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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 April 2010
This book was invaluable for my English literature work.
It has all kinds of entries from all genres, dictionary style, and gives recommendations for further reading within the definitions.
My work and general understanding of the literary terms has greatly improved, and I know I can always consult this!
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on 8 December 2012
An invaluable book for any student of English Literature. This book contained terms that I had never even even heard of prior to starting my university course and has been extremely useful in explaining many of the technical terms. I feel as though my knowledge of literary terms has greatly increased and this is reflected in the improved marks which I have recently attained in my essays as a result of this.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 August 2012
This paperback (preferable to the Kindle version for ease of use and browsing) is a gem: arranged with the terms in alphabetical order, it lists what seem to be hundreds of technical terms of literary criticism with asterisks by those that are cross-referenced. It ranges from the most basic such as "metaphor" to the more obscure but nevertheless useful words such as "anaphora" (with examples). There are foreign terms like "commedia dell'arte" and "longueur" as well as the very modern "deconstruction". Movements such as the Lake Poets or the New Apocalypse are described simply and clearly; all the definitions are in ordinary standard English and lucidly written. It has some basic Classical terms like "chiasmus" and "occupatio" right through to the semi-colloquial "chick lit". The definitions are quite tight with "pathetic fallacy" as natural phenomena being described as having human feelings whereas you may come across it used more loosely as natural background reflecting mood with no tinge of personification. But this is a good thing in a dictionary whose aim is to preserve and propagate useful terms. You will not regret buying it: it is a first class piece of work and the best I have found.
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on 18 February 2011
I've had this book for about a year now and have been popping in and out of it regularly, looking for an explanation of what terms mean in the literature books I study. The terms I've looked up have always been in the book. The explanations are always good enough for me to understand what the terms mean.

The book is well organised and I've been impressed with the willingness of the writer(s?) to refer to examples and then print them. Such as under 'sibilance' which I recently had to look up; the book describes what the term means "The marked reference of the 'hissing' sounds known as sibilants", then gives examples such as "(usually spelt s, sh, zh, c)" then says where it's usually used "The effect, also known as sigmatism after the Greek letter sigma, is often exploited in poetry, as in Longfellow's lines" and then a proper example: "Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing;\ Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness".

It's arranged alphabetically and there's a pronunciation guide at the front (which I've never used as I'm only reading or writing these terms).

Looking through the terms, it's pretty broad what they've included. For example I wouldn't have expected to find synaesthesia in there, as it's not a literary term, but it says it's found in poetry including Keats.

So yes, I do recommend this book to all students and scholars of literature, particularly those who are expected to understand and use poetic terms.
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on 7 November 2011
This book has been invaluable to me as I have begun teaching A Level English Literature and I don't know all the terms! Now I have this book at my fingertips to produce when I don't know a literary feature or term and I have learnt a lot since buying it several weeks ago.
I recommend this book to anyone teaching A Level English Literature.
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on 8 December 2013
I'm studying English literature so anything that can help me understand things better is welcome. This is a cut-and-dry book and it gets the job done. I think A glossary of Literary Terms by Geoffrey Galt Harpham may be better because it is more detailed but this one is fine too.
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on 1 February 2014
I always use it when doing my english essays/coursework - it really is a must have for literature students! Contains all the terms you need to know (and more) and explains them with accurate examples which makes the rather complex literary terms simple and accessible to understand.
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on 8 January 2013
In the school/college library we keep several different dictionaries of literary terms as each one is (obviously!) not completely comprehensive, however if for home use you want to own just one - this would be an excellent one to choose. The definitions are arranged in a straight alphabetical sequence, as opposed to a thematic arrangement, and the compilers have resisted the temptation to define unknown literary terms by using even more unknown literary terms which makes it a clear and easy to use reference tool. This work is now in its third edition so it has been kept well up to date. Good value for money too.
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on 8 March 2014
Great handy dictionary for English students.

Contains all the main literary terms, however not very handy if you're studying poetry. Otherwise it's simple to understand and gives great examples.
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on 2 October 2013
The book itself is fantastic, but, when receiving the book it was not in a 'good' condition. The sides of the book were crumpled and peeling from the book, and when buying it from new I was very disappointed with this.
I will recommend this book to friends on my course, but will make them aware of the poor condition.
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