Cover image for Encyclopedia of literary critics and criticism
Encyclopedia of literary critics and criticism
Murray, Chris.
[New edition].
Publication Information:
London ; Chicago : Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
2 volumes (xxviii, 1332 pages) ; 29 cm
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: Critical survey of literary theory / edited by Frank N. Magill. c1987.
v. 1. A-K -- v. 2. L-Z.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN75.E53 E53 1999 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
PN75.E53 E53 1999 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



First published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Modern literary theory allows for two views (at least!) of Murray's Encyclopedia of Literary Critics and Criticism. On the one hand, much of it is a familiar text, based on and often faithfully transcribed from Frank Magill's four-volume Critical Survey of Literary Theory (Salem Press, 1987). Judged by some theories, this could be considered highly derivative. However, judged by others, it could be an entirely new creation if its readers perceive it as such. Reference librarians will disregard theory and judge it primarily as an expansion of an existing, proven reference work. Encyclopedia of Literary Critics and Criticism takes 250 of the original's 275 profiles of individual critics and theorists and rearranges their sections to lead with the biographical summary before summarizing the subject's influence, analyzing his or her body of work, and citing other major literary works and forms. Bibliographies of the subjects' works have been expanded and enriched by adding both primary works and citations of secondary criticism about those works. Revision of article text, however, has been minimal and appears to be limited to entries on active critics. For example, the entry on Stanley Fish updates his biography to record his move from Duke to the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999 and to take into account, in the essay's penultimate paragraph, his 1989 book Doing What Comes Naturally. The contents have been expanded significantly through the addition of 117 new entries. A third of these cover the lives and contributions of critics. Even though this new group includes familiar figures such as W. H. Auden, F. W. Bateson, Robert Graves, Martin Heidegger, David Lodge, and Oscar Wilde, the new personal entries' greatest value lies in expanded coverage of Islamic and Third World figures. The majority of new entries are topical. This is a significant, and welcome, expansion on the older work's survey articles recounting the history of literary criticism in various periods or cultures. These surveys remain, enriched by the addition of articles on Arabic and Indian literary theory. New topical articles address theories and critical approaches such as Deconstruction, Feminist criticism, Hermeneutics, Phenomenological criticism, Reader-response criticism, Semiotics, and Structuralism. Others tackle key concepts such as Author, Canon, Intertextuality, Prague School, Sublime, and Yale School. These topical articles, linked to related articles of every type through end-of-entry see also references, provide needed background, explanation, and context for the articles on people and their ideas. Even the slippery, ineffable concept of deconstruction is explained in an intelligible way in the entry devoted to this linchpin theory. In addition to the see also references linking articles, a general index ties together scattered discussions of ideas, both those at the level of full entries and incidental treatment. Page-number citations in bold type distinguish primary references from secondary references. Length of entries ranges from 800 to 14,500 words. Thanks in large part to the many new topical articles and the way they complement the new and old content on critics, Encyclopedia of Literary Critics and Criticism supersedes its predecessor and takes its place as the key reference source on literary theory, theoreticians, critics, and criticism. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.

Library Journal Review

An update of Salem Press's 1987 title Critical Survey of Literary Theory, this completely revised and expanded edition is a very useful and in-depth resource. The two-volume set includes 375 entries on both Western and non-Western literary traditions, from the start of criticism with the Greeks through postmodernism. Varying in length from a couple of long paragraphs to several pages, the entries are of four different types: on individuals, surveys of literary periods, essays on critical theories, and definitions of key concepts. The entries on individuals, such as Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida, investigate in detail the critic's thinking and influence. The surveys of literary periods cover different schools or time periods, including 20th-century French, British, and American theory. The criticism essays explain 28 different schools such as reader-response and semiotics, while terms covered in the short-definitions sections range from the surreal to the pastoral. More extensive in scope (both in geographical range and time periods) than other like references, this work will serve students and reference librarians well. Highly recommended for academic libraries.--Neal Wyatt, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., Richmond, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Murray reincarnates Critical Survey of Literary Theory, ed. by Frank Magill (CH, Feb'89), with 800- to 14,000-word entries that range from Japan to Yale, ancient Greeks to postmodern French. Multiple tables of contents, title and subject indexes, and see also references map 39 concepts, 292 critics/thinkers, 28 theories/approaches, and 15 national/period surveys; about seven percent of the entries cover non-Euro-American traditions. The writing, strong and scholarly, is not so specialized as that in the 20th-century-oriented Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory, ed. by Irena Makaryk (CH, Nov'93), or the more eclectic Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism, ed. by Michael Groden and Martin Kreiswirth (CH, Jul'94). Murray adds over 100 well-chosen entries, reorders the segments of entries for critics, expands and updates bibliographies, and promotes concepts/theories from glossary to entry status and integrates them with personal, national, and period entries into one alphabetical sequence. Murray's claim to completely revise Magill is exaggerated, however. Most articles have undergone at best cosmetic changes (satisfactory, since they were good originally), but entries for some living critics have been insufficiently revised; e.g., Henry Louis Gates still teaches at Cornell, Foucault dies with unintended irony from a "rare neurological disorder," and a few others such as Soyinka stall in the mid-1980s. "Modern Literary Theory" stops where Magill's stopped, by way of "revision," changing "1980s" to "1990s" in its conclusion, and overlaps without referencing them the new 20th-century British, French, and US criticism articles. The latter are short on media theory and "cultural" approaches and fail to reference other new entries on cultural and film criticism, queer and postcolonial theory, that would flesh them out. That said, and however individual readers may dispute particular articles' emphases or editorial choices about whom/what to enter, Murray is unique in scope and a worthy addition to academic reference collections. R. H. Kieft; Haverford College