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.
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.
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!