The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (Available online) by Chris Baldick
Publication Date: 1990-09-20
From Jacques Derrida's différance to Henry James's ficelle, the vocabulary of literary theory and criticism can seem difficult if not opaque. Yet a grasp of these terms can often enhance our enjoyment and understanding of literature. To help clarify the reader's bafflement, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms provides succinct and often witty explanations of over one thousand terms, covering everything from the ancient dithyramb to the contemporary dub poetry, from the popular bodice-ripper to the aristocratic masque, and from the social realism of Stalin's era to the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salman Rushdie. Baldick provides the clearest coverage available of the newly coined terms of important contemporary theories--such as post-structuralism, deconstruction, semiotics, reader-response criticism--offering lucid, up-to-date definitions of terms such as logocentrism, metacriticism, gynocriticism, narratology, and foregrounding. Of course, he also includes extensive coverage of traditional drama, versification, rhetoric, and literary history, of literary schools from Alexandrianism to Transcendentalism, and of terms from languages other than English, such as samizdat, Grand Guignol, and negritude. Throughout, the author's emphasis is on helping readers use these terms more confidently, whether in writing (he includes plural and adjectival forms, and other relevant derivations) or in speaking (easy-to-use pronunciation guides clarify more than 200 potentially troublesome terms). In addition, the dictionary is thoroughly cross-referenced. A model reference book, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms will prove invaluable for both general readers and literature students at all levels.