A Review of Martin Gray's A Dictionary of Literary Terms
If you are looking for a comprehensive and accessible guide to literary terminology, you might want to check out Martin Gray's A Dictionary of Literary Terms. This book, first published in 1988 and revised in 1992, covers a wide range of concepts and topics related to literature, from genres and movements to technical language and schools of criticism. It also provides clear examples and references to illustrate each term and concept.
One of the strengths of this book is its scope and depth. It explains not only the familiar and basic terms, such as metaphor, irony, and tragedy, but also the more obscure and specialized ones, such as zeugma, intertextuality, and ecocriticism. It also covers terms that span different periods and traditions of literature, such as neoclassicism, romanticism, imagism, realism, magic realism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism. Moreover, it updates some of the entries to reflect the latest developments and trends in literary studies.
Another strength of this book is its clarity and readability. It avoids jargon and technicality as much as possible, and uses simple and concise language to explain each term and concept. It also organizes the entries alphabetically for easy reference, and cross-references related terms within the text. Furthermore, it provides helpful examples from various literary works to illustrate each term and concept, as well as suggestions for further reading at the end of each entry.
However, this book is not without its limitations. One of them is its lack of visual aids, such as diagrams, charts, or tables, to supplement the textual explanations. For instance, it would have been useful to have a visual representation of the different types of sonnets or meters to compare their structures and patterns. Another limitation is its occasional bias or omission of certain perspectives or approaches in literary studies. For example, it does not include terms related to queer theory or disability studies, which are important fields in contemporary literature.
Overall, Martin Gray's A Dictionary of Literary Terms is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about literature and its terminology. It is informative, comprehensive, and accessible, and can enhance one's enjoyment and understanding of literary works. However, it is not a definitive or exhaustive source of literary knowledge, and should be supplemented by other books or sources that offer more diverse and updated perspectives on literature.
If you are interested in reading this book, you can find a pdf version online at https://archive.org/details/dictionaryoflite0000gray, or you can buy a paperback version at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dictionary-Literary-Terms-York-Handbooks/dp/0582080371. 29c81ba772