Roldand Greene, Editor in Chief, Cushman, Stephen, General Editor,

Publisher: Princeton, N.J, Princeton University Press, 2012,

ISBN:  13-9780691154916

Anyone interested in literature and reading has eagerly awaited the 4th Edition of one of the greatest literary reference works in all of poetry: The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics recognized since its first publication in 1965 as a standard source for information on all things poetical. Roland Greene is the Editor in Chief and Stephen Cushman is the General Editor of this extraordinary work. Roland Greene is the Mark Pigott, OBE, Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University, and  Stephen Cushman is the Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Priced in paperback at less than 3 cents per page and containing over 1100 entries of astonishing detail,  this volume is a must for every public and private collection. Consider these examples: the entry on ‘Metaphor’ is 15 (8” x 3”) columns in length divided into 6 sections: Critical Views, History, Recent Views, Current Debates, and Summary. At the end of the article there are three extensive bibliographies listing Anthologies, Histories, and Texts.  The article on ‘The Poetry of Canada’ in 12 columns is divided into English and French Poetry sections and concludes with substantial lists of Anthologies and Criticism and History. The article on ‘Gay Poetry’, 6 columns, while somewhat shorter, concludes with lists of Anthologies and Criticism as well. Slightly more esoteric, the brief article on ‘The Nativity Poem’ refers the reader to the sections on Devotional Poetry, Liturgical Poetry, and Religion and Poetry but also concludes with a short bibliography.

Of the 1100 entries, 250 are new, we are told, and many of the major entries from past editions have been ‘re-conceived’. Of the new entries, for example, one finds comments on the poetries of African, Latin American, East and South Asian and Eastern European countries. as well as notations on topics of recent times, for example, electronic poetry and comments on movements such as hip-hop poetics. Bibliographies have been updated, page designs are easier to use, and for the first time there is a full General Index and well as an index of contributors as all articles are signed, and also a Topical List of Entries.

Price is always a consideration, especially for students, and this Encyclopedia seems very affordable at $49-50 for the Paperback which is well bound and can survive the years well. When one compares this reference book to other standard literature student purchases, the ‘Princeton’ fairs well considering that a new Riverside Shakespeare costs $82.59 and a Riverside Chaucer $136.34.
When all is said and done, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetic is an excellent, worthy addition to anyone’s collection.

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