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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful reference, 5 Dec 2013
Allusions refer to a name or item that has especial meaning, often allegorical meaning. For instance, a Herculean task is understood to be enormous and taxing. Hercules is known to have been (in mythology) of superb strength.

The reference book is large and comprehensive. There are two alphabetical lists: the major part of the book, the Themes, and the small Special Entries. The latter is a list of names, such as Cinderella. There is in any case an Index at the back that gives the page reference for any name or theme on the reader's mind. If you wanted Gestapo, the Index shows you to search for it under the theme, Ruthlessness. (I have not researched to see whether any theme might give rise to legal action on the part of any listed, but I did try 'Avarice'. The authors are safe in that the entries are dead or mythical - Mammoth, Midas, Naboth's Vineyard.)

A writer alluding to someone or something will be helped by checking with this volume to ensure he is correct. A browser will find the entries quite fascinating to flick through.

In all, a useful, but not an essential work of reference. However, it is well set out and easy to use.
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The Oxford Dictionary of Allusions
The Oxford Dictionary of Allusions by Penelope Stock (Hardcover - 7 April 2001)
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