Modern literary and cultural criticism has tended to express itself in terms unfamiliar to the nonspecialist (e.g., gynesis
). This dictionary provides succinct definitions of more than 450 terms relating to criticism and theory in literature, film, linguistics, psychoanalysis, philosophy, feminist studies, media studies, and related areas. Major concepts and schools of thought receive somewhat longer treatment (e.g., two pages for deconstruction
). Pronunciation is provided for terms when necessary.
While the needs of the nonspecialist receive special consideration, the dictionary also aims to serve as a useful reference for users with some background in modern criticism and theory. The compilers omitted terms too narrowly associated with a single discipline or adequately treated in sources covering specific fields. The bibliographies that follow most entries direct the user to fuller treatments of the topics. A comprehensive bibliography of 25 pages lists all the works cited in the entry bibliographies. Cross-references within entries direct users to related entries. An index of names includes critics and theoreticians, ranging from Freud to Foucault, cited or discussed in the entries.
Recommended, as appropriate, for academic and large public libraries.
The organization of the Dictionary is genuinely helpful, including as it does short bibliographies for some of the heavyweight entries, pronunciation guides for others and careful cross-references throughout.The entries themselves are lucid, reliable, and often scrupulous in distinguishing various senses of the same term used in different intellectual traditions. -- Times Literary Supplement