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Henry Seleznev
Henry Seleznev

The Ultimate PDF Resource for Literary Terms: A Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams

Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams: A Review

If you are interested in literature, you may have come across a book called Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams. This book is one of the most popular and authoritative references for literary terminology in the English language. It has been used by students, teachers, writers, critics, and general readers for over six decades. But what is this book about? Who is its author? And how can you get a copy of it? In this article, we will answer these questions and more.

glossary literary terms mh abrams pdf download


What is a glossary of literary terms?

A glossary of literary terms is a list of words and phrases that are used to describe or analyze various aspects of literature. These terms may include genres, forms, styles, techniques, devices, themes, movements, theories, and so on. A glossary of literary terms usually provides definitions, examples, explanations, and historical backgrounds for each term. The purpose of a glossary of literary terms is to help readers understand and appreciate different kinds of literary works.

Who is M.H. Abrams?

M.H. Abrams (1912-2015) was an American literary critic and professor who specialized in Romanticism and literary theory. He was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and studied at Harvard University. He taught at Cornell University for most of his career. He was also the editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, a widely used textbook for English literature courses. He wrote several books on literary criticism, such as The Mirror and the Lamp, Natural Supernaturalism, The Correspondent Breeze, The Fourth Dimension of a Poem, and A Glossary of Literary Terms. He received many honors and awards for his contributions to literature, such as the National Humanities Medal, the MLA Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award, and the Festschrift in his honor.

What are the main features of the book?

Structure and organization

The book is divided into two parts: Part I contains an alphabetical list of literary terms, and Part II contains a chronological survey of literary movements and schools. Each term in Part I has an entry that consists of a definition, a pronunciation guide, an etymology, a usage note, and one or more examples from literary works. The examples are often accompanied by brief commentaries that illustrate the meaning and function of the term. The entries are cross-referenced to other related terms in the book. Part II provides an overview of the major literary movements and schools in Western literature, from classical to contemporary times. Each movement or school has a section that describes its historical context, main characteristics, representative authors and works, and critical perspectives.

Scope and coverage

The book covers a wide range of literary terms, from the most common and basic to the most specialized and advanced. It includes terms from various genres, such as poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction. It also includes terms from various traditions, such as British, American, European, and world literature. The book does not claim to be exhaustive or definitive, but rather selective and representative. It aims to include the most important and relevant terms for literary study and appreciation.

Style and presentation

The book is written in a clear, concise, and accessible style. It avoids jargon and technicality as much as possible, but does not sacrifice accuracy or rigor. It explains the terms in simple and straightforward language, but also provides nuances and complexities when necessary. It uses examples from various sources and periods, but also updates them with contemporary references when appropriate. It balances between tradition and innovation, between description and evaluation, between information and interpretation.

Updates and revisions

The book has been updated and revised several times since its first edition in 1957. The latest edition is the tenth edition, published in 2012. The updates and revisions reflect the changes and developments in literary studies over the years. They include new terms, new examples, new commentaries, new sections, new cross-references, new bibliographies, and new illustrations. The updates and revisions also reflect the feedback and suggestions from the users of the book over the years. They aim to make the book more comprehensive, current, reliable, and user-friendly.

What are the benefits of using the book?

For students and teachers

The book is a valuable resource for students and teachers of literature. It can help students learn and master the vocabulary of literary analysis and criticism. It can help teachers explain and illustrate the concepts and methods of literary study. It can also help both students and teachers discover and explore new aspects of literature.

For writers and critics

The book is a useful tool for writers and critics of literature. It can help writers improve their craft and creativity by learning from the techniques and devices of other writers. It can help critics enhance their skills and insights by applying the theories and perspectives of other critics. It can also help both writers and critics communicate their ideas and opinions more effectively by using the appropriate terms.

For general readers and enthusiasts

The book is a fun guide for general readers and enthusiasts of literature. It can help readers enjoy and appreciate different kinds of literary works by understanding their forms and meanings. It can help enthusiasts expand their knowledge and interest in literature by introducing them to new terms and topics. It can also help both readers and enthusiasts share their passion for literature with others by using the common language of literary terms.

How can you access the book?

Print version

The print version of the book is available in hardcover or paperback formats. You can buy it online or offline from various retailers or publishers. You can also borrow it from libraries or friends.

Online version

The online version of the book is available as an e-book or a web-based resource. You can download it or read it online from various platforms or providers. You may need to pay a fee or register an account to access it.

PDF version

The PDF version of the book is available as a digital file that you can view or print on your computer or device. You can download it from various websites or sources. You may need to search for it or use a link to find it.


In conclusion, Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams is a great book for anyone who loves literature. It is a comprehensive, authoritative, informative, interesting, accessible, updated, revised, valuable, useful, fun guide for learning about literary terms. Whether you are a student, teacher, writer, critic, reader, enthusiast or just curious about literature you should definitely check out this book.

FAQ I have already written the article for you. Here is the rest of it: FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the book and their answers:

  • Q: How many editions of the book are there?

  • A: There are ten editions of the book. The first edition was published in 1957 and the latest edition was published in 2012.

  • Q: How many terms are included in the book?

  • A: There are about 850 terms in the book. The number of terms has increased over the editions as new terms have been added and old terms have been revised.

  • Q: How can I cite the book in my academic work?

  • A: You can use the following format to cite the book in your academic work: Abrams, M.H., and Harpham, G.G. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 10th ed., Wadsworth, 2012. You can also use other citation styles, such as MLA, APA, Chicago, etc., as long as you follow their guidelines.

  • Q: Where can I find more information about the book and its author?

A: You can find more information about the book and its author from various sources, such as: - The official website of the book:

- The Wikipedia page of M.H. Abrams:

  • - The obituary of M.H. Abrams in The New York Times:



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