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The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  414 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
The latest installment of this trusted literary companion covers all aspects of literary theory, from definitions of technical terms to characterizations of literary movements. Geared toward students, teachers, readers, and writers alike, The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory explains critical jargon (intertextuality, aporia), schools of literary the ...more
Paperback, Fourth Edition, 1024 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Penguin Books (first published 1982)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,400)
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Jul 02, 2013 Mikimbizii rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
An amazing behemoth of a book.... It is more like journeying through a complex, exotic map of a secret island than reading. I came across some of the loveliest terms that tickled and rolled on my tongue like the sweetest honey.. roman-feuilleton, litotes, duologue, effulgent.... Although a very academic work, I read it like a poem, explored it like silent children examining delightfully intriguing puzzle-boxes - leisurely lingering over descriptions, tracing terms of similar meaning and meanderi ...more
Jen Kautt
Apr 08, 2008 Jen Kautt is currently reading it
Yeah, I'm reading it for my own personal pleasure.
Gotta problem with that?
Jun 19, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
A very useful book that should be on every serious readers shelf.
Jun 02, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: study
Absolutely required to be on your bookshelf if you are an English major. This book will help you so much!
Sep 26, 2008 Kristin rated it it was amazing
A great resource. I love the way the author has these partialities that he just can't keep out of his writing, no matter how hard to tries. How Poe having a lot of influence on later horror novelists was to their detriment, for example.
Jun 30, 2015 Kyle rated it it was ok
Not really recommended. Many of the terms are out of date, self-explanatory, and/or very rarely used in literary studies today. Missing several really key terms/concepts (don't really recall what they were off the top of my head, but basically any time I've actually *needed* to use this book as a reference the term I need is not in it). The definitions it does give are so broad and vague (and usually outdated) as to not be of any use at all (e.g. the entry on Marxist criticism is very outdated; ...more
Lady Jane
Oct 04, 2011 Lady Jane rated it it was amazing
A delectable, enjoyable, and very necessary buffet of knowledge for the English major! Sigh.
Jan 07, 2009 TC rated it it was amazing
A good desk top reference dictionary.
Jamie Lee
Jan 12, 2015 Jamie Lee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, school-texts
This is an absolutely fantastic resource to turn to when doing literary terms and theory research for upper-level English courses. I used to borrow it from the library so much that I ended up buying it. I refer to it all the time for my English courses to not only further my own knowledge but also to have fantastic definitions or backgrounds on theorists.
Aug 31, 2015 Helen rated it liked it
Although it is regularly released in new editions to include new entries and opinions, I still find by the time its published it's already quite out-of-date. Nevertheless, for what I needed it for, it was very easy to use, and the information that I found was fairly comprehensive.
Mar 15, 2016 Prakash rated it it was ok
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Nov 14, 2014 Mrs.George rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Comprehensive and accessible.
Tarsem Janagal
Dec 05, 2015 Tarsem Janagal rated it liked it
good book
Jan 25, 2014 Kelli rated it it was amazing
Wonderful tool!
Seth Holler
Sep 27, 2015 Seth Holler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-pieces
I've consulted this reference book regularly in the last ten years, and it always entertains and enlightens, and seldom disappoints. It is nearly 1000 pages long. The entry on "novel" takes up 40 pages.
Apr 13, 2007 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: educationtexts
I use this every unit to get definitions for the literary terms we use. Thick and filled with everything you could want.
Scott Kleinpeter
Oct 15, 2012 Scott Kleinpeter rated it it was amazing
This book has been a trusted aid since High School. Most any time I turn to it with a question, it has an answer.
Nov 17, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, teaching
I used this text to supplement books I was using when teaching a course on literary criticism.
Sannie Hald
I haven't read every single word defined, yet this book is a must when you are studying English.
Jan 26, 2011 DoctorM rated it really liked it
Shelves: critical-theory
An essential reference book. Always there on my desk.
Mike Duron
Sep 08, 2012 Mike Duron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can any writer ~ever~ finish reading this book?
Jul 18, 2007 Cody rated it really liked it
Essential for any lover/scholar of literature.
Dec 29, 2012 Andra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uni-1st-semester
A bible in my literature classes.
Donal Lyons
Jun 16, 2013 Donal Lyons rated it really liked it
Does one read a book like this?
Angie Lisle
Sep 01, 2011 Angie Lisle rated it liked it
A good reference book for Lit Majors.
Reference only.
Christian rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2016
Terri rated it really liked it
Oct 20, 2016
Musthafa rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2016
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