The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics

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Roland Greene, Stephen Cushman, Clare Cavanagh, Jahan Ramazani, Paul Rouzer, Harris Feinsod, David Marno, Alexandra Slessarev
Princeton University Press, Aug 26, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 1639 pages

The most important poetry reference for more than four decades—now fully updated for the twenty-first century

Through three editions over more than four decades, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics has built an unrivaled reputation as the most comprehensive and authoritative reference for students, scholars, and poets on all aspects of its subject: history, movements, genres, prosody, rhetorical devices, critical terms, and more. Now this landmark work has been thoroughly revised and updated for the twenty-first century. Compiled by an entirely new team of editors, the fourth edition—the first new edition in almost twenty years—reflects recent changes in literary and cultural studies, providing up-to-date coverage and giving greater attention to the international aspects of poetry, all while preserving the best of the previous volumes.

At well over a million words and more than 1,000 entries, the Encyclopedia has unparalleled breadth and depth. Entries range in length from brief paragraphs to major essays of 15,000 words, offering a more thorough treatment—including expert synthesis and indispensable bibliographies—than conventional handbooks or dictionaries.

This is a book that no reader or writer of poetry will want to be without.

  • Thoroughly revised and updated by a new editorial team for twenty-first-century students, scholars, and poets

  • More than 250 new entries cover recent terms, movements, and related topics

  • Broader international coverage includes articles on the poetries of more than 110 nations, regions, and languages

  • Expanded coverage of poetries of the non-Western and developing worlds

  • Updated bibliographies and cross-references

  • New, easier-to-use page design

  • Fully indexed for the first time


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A great deal of work (six years in fact, although many, many more, if the combined multiple years of experience and scholarship of the contributors to this grand volume are taken into consideration) has gone into the compilation of this comprehensive guide to the vast field of Poetics, which embraces both the theoretical and the practical study of poetry. This volume, which is the fourth edition of this leading work, is founded, as well as much expanded, on the three preceding noteworthy editions. The distinguished team of editors that refined and brought the previous work that had been done on this insightful and leading work completely up-to-date personally evaluated each and every entry in the preceding edition, which was brought out almost two decades ago, in 1993, in order to see which should be retained, which amended with information that had since become available, and which should be entirely replaced with more relevant and contemporary insights, either on long-standing topics and issues, or on ones that had emerged during the time period concerned. An outstanding feature of this work has been the amount of collaboration that has contributed towards it remaining a key work in the extensive field of poetry and Poetics. Not only have the latest contributors to this volume worked jointly on a number of the entries, but previous contributors have, on many occasions, also had their say, and have been fully acknowledged for so doing, on how, where relevant, certain entries could be made more extensive and more contemporaneous.
Of the more than 1,100 entries that fill the pages of this exceptionally well-written volume, 250 entries are completely new, attesting to the significant extent of strides in the field of Poetics that have occurred over the last two decades, including the number of new schools of thought that have emerged during this period. The coverage of international poetries and movements, and the effect of new digital media on the development of poetry and its critique, has also been broadened and made more intensive. Although the 1639+ pages of the current volume have not allowed for the inclusion of individual entries on specific poets or their works, many of the entries contain allusions to such, with the expanded and contemporized bibliographies accompanying the entries serving as a key to further perusal of supplementary and complementary material on the more specific elements involved. In addition, the brand-new index, which was lacking in the previous three editions of this magnum opus, provides access to the subtopics contained within the larger entries. The entries that the Encyclopedia contains, in alphabetical order, consist of the following types: terms and concepts; genres and forms; periods, schools, and movements; the poetries of nations, regions, and languages; and poetry in relation to other cultural forms, disciplines, and social practices, such as linguistics, religion, and science.
In short, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics is to be thoroughly recommended, not only for its broad sweep of history and for its worldwide coverage (with much additional focus on the poetry and Poetics of Latin America, East and South Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe), but also for its clear organisation and presentation that is in keeping with sound academic principles.


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About the author (2012)

Roland Greene is the Mark Pigott KBE Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. Stephen Cushman is the Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Clare Cavanagh is Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Northwestern University. Jahan Ramazani is the Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Paul F. Rouzer is Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Minnesota.

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