really made my day(s).A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (The Language Library) OverviewThe fourth edition of J.A. Cuddon's classic dictionary has been thoroughly revised and updated to maintain it as the most comprehensive and accessible work of its kind currently available, for students, teachers and general readers alike. Expanded to include many new entries, it has been improved throughout, in places rendered more concise, in others amended and extended, with both major and minor additions. The work of the third edition, to cover the schools and various terminologies of literary theory is continued, without compromising coverage afforded to more traditional critical terms and topics.At this untimely death in 1996, Charles Cuddon, as he was known, had completed much of the revisory and updating work involved in preparing the edition. That work and other unfinished plans and outlines have since been overseen and developed by C.E. Preston of Sidney Sussex college, Cambridge, helped, as she acknowledges, by several of her academic colleagues. Among the entries extensively rewritten or newly contributed are:* "CrimeFiction",* "Dramatic Monologue",* "Ellipsis",* "Punctuation",* "Rhyme",* "Verse Novel", and* "Sonnet Cycle".After more than twenty years in print, Cuddon's Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory remains "a superlative work of reference that will be read for pleasure", just as it was acclaimed to be when first published in 1976. There is now no better memorial to its author's extraordinary polymathy and literary scholarship.

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