The Ultimate Resource for Literary Studies: Martin Gray's A Dictionary of Literary Terms
A Review of Martin Gray's A Dictionary of Literary Terms
If you are a student or a scholar of literature, you may have encountered some terms or concepts that are unfamiliar or confusing to you. You may have wondered what distinguishes realism from 'classic bourgeois' realism and magic realism, how a Shakespearean sonnet differs from a Spenserian or a Petrarchan sonnet, or who were the Cambridge Critics, the Graveyard Poets and the Tribe of Ben. To answer these and many other literary questions, you may need a reliable and comprehensive guide that can help you navigate through the complex and fascinating world of literature. One such guide is Martin Gray's A Dictionary of Literary Terms, which is the subject of this article.
What is A Dictionary of Literary Terms?
Who is Martin Gray?
Martin Gray is a British author and scholar who has written several books on literature, including Blues for Bird and The Poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson. He is also one of the editors of The Longman Anthology of British Literature. He has taught at various universities in the UK, Canada, and Australia, and has been a visiting professor at several institutions around the world.
What are the main features of the dictionary?
A Dictionary of Literary Terms is a reference book that was first published in 1988 by Longman, and has been revised and updated several times since then. The latest edition, published in 2012, contains over 1,000 entries that cover various aspects of literature, such as literary movements (Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Imagism), genres and sub-genres (tragedy, elegy, roman a these), technical language (anapaest, synecdoche, hamartia), and schools of literary theory (structuralism, deconstructionism, feminist criticism). Each entry provides a clear and concise definition and explanation of the term or concept, followed by examples and references from various literary works. The dictionary also includes cross-references to related entries, bibliographies for further reading, and appendices that list literary awards, literary periods, poetic forms, rhetorical devices, and symbols.
Why is A Dictionary of Literary Terms useful for students and scholars of literature?
It covers a wide range of literary concepts and topics
One of the main advantages of A Dictionary of Literary Terms is that it covers a wide range of literary concepts and topics that span from the ancient to the contemporary, from the familiar to the esoteric, from the general to the specific. Whether you are interested in classical mythology, medieval romance, modern drama, postcolonial literature, or anything in between, you are likely to find an entry that suits your needs. The dictionary also reflects the diversity and richness of literature across different cultures, languages, traditions, and perspectives. You can learn about African American literature, Chinese literature, Irish literature, Latin American literature, Native American literature, Russian literature, and many more.
It provides clear and concise definitions and explanations
Another advantage of A Dictionary of Literary Terms is that it provides clear and concise definitions and explanations of the terms and concepts that it covers. The dictionary avoids jargon and technicality, and uses simple and accessible language that can be understood by anyone with a basic knowledge of literature. The dictionary also avoids bias and dogmatism, and presents different views and interpretations of the terms and concepts without favoring one over another. The dictionary aims to inform and enlighten, not to persuade or indoctrinate.
It includes examples and references from various literary works
A third advantage of A Dictionary of Literary Terms is that it includes examples and references from various literary works that illustrate and support the definitions and explanations of the terms and concepts. The dictionary draws from a wide range of sources, from canonical works to contemporary ones, from poetry to prose, from fiction to non-fiction. The dictionary also cites works from different genres, styles, periods, and cultures, showing the diversity and versatility of literature. The examples and references not only help to clarify the meanings and usages of the terms and concepts, but also to enrich the reader's knowledge and appreciation of literature.
How to use A Dictionary of Literary Terms effectively?
Choose the appropriate entry for your query
To use A Dictionary of Literary Terms effectively, you need to choose the appropriate entry for your query. The dictionary is arranged alphabetically by the first letter of each entry, so you can easily locate the term or concept that you are looking for. However, some terms or concepts may have more than one entry, depending on their meanings or contexts. For example, the term "romance" has two entries: one as a genre of literature that involves love and adventure, and another as a mode of literature that involves fantasy and imagination. To avoid confusion, you need to select the entry that matches your query.
Consult the cross-references and bibliographies for further reading
To use A Dictionary of Literary Terms effectively, you also need to consult the cross-references and bibliographies for further reading. The dictionary provides cross-references to related entries that can help you expand your understanding of the term or concept that you are interested in. For example, if you are reading the entry on "metaphor", you can also check the entries on "simile", "analogy", "metonymy", "synecdoche", etc. The dictionary also provides bibliographies for further reading that can help you deepen your knowledge of the term or concept that you are interested in. For example, if you are reading the entry on "postmodernism", you can also read some of the works by Jean-François Lyotard, Fredric Jameson, Linda Hutcheon, etc.
Compare and contrast different terms and perspectives
To use A Dictionary of Literary Terms effectively, you also need to compare and contrast different terms and perspectives. The dictionary offers a variety of terms and perspectives that can help you explore the complexity and diversity of literature. For example, if you are reading the entry on "narrator", you can also compare and contrast different types of narrators, such as first-person narrator, third-person narrator, omniscient narrator, unreliable narrator, etc. You can also compare and contrast different perspectives on narrators, such as structuralist perspective, psychoanalytic perspective, feminist perspective, etc.
Summary of the main points
In conclusion, A Dictionary of Literary Terms by Martin Gray is a useful and comprehensive guide for students and scholars of literature. It covers a wide range of literary concepts and topics that span from the ancient to the contemporary, from the familiar to the esoteric, from the general to the specific. It provides clear and concise definitions and explanations of the terms and concepts that it covers. It includes examples and references from various literary works that illustrate and support the definitions and explanations. It also provides cross-references to related entries and bibliographies for further reading that can help expand and deepen the reader's understanding and knowledge of literature.
Evaluation of the dictionary's strengths and limitations
Recommendation for potential readers
The dictionary is suitable for anyone who is interested in literature, whether they are students, scholars, teachers, writers, readers, or critics. It can be used as a reference book, a textbook, a handbook, or a companion. It can be used for learning, teaching, researching, writing, reading, or enjoying literature. It can be used for any level of study, from beginner to advanced. It can be used for any purpose, from academic to personal. It can be used for any occasion, from formal to informal. It can be used for any mood, from serious to playful.
Therefore, I highly recommend A Dictionary of Literary Terms by Martin Gray to anyone who wants to enhance their knowledge and appreciation of literature. It is a book that you will find useful and enjoyable, and that you will return to again and again.
A Table of Some Literary Terms and Their Definitions
Term Definition --- --- Allegory A story or a poem that has a hidden or symbolic meaning Alliteration The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words Allusion A reference to another work of literature or to a person, place, event, or idea that is well-known Antagonist The character or force that opposes the protagonist or main character Archetype A typical or universal example of a character, theme, symbol, or genre Characterization The process of creating and developing a character Climax The point of highest interest or tension in a story or a poem Conflict The struggle between opposing forces or characters in a story or a poem Diction The choice and use of words and phrases in speech or writing Figurative language Language that uses figures of speech, such as metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole, etc., to create images and effects Foreshadowing The use of hints or clues to suggest what will happen later in a story or a poem Genre A category or type of literature based on form, style, content, and audience Imagery The use of words and phrases that appeal to the senses and create pictures in the mind Irony A contrast between what is expected and what actually happens or between what is said and what is meant Metaphor A figure of speech that compares two things without using like or as Mood The feeling or atmosphere that a writer creates for the reader Motif A recurring element, such as an image, a symbol, a theme, or an idea, in a work of literature Narrator The person who tells the story or the poem Plot The sequence of events in a story or a poem Point of view The perspective from which a story or a poem is told Protagonist The main character in a story or a poem Rhyme The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the end of words Rhythm The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry Setting The time and place where a story or a poem takes place Symbol A person, place, thing, or idea that stands for something else Theme The main idea or message of a work of literature Tone The attitude or emotion that a writer expresses toward his or her subject FAQs
What is the difference between literary terms and literary devices?
Literary terms are general concepts and categories that are used to describe and analyze literature. Literary devices are specific techniques and methods that writers use to create effects and meanings in their works. For example, metaphor is a literary term that refers to a type of figurative language. Simile is a literary device that is a type of metaphor that uses like or as.
How many entries are there in A Dictionary of Literary Terms?
There are over 1,000 entries in A Dictionary of Literary Terms. Each entry ranges from a few lines to several pages.
How can I access A Dictionary of Literary Terms?
You can access A Dictionary of Literary Terms in various ways. You can buy it online or from bookstores. You can borrow it from libraries. You can download it as an e-book or as a PDF file. You can also find some of its entries online on websites such as Google Books or Internet Archive.
Who is the target audience of A Dictionary of Literary Terms?
The target audience of A Dictionary of Literary Terms is anyone who is interested in literature, whether they are students, scholars, teachers, writers, readers, or critics. The dictionary is suitable for any level of study, from beginner to advanced. The dictionary is also suitable for any purpose, from academic to personal.
What are some of the benefits of reading A Dictionary of Literary Terms?
Some of the benefits of reading A Dictionary of Literary Terms are: - You can learn new terms and concepts that can enrich your understanding and appreciation of literature. - You can clarify and review terms and concepts that you already know or have encountered in your studies or readings. - You can explore and compare different terms and perspectives that can broaden your horizons and perspectives on literature. - You can find examples and references from various literary works that can inspire and entertain you. - You can improve your vocabulary, writing, and communication skills by using the appropriate and precise language to express your ideas and opinions on literature. 71b2f0854b