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A Glossary of Literary Terms [Paperback]

M.H. Abrams
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 3 2004 1413002188 978-1413002188 8
First published in 1957, A GLOSSARY OF LITERARY TERMS contains succinct essays on the terms used in discussing literature, literary history, and literary criticism. This text is an indispensable reference for students.

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Review

"The volume is easy to use, complete, with excellent bibliographic references; it has been superb over the years in reflecting and including new developments in literary-critical practices."

"I began using the Abrams Glossary more than 10 years ago, largely because of my respect for Abrams himself as a scholar and literary historian. The entries are clear, up-to-date, and well-researched."

About the Author

M. H. Abrams is a distinguished scholar who has written prize-winning books on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, literary criticism, and European Romanticism. He also is General Editor for THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE. In addition, M. H. Abrams has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller Postwar fellowships and the Award for Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990).

Geoffrey Galt Harpham is the director of the National Humanities Center. The recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, he has written extensively in the fields of literary criticism, critical theory, and intellectual history. Among his many books are ON THE GROTESQUE, ONE OF US: THE MASTERY OF JOSEPH CONRAD and THE HUMANITIES AND THE DREAM OF AMERICA.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top reference book! Oct. 30 2003
By Seth
Format:Paperback
There is nothing in this book that is not in any other literary terms book. However, it's the quality, not quantity (isn't that what they always say? Well, it's true this time). The way that terms are defined makes sense to everyone, not just the avid writer or reader of literature.
For example, look up 'Heroic Couplets' elsewhere and you'll find broad, vague definitions with little or no description. Well, think again when it comes to Mr. Abrams version of interpretation. Also, the way the book is structured is clever in itself. When looking up one definition, it leads to other words that are unknown, thus making full use of the book.
If you have any desire to write or just want a better understanding of what terms are being thrown at you in text, consult this gem. If you don't agree, contact me and I'll refund your money (okay, that was a joke). Wise investment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thorough and useful reference Sept. 11 2003
By orbit13
Format:Paperback
Whether you are a student of literature or just looking to expand your understanding of it, you'll find this comprehensive yet accessible reference extremely useful. Abrams has compiled a fairly exhaustive glossary of (Western) literary terms. His succinct explanations are reinforced by familiar examples. When necessary, he also provides historical background to a word or phrase. Cross-referenced terms are highlighted within the descriptions, and the book includes an index of authors and of terms. This is a very easy reference to use, concise in its definitions, thorough in its content, and overall, well organized.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on literary terms I know July 23 2000
Format:Paperback
In contrast to other dictionaries or encyclopedias whose cramped style is barely readable, this Glossary of Literary Terms is a book to enjoy. There are little essays on all major literary terms; those which can only be understood in their context are included in essays of a different heading (e.g. "Bildungsroman" is one of the terms which are explained in the essay about the "novel"). At first sight this may seem a bit complicated, but in the long run it is a lot more efficient than the usual dictionary-style presentation.
Of course an advanced student of literature may sometimes miss some details - but those are details nobody would remember anyway. Mr Abrams only gives you the facts you really want to know and memorize. And he does this in a style of remarkable clarity and fluency. While this proves him to be a member of an old school of lit crit, the Glossary contains good introducitons to recent trends as well (postcolonial studies, gay and lesbian literature etc.)
I am thankful that I didn't have to study literature without Abrams' Glossary!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reference Book Nov. 18 2002
Format:Paperback
As a budding english major, I have found Abrahms' book an absolute lifesaver. This is the best reference book on literary terms that I have found yet.
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