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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (Oxford Paperback Reference) Paperback – 5 Sep 1991

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Paperback, 5 Sep 1991
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (5 Sept. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192828932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192828934
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 425,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Good coverage from the classical to the contemporary."--David G. Hale, State University of New York at Brockport"Clearly and concisely written. It is the most up-to-date and comprehensive of such 'concise' handbooks."--Robert W. Lewis, University of North Dakota"Of the many recent dictionaries of literary terms, Baldick's is the one most likely to satisfy today's student....The explanations are clear and succinct, and often employ illustrative examples."--Library Journal (in a starred review)"This is an excellent "pocket-sized" reference paperback at a reasonable price."--Dr. Robert C. Rice, Christendom College"This is just what our English majors need. It's up to date, to the point, and inexpensive."--Preston Harper, Albilene Christian University"Excellent, one of the best on the market, level just right for undergraduates."--Sabine Gross, University of Wisconsin/Madison

About the Author

About the Author Chris Baldick is Senior Lecturer in English at Edge Hill College of Higher Education in Ormskirk, Scotland.

Customer Reviews

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Abec7 on 10 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
This dictionary is a joy, particularly for the new English Literature student. It's definitions are succinct and informative, including pointers for further reading. It's not definitive but is a great book to have on hand for quick and easy reference.
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Format: Paperback
The book is a must for anyone taking English degree or A level. Easy to use reference book. Recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Comprehensive as expected, excellent reference book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
An excellent, but not flawless, resource 17 Nov. 2000
By Michael J. Mazza - Published on
Format: Paperback
"The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms" is an excellent reference work for students of literature or cultural studies, or for anyone who wants to enrich his or her vocabulary with a variety of fascinating terms. Beginning with "the absurd" and ending with "zeugma," Chris Baldick has assembled a marvelous bestiary of literary terms and has provided concise explanations of each one.
Baldick's choices cover a wide range of history, geography, and ideology--from the Senecan tragedy to the campus novel, from the haiku to the Petrarchan sonnet, from Romanticism to Russian Formalism. Particularly useful is his inclusion of many originally non-English terms: "Sturm und Drang," "bricolage," and many more.
Of course, no project of this nature can be exhaustive, particularly when it is crammed into 246 pages. And yet, I wonder at the rationale behind some of Baldick's inclusions and omissions. Why, for example, is there an entry for Homeric, but none for Dickensian? For the Harlem Renaissance, but not for the Black Arts Movement? For Brechtian, but not for Kafkaesque? For logocentrism, but not for phallocentrism? For science fiction, but not for horror? For braggadocio, but not for tragic mulatta?
Nevertheless, this is still one of my favorite reference works. So if you're planning a Festschrift, if you're contemplating a revival of Vorticism, or if you want to spice up your latest jeremiad with some Spoonerisms, check out this book. It will make you feel like a true skald!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Handy desktop reference, esp for novices 7 Jun. 2003
By - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a quite serviceable dictionary, with 1000-odd entries. At only 250 pages, however, the treatment of complex terms, schools, and issues must often be cursory. This second edition, is however, nicely updated from the 1990 first edition, and presents a more readable typeface on better paper. Being relatively small, it may be the most convenient literary dictionary to keep by your side. For a similar investment, however, you might consider the vastly more thorough 1000-page PENGUIN Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (4th edn by Cuddon & Preston, 1998, ISBN: 0140513639 ) - possibly out of print as of this writing, but a bargain reference at the used price being asked by some Amz connections [ perhaps Penguin is on verge of releasing a 5th edition? ].
For more *depth* of coverage for important literary concepts and controversies, serious literary students will more appreciate the BEDFORD Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms (Murfin & Ray, 1998). While the Oxford aims more at comprehensiveness in including terms (so that the reader can find "memoir-novel" and "misprision" for example), the Bedford strives for depth of explorations and interrelations of terms (a dictionary that could be considered "authored" as well as edited) - see review at ISBN 0312115601 .
In summary, OXFORD is a *concise* dictionary; PENGUIN is a comprehensive dictionary; BEDFORD is a stimulating exploration and integration of terms and concepts.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Tool For English Majors 30 May 2003
By A.Trendl - Published on
Format: Paperback
Literary dictionaries are usually tough nuts to crack. By the nature of the book, there is an educated obscurity to most of the terms. "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms" conquers this by displacing the less useful words with very readable definitions of the words the book lists.

For example, 'plurisignation,' a somewhat difficult word to say, sends the reader, sans definition, to 'ambiguity,' which enjoys a more sensible, approachable definition.

Finishing the book is 'zeugma,' which Baldick describes as a figure of speech "by which one word refers to two others in the same sentence." He gives us a taste of William Shakespeare in a sample of a zeugma, "Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss."

It is adequately cross-referenced, and is accessible for browsing without becoming lost in heady terms.

Who should read this? Any college freshman studying literature. This is a solid handbook, and is begging to be used in classrooms, taught letter-by-letter, entry-by-entry. Knowing these terms (about 1,000 in all) will clear up a lot of headaches while reading literary criticism and essays.

I fully recommend "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms" by Chris Baldick.

Anthony Trendl
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Indispensable 26 July 2005
By C. Daly - Published on
Format: Paperback
You won't find everything in here. But the omissions are so few that you probably won't notice. Anacoluthon? Here. Aposiopesis? Here. Practically every unusual and obscure literary term you could need info on, as well as capsule summaries of the common terms you might need to check on...Magic Realism, post-structuralism, Surrealism, and so on. This is an ideal reference and at the least a good starting point for deeper investigations. (My comments are on the 1990 edition.)
A must have for literature 20 July 2010
By John D. Lee - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am an English literature teacher. As I was getting ready to teach poetry for the first time, I realized I needed a concise resource booklet of literary terms. Though it is possible to find any term you are interested in on the Internet, it is not nearly as convenient as having a book in hand. Also, I have learned quite a few new terms simply flipping through it. I have used this book now for years as a teacher and found it to be invaluable.
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