Cover image for A dictionary of literary and thematic terms
Title:
A dictionary of literary and thematic terms
Author:
Quinn, Edward, 1932-2012.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Facts On File, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
viii, 360 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780816032327
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In clear, succinct, non-technical language, this new dictionary of more than 850 terms expands upon the definition of "literary." It is the first book of its kind to give students a traditional literary vocabulary and related theoretical, historical, and cultural terms. It's a must-have reference for the interdisciplinary world of contemporary literary studies.

Features include:
-- Newly created definitions and examples of standard literary and related terms
-- Essays on major themes in literature
-- Terms related to Third World and feminist literature
-- Major contemporary theoretical terms
-- Cultural terms from other disciplines that touch peripherally on literature
-- References for further reading.


Author Notes

Edward Quinn is Professor Emeritus of English at the City College of New York. He Holds a Ph.D. from New York University and has co-edited several major reference works, including the classic The Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare. Mr. Quinn lives in Brooklyn, NY.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In addition to providing the usual definitions of the ancient and modern terminology of literature, this dictionary addresses major themes. The author also broadens the meaning of "literature." His "expanded view of the term literary" encompasses topics such as Gangster film, Sitcom, and Rap as well as Catharsis, Metaphor, and Picaresque. Emphasis is placed on terms used in the study and teaching of literature since the 1960s. Definitions seem to be aimed toward the reader with more than a little knowledge of the subject, but where background is needed to fully explain a term or concept, Quinn has provided it. Cross-references abound. Entries range in length from just one sentence (e.g., Assonance, Prosody) to more than a page (e.g., African American literature, Feminist criticism, Pastoral.) The language may get somewhat technical at times, the cross-references being a decided help in this area. The addition of thematic concepts is the feature that sets this book apart from other dictionaries of literary terms. Major, time-honored themes are here, such as Death, Love, and Time. Topics that resonate in our own era (AIDS, Alienation, Holocaust, etc.) are also included. The curious reader who is seeking additional information will find suggestions for further reading appended to key entries. This volume supplements standard titles such as A Glossary of Literary Terms (7th ed., Harcourt Brace, 1999), A Handbook to Literature (8th ed., Prentice Hall, 2000), and Greenwood's Dictionary of Themes and Motifs (1988), which treats some of the same themes in greater depth. Recommended for public, college, and high-school libraries.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Employing an expanded use of the word "literary," this volume includes social, theoretical, and historical terms as they relate to literature, film, television, and others forms of popular culture. In addition to the many expected terms (iamb, onomatopoeia), entries on places (Abbey Theatre), philosophical principles (the Absolute), movements (futurism), and discussions on major themes such as love and jealousy are also covered. Most of the clear, concise entries offer excellent examples of written and cinematic works that further clarify the definitions and/or titles of resources that provide additional commentary on the topics. While there is no pronunciation key for the foreign words and expressions, this valuable resource is more accessible and broader in approach than other literary dictionaries.-J. B. MacDonald, Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Quinn's 850-entry, Aristotle-to-postmodernism dictionary adds vocabulary from the performing/visual arts and popular media to the familiar roster of entries for literary critical, rhetorical, and theoretical terms, periods, movements, genres, institutions, and publications. Terms are English-language except for a few naturalized from other languages. Entries range from a couple of lines to more than a page; one-to-three item bibliographies, briefly and often not helpfully annotated, accompany many entries. Articles on the literatures of US minorities are serviceable as historical outlines but are short on discussion of those literatures' distinctive themes and relationships to the dominant Anglo tradition. Quinn (English emeritus, CUNY) is unique among competitors in treating 38 literary themes (e.g., love, war, AIDS, Holocaust, silence), articles just long enough to be substantively and bibliographically unsatisfying in some cases; granting that the "how-much-is-enough?" problem intensifies with "long" brief entries, Quinn's shorter definitions are better than his longer treatments. Despite its clear writing, catholicity, and thematic entries, this dictionary unconvincingly braves strong predecessors M. H. Abrams's Glossary of Literary Terms (6th ed., CH, Sep'93), J.A. Cuddon's A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (4th ed., CH, Mar'99), Jeremy Hawthorn's Glossary of Contemporary Literary Theory (3rd ed., CH. Oct'98), C. Hugh Holman's A Handbook to Literature (7th ed., 1996), and Ross Murfin and Supryia Ray's The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms (CH, Jun'98). R. H. Kieft; Haverford College


Excerpts

Excerpts

In clear, non-technical language, this dictionary of more than 850 literary terms and themes takes an expanded view of the term literary. The first book of its kind that gives students not only a traditional literary vocabulary, but also the knowledge of related theoretical, historical, and cultural terms they need in the interdisciplinary world of contemporary literary studies. Features include: Fresh definitions and examples of standard literary and related terms such as meter, antagonist, and New Criticism Essays on major themes in literature such as evil, power, love, death, time, and more Terms related to Third World and feminist literature Major contemporary theoretical terms, with clear definitions and examples Culture terms from film, television, psychology, history, and other fields that touch peripherally on literature References for further reading Extensive cross-references. Excerpted from A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms by Edward Quinn All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.