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A Glossary of Literary Terms

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  754 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews

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.
Paperback, Sixth Edition, 301 pages
Published October 11th 1992 by Harcourt (first published 1957)
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Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: about-literature
Εξαιρετικό. Έχει τους λογοτεχνικούς όρους σε αλφαβητική σειρά, και δεν εξηγεί απλώς τον κάθε έναν από αυτούς, αλλά παρουσιάζει την γέννηση του κάθε όρου στην ιστορική του εποχή, την εξέλιξη ή μεταβολή του στο πέρασμα του χρόνου (όταν αυτή υπάρχει) και αναλύει την σημασία του με παραδείγματα. Έμαθα χωρίς να δυσκολευτώ, και χωρίς να χάσω στιγμή το ενδιαφέρον μου, αντιθέτως αυτό μεγάλωνε με την κάθε σελίδα.
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
I had to buy this book for some class many many moons ago, and I thought it would be old hat by now, what with it sitting gathering dust on the shelf over the years.

Surprisingly, though, after thinking I was just going to refresh my memory on little morsels like adynaton, hypozeugma, and all the many convoluted methods of scansion, I actually ended up spending more time with it than I had intended, led on by its interesting background commentary.

What makes it nice, is that it is more than just a
Lit Bug
One of the best books available for a swift but meaningful study of every new term you can find in the academic study of English literature. Brief, to-the-point, clear and intelligible - it is a rich book for everyone seeking to systematically understand English literature.
Mike Puma
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lit majors & lit crit readers
Shelves: lit-crit
Indispensable. While I usually refer to Harmon & Holman first (A Handbook to Literature), I come back to this volume for more depth. Collectively, they make a great pair.
Nidhi Singh
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-theory
Due to lack of time I had decided to do a selective study, but Abrams lured me into reading the whole of it.
Sadia Mansoor
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
A useful & handy guide for every lit student ^_^
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
The "read" status I've given this book is purely for convenience: it is one that anyone who enjoys the nuts and bolts of literature as much as the actual product should always have on hand, whether to help answer a specific question, satisfy a vague curiosity, or use lucky dip style to discover something new about literature, and, by extension, the world.

This book represents a body of knowledge approached and collated by the same scholar, making for a compact, easily accessible, and, best of all
Nov 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I'm actually done with this monster of a book. Didn't exactly love it, but learned from it so much, so incredibly much. I don't currently feel like discussing it or whatever; when you finish reading something like this, all you feel like doing is DANCING. So that's what I'm gonna do.
Over-elaborate where it should be more concise, too concise where more explanation would be appreciated.
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't live without this reference.
Caitlin Hagar
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really helpful for understanding literary devices
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know this book is well-known and I know how many people praise this book. But after referring to several Glossaries of Literary Terms, I realized that such kinds of books still have a long way to go. That is because none of them provide enough information on certain subjects and some of them do not have all the terms I needed to know about. Based on what I have learned, simplicity is the key to writing books and teaching. A technical book is supposed to be as simple and comprehensive as possib ...more
Feb 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book would be the very best choice if anyone intends to get the cocktail knowledge in literature. Term after term, you would get dazzled in this pool——or the sea——of signifiers. And then being furnished with those techniqucal terms, your talk would shine with a gloss of wisdom (or wit?). Well, it is exactly the very charm of this glossary.
Tracing the terms one from another, a chain, a circle, or even a net of signifers would come out with malicious sense of guile. You sit down, and re
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone seriously analysing literary works
Very, very useful as a glossary of literary terms, as the book is named. The next time I read this, it shall be for the purpose of looking up a term or reference, as a dictionary ought to be used. I regard this as a treasure chest of interesting trivia and other information. Each term is very neatly discussed, explained and elaborated. But perhaps I ought to admit: I have skimmed through many pages, especially towards the end of the book - mainly, I'm not that interested in the subject matter, a ...more
Eglantine Sabet
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic
A great book of literary terms. It has a simple language and for a person whose second language is English, this reading will not be difficult (in most cases). The complete and brief information and explanation about each term is the best aspect of this book, for it can be used by those who do not want to read around a term and just want to know key information about the terms. Also another plus for the brevity is that it helps memorizing and keeping the terms in mind more easily and in most par ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This glossary is the most referred book I guess in history for English students around the world among the other book(Norton anthology of this writer)you might wonder why I'm saying this?O..there's nothing in the world which can not be find in this book!

Simply if you're an English student or even a Literature student to be precise, hold this book!It's gonna be your closest friend on earth after your pet :-)

As I mentioned above this is a reference book mainly because it's functionality is as same
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
RIP M.H. Abrams. we are immeasurably indebted to you. Nothing can beat this book when you need help with concepts and facts. it's an amazing mixture of encyclopedic literary history, analysis, theory and of course literary terms. it's elegant and precise. highly recommended for a thorough grounding and even getting started with English literature. But what Abrams has given us will serve generations to come.
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you ever find yourself confused by terms used in criticism or English and literature classes, this is the work to read!

M.H. Abrams has a clear writing style and he definitely has a love of literature and this comes across well in this seemingly dry work that any word-nerd will enjoy. Pedants may find satisfaction in this work as well, using it to bludgeon their lesser informed peers with literary terms. (Pendants beware: random blogs and internet forums do not count as peers and friends!)
This book has gathered literary terms of English language in one place successfully. Those students who wants to give English literature exam should get prepared with the help of this book. I can't say this is great since this was the only reference I had in my hand recommended by my fellow friend who had got his Master degree the mentioned field.
Nolan Flavin
Read the title. If it interests you, read the book. If it does not interest you, neither will the book.

Also, Abrams and Harpham always note some iconic works of criticism at the end of each definition; those are good starting places for research, or for getting up to date with with literary criticism.
Erika S
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Infinitely useful.
Shibam Karmakar
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a very helpful book for the students of literature to get acquainted with numerous terms
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sold-donated
This was a pre-Internet essential.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This a must for anyone's library. It explains and examines with examples all english used literary terms. I've used it to the point of worn covers and pages. Highly recommended.
Mariyah Rahman
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a compact knowledge bank of literary terms...very useful for students of english literature.
I've used this as a resource for years, but I read it from cover to cover for the first time ever. Studying for the Praxis is such fun.
Apr 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this almost straight-through my freshman year, even though it's just a glossary. Very thorough and, somehow, fun.
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference-works
Indispensible. I was always referring to it during my Lit Crit degree. Explanations of theories of literary criticism were so much easier to understand when this book was close by.
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Meyer Howard Abrams is an American literary critic, known for works on Romanticism, in particular his book The Mirror and the Lamp. In a powerful contrast, Abrams shows that until the Romantics, literature was usually understood as a mirror, reflecting the real world, in some kind of mimesis; but for the Romantics, writing was more like a lamp: the light of the writer's inner soul spilled out to i ...more
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