The definitive, contemporary reference on literature and literary criticism in English, this handbook provides an alphabetical listing of more than 2,000 important terms and facts in literature, linguistics, rhetoric, criticism, printing, bookselling, and information technology. Covers a wide range of terms, most centered in literature, but extending into other areas, such as film, radio, TV, printing, linguistics and literary theory, music, graphic arts, classical studies, and computing and information science terms. For anyone interested in literature and literary criticism.
This comprehensive text is the definitive reference text on literature and literary criticism in English. The text itself is an alphabetical listing of the terms that pertain to literature in English. Now in its seventh edition, it has been used by more than one million students.
From the Publisher
Preface to the Seventh Edition o For more than ten years now, I have given part of every day to the fifth, sixth, and seventh editions of this handbook, and, even before the seventh is technically finished, I have started to make notes for the eighth. I have little to add to what has been said in earlier prefaces, except to report something I had not expected: this kind of work has been more to me and of me than creative writing. One of the improvements in the world since the first edition sixty years ago, as far as I am concerned, is such expansion and relaxation of literary studies that we may now pay to works of biography, history, philosophy, and social science the same kind of critical attention that was once austerely reserved for poems, plays, and novels. And, since the idea of "text" has been enlarged much beyond the realm of print, one may look at an objective work, like this handbook, as a personal text not too different from a poem. For what it may be worth, I can testify, after twenty-five years of publishing books of poetry, that verse is of my life a thing apart, but that the making of reference works like anthologies and handbooks is my whole existence. That exaggerates things somewhat, but it registers my sense of being on even in my dreams. With every conscious experience of a text television production, magazine, bumper sticker, tattoo, overheard conversationI can feel the gears grinding. And probably even more so with casual and unconscious experiences. My wife asks, "Is that a spoof?" and I immediately wonder if the handbook needs an entry for "spoof." TV Guide calls things "soap noir" (Twin Peaks) or "gender-bender" (a film in which a break-dancer with ESP solves a murder), and the machinery starts to hum. People who know me have probably learned to spot changes in my expression that mean "Hes handbooking." I want to thank them for their forbearance when I ask them about the meaning of "soap noir," "gender-bender," "spoof," "pseudomorph," or any of a thousand other things. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Valerie Matthews and Julia Stockton for help with proofreading and much else. Thomas Inge, George Kennedy, Roy McGalliard, Christoph Schweitzer, Mark Wallace, and Joon Yoon came through with advice about specific items. Reviews of larger scope were provided by Joseph W. Creech, Lucy Fischer, Martin Gardner, Russell Graves, Jacqueline Henkel, James G. Janssen, Dale Kramer, Marc Manganaro, John Ney Rieber, Joseph Rudman, Ellen J. Stekert, and Susan Wanlass. My failure to follow all of their recommendations does not mean that I am rejecting or ignoring them. Only so much can be done, and, as I say, there is already a file labeled "8e." William Harmon
From the Inside Flap