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Literary Reference Sources

Say you're building a core literary reference collection in your public, school or home library. You have some shelf space, a small budget, and are actually thinking "print format!" In this section, we invite suggestions for literary reference books that will be helpful, compact, and relatively inexpensive.

Suggested References

  • Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature, in one volume, half dictionary, half encyclopedia, is a comprehensive survey of world literature. With more than 10,000 entries, you can find information on authors, works, terms, genres, and literary forms. It includes helpful features like biographical sketches, plot summaries, and listings for literary characters, landmarks, journals, and prizes. $39.95. Published in Springfield, Massachusetts, by Merriam-Webster, 1995.

  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, 2nd Ed., is a dictionary of "approximately 1,000 terms relating to literary criticism that (the author) considers to be most likely to cause the student or general reader some doubt or bafflement." The explanations are clear and succinct. The work features a pronunciation guide. A handy guide for students. $14.95. Published by Oxford University Press, 2001.

  • The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics, 3rd Ed., deals with all aspects of its subject: history, types, movements, prosody, and critical terminology. It's an excellent resource for the student, the general reader, and the literary scholar. $45.00. Published by Princeton University Press, 1993

  • The Penguin Dictionary of the Theatre provides comprehensive coverage to the world of the theatre. In over 5,000 articles, it explores the theatre in all ages, nations, and styles. $16.00. Published by Penguin USA, 2001

-- submitted by Michael Catoggio

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