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A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, 5th Edition

J. A. Cuddon, M. A. R. Habib (Revised by), Matthew Birchwood (Associate Editor), Martin Dines (Associate Editor), Shanyn Fiske (Associate Editor), Vedrana Velickovic (Associate Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-118-32600-8
808 pages
November 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, 5th Edition (1118326008) cover image


With new entries and sensitive edits, this fifth edition places J.A. Cuddon’s indispensable dictionary firmly in the 21st Century.

  • Written in a clear and highly readable style
  • Comprehensive historical coverage extending from ancient times to the present day
  • Broad intellectual and cultural range
  • Expands on the previous edition to incorporate the most recent  literary terminology
  • New material is particularly focused in areas such as gender studies and queer theory, post-colonial theory, post-structuralism, post-modernism, narrative theory, and cultural studies.
  • Existing entries have been edited to ensure that topics receive balanced treatment
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Fifth Edition by M. A. R. Habib vi

Preface to the Fourth Edition by C. E. Preston viii

Preface to the Third Edition by J. A. Cuddon x

Acknowledgements xvi

List of Abbreviations xvii

A-Z of Entries 1-784

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Author Information


J. A. Cuddon was a renowned academic, essayist, novelist, playwright, and travel writer.  He died in March 1996.


M. A. R. Habib, Professor of English, Rutgers University, Camden. His books include the highly acclaimed A History of Literary Criticism: From Plato to the Present (Blackwell, 2005), Modern Literary Criticism and Theory: A History (2008), Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction (2011), and the Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Vol. VI: the Nineteenth Century (ed., 2012).

Associate Editors

Matthew Birchwood, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Kingston University, London

Vedrana Velickovic, Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Brighton

Martin Dines, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Kingston University, London

Shanyn Fiske, Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, Camden.

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“Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduate students in English and comparative literatures; general readers.”  (Choice, 1 August 2013)

“In an age of fast googling, this will remain an indispensable tool for students..."—Jean-Michel Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania

"This dictionary has been a standard resource for years, but this new edition, with a new editor, provides a timely remake, with strategic nipping and tucking of  previous entries and adding a good many new entries that keep pace with all that's happened in literary study over the past three decades. The best single source of terms old and new. "—Jeffrey J Williams, Carnegie Mellon University

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