Higher Education

A Glossary of Literary Terms, 10th Edition

  • M.H. Abrams Cornell University, Emeritus
  • Geoffrey Harpham
  • ISBN-10: 0495898023  |  ISBN-13: 9780495898023
  • 448 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2009, 2005, 1999
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $67.50
  • Newer Edition Available
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First published fifty years ago, A GLOSSARY OF LITERARY TERMS remains an essential text for all serious students of literature. Now fully updated to reflect the latest scholarship on recent and rapidly evolving critical theories, the tenth edition contains a complete glossary of essential literary terms presented as a series of engaging essays that explore the terms, place them in context, and suggest related entries and additional reading. This indispensable, authoritative, and highly affordable reference covers terms useful in discussing literature and literary history, theory, and criticism. Perfect as a core text for introductory literary theory or as a supplement to any literature course, this classic work is an invaluable reference that students can continue to use throughout their academic and professional careers.

Features and Benefits

  • The alphabetical organization makes this comprehensive text remarkably easy to use as a convenient reference.
  • To provide students with a broad understanding, each literary term is defined in a short, reader-friendly essay.
  • Within each entry, boldfaced type indicates terms for which the entry provides the principal discussion, while italics identify terms discussed more fully elsewhere in the text, making it easy to place the reading in context and locate additional useful information.

Table of Contents

How to Use This Glossary.
Literary Terms.
Index of Authors.

What's New

  • Many new entries reflect cutting-edge thought on recent and rapidly evolving critical theories, making it easy for instructors to teach these emerging ideas and for students to grasp and apply them. New terms include hyptermedia, cyberfiction fiction, romance novel, detective fiction, cognitive literary study, stylometry, collective unconscious, image clusters, and image politics, among others.
  • The lists of suggested readings appended to the entries have been expanded and updated to keep pace with current scholarship and provide more current and wide-ranging opportunities for further exploration.

Learning Resource Bundles

Choose the textbook packaged with the resources that best meet your course and student needs. Contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

Bundle: LIT (with Literature CourseMate Printed Access Card) + A Glossary of Literary Terms, 10th

ISBN-10: 1133221971  | ISBN-13: 9781133221975

List Price = $134.95  | CengageBrain Price = $134.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $99.75

This Bundle Includes:

  • A Glossary of Literary Terms
    List Price = $89.95  | CengageBrain Price = $89.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $67.50
  • LIT
    List Price = $49.95  | CengageBrain Price = $49.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $37.50

Bundle: Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, 11th + A Glossary of Literary Terms. 10th

ISBN-10:  113322198X | ISBN-13:  9781133221982

List Price = $307.95  | CengageBrain Price = $307.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $231.75

This Bundle Includes:

  • Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense
    List Price = $218.95  | CengageBrain Price = $218.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $164.25
  • A Glossary of Literary Terms
    List Price = $89.95  | CengageBrain Price = $89.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $67.50

Efficacy and Outcomes


"Just as approaches to literary studies have evolved, A Glossary of Literary Terms, has met the challenge of evolving and morphing into just what is needed for undergraduates, graduates, and professors of English and American Literature."

— Mary-Antoinette Smith, Seattle University

"This book is unique, superior because of the comprehensive, synthesizing, essay-based approach and its lucidity . . .essays are ambitiously comprehensive yet succinct . . .This book is second to none."

— Stephen Souris, Texas Woman's U


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Edition  (ISBN-10: 049590337X | ISBN-13: 9780495903376)

Meet the Author

Author Bio

M.H. Abrams

M. H. Abrams is a distinguished scholar who has written prize-winning books on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, literary criticism, and European Romanticism. He also is General Editor for THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE. In addition, M. H. Abrams has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller Postwar fellowships and the Award for Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990).

Geoffrey Harpham

Geoffrey Galt Harpham is the director of the National Humanities Center. The recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, he has written extensively in the fields of literary criticism, critical theory, and intellectual history. Among his many books are ON THE GROTESQUE, ONE OF US: THE MASTERY OF JOSEPH CONRAD and THE HUMANITIES AND THE DREAM OF AMERICA.