The New Critical Idiom

Series Editor: John Drakakis

The New Critical Idiom is an invaluable series of introductory guides designed to meet the needs of today's students grappling with the complexities of modern critical terminology. Each book in the series provides:

  • A clear, explanatory guide to the use (and abuse) of the term
  • An original and distinctive overview by a leading literary and cultural critic
  • Helpful definitions of the boundaries between the literary and non-literary
  • Basic guidance for the introductory reader in how the term relates to the larger field of cultural representation

With a strong emphasis on clarity, lively debate and the widest possible breadth of examples, The New Critical Idiom is an indispensable guide to key topics in literary studies.

  • The Sublime

    2nd Edition

    By Philip Shaw

    Related to ideas of the great, the awe-inspiring and the overpowering, the sublime has been debated for centuries amongst writers, artists, philosophers and theorists and has become a complex yet crucial concept in many disciplines. This new edition of The Sublime looks at: The legacy of the…

    Paperback – 2016-05-31 
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • The Aphorism and Other Short Forms

    By Ben Grant

    The aphorism captures a huge amount of knowledge, meaning or wit in a very short statement. It has been used and studied from classical times to contemporary theory and takes on a new relevance when we look at today’s communication media such as text messages and twitter. This concise guide offers…

    Paperback – 2016-04-30 
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Literary Geography

    By Sheila Hones

    Literary Geography provides a valuable introduction to the field, making work in cultural geography more accessible and visible to students and academics working in literary studies. Acknowledging how the cultural turn in human geography and the spatial turn in literary studies are together…

    Paperback – 2016-01-31 
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Adaptation and Appropriation

    2nd Edition

    By Julie Sanders

    From the apparently simple adaptation of a text into film, theatre or a new literary work, to the more complex appropriation of style or meaning, it is arguable that all texts are somehow connected to a network of existing texts and art forms. In this new edition Adaptation and Appropriation…

    Paperback – 2015-11-25 
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Colonialism/Postcolonialism

    3rd Edition

    By Ania Loomba

    Colonialism/Postcolonialism is a comprehensive yet accessible guide to the historical, theoretical and political dimensions of colonial and postcolonial studies. This new edition includes a new introduction and conclusion as well as extensive updates throughout. Topics covered include globalization…

    Paperback – 2015-04-27
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Genre

    2nd Edition

    By John Frow

    This second edition of John Frow’s Genre offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the area. Genre is a key means by which we categorize the many forms of literature and culture, but it is also much more than that: in talk and writing, in music and images, in film and television, genres…

    Paperback – 2014-09-15
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Comedy

    2nd Edition

    By Andrew Stott

    This new edition of Andrew Stott’s Comedy builds on themes presented in the first edition such as focusing on the significance of comic 'events' through study of various theoretical methodologies, including deconstruction, psychoanalysis and gender theory, and provides case studies of a number of…

    Paperback – 2014-07-08
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Narrative

    2nd Edition

    By Paul Cobley

    Human beings have constantly told stories, presented events and placed the world into narrative form. This activity suggests a very basic way of looking at the world, yet, this book argues, even the most seemingly simple of stories is embedded in a complex network of relations. Paul Cobley traces…

    Paperback – 2013-11-19
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Gothic

    2nd Edition

    By Fred Botting

    This enduringly popular book has become a classic in the expanding and increasingly popular field of Gothic Studies. This long awaited new edition contains a new chapter on ‘Contemporary Gothic’, an expanded section on American Gothic and more discussion of the gothic in women’s film and writing…

    Paperback – 2013-10-03
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Translation

    By Susan Bassnett

    In a time when millions travel around the planet; some by choice, some driven by economic or political exile, translation of the written and spoken word is of ever increasing importance. This guide presents readers with an accessible and engaging introduction to the valuable position translation…

    Paperback – 2013-08-29
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Fairy Tale

    By Andrew Teverson

    This volume offers a comprehensive critical and theoretical introduction to the genre of the fairy tale. It: explores the ways in which folklorists have defined the genre assesses the various methodologies used in the analysis and interpretation of fairy tale provides a detailed account of the…

    Paperback – 2013-05-27
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Grotesque

    By Justin Edwards, Rune Graulund

    Grotesque provides an invaluable and accessible guide to the use (and abuse) of this complex literary term. Justin D. Edwards and Rune Graulund explore the influence of the grotesque on cultural forms throughout history, with particular focus on its representation in literature, visual art and film…

    Paperback – 2013-05-23
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Epic

    By Paul Innes

    This student guidebook offers a clear introduction to an often complex and unwieldy area of literary studies. Tracing epic from its ancient and classical roots through postmodern and contemporary examples this volume discusses: a wide range of writers including Homer, Vergil, Ovid, Dante,…

    Paperback – 2013-01-30
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Spatiality

    By Robert T. Tally Jr.

    Spatiality has risen to become a key concept in literary and cultural studies, with critical focus on the ‘spatial turn’ presenting a new approach to the traditional literary analyses of time and history. Robert T. Tally Jr. explores differing aspects of the spatial in literary studies today,…

    Paperback – 2012-09-30
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Temporalities

    By Russell West-Pavlov

    Temporalities presents a concise critical introduction to the treatment of time throughout literature. Time and its passage represent one of the oldest and most complex philosophical subjects in art of all forms, and Russell West-Pavlov explains and interrogates the most important theories of…

    Paperback – 2012-09-26
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Romanticism

    2nd Edition

    By Aidan Day

    Romanticism was a revolutionary intellectual and artistic movement which generated some of the most popular and influential texts in British and American literary history. This clear and engaging guide introduces the history, major writers and critical issues of this crucial era. This fully updated…

    Paperback – 2011-12-12
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Ecocriticism

    2nd Edition

    By Greg Garrard

    Ecocriticism explores the ways in which we imagine and portray the relationship between humans and the environment in all areas of cultural production, from Wordsworth and Thoreau through to Google Earth, J.M. Coetzee and Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man. Greg Garrard’s animated and accessible volume…

    Paperback – 2011-07-14
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Intertextuality

    2nd Edition

    By Graham Allen

    Theories of intertextuality suggest that meaning in a text can only ever be understood in relation to other texts; no work stands alone but is interlinked with the tradition that came before it and the context in which it is produced. This idea of intertextuality is crucial to understanding…

    Paperback – 2011-05-18
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Travel Writing

    By Carl Thompson

    An increasingly popular genre – addressing issues of empire, colonialism, post-colonialism, globalization, gender and politics – travel writing offers the reader a movement between the familiar and the unknown. In this volume, Carl Thompson: introduces the genre, outlining competing…

    Paperback – 2011-05-11
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Dialogue

    By Peter Womack

    Dialogue is a many-sided critical concept; at once an ancient philosophical genre, a formal component of fiction and drama, a model for the relationship of writer and reader, and a theoretical key to the nature of language. In all its forms, it questions ‘literature’, disturbing the singleness and…

    Paperback – 2011-04-20
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Sexuality

    2nd Edition

    By Joseph Bristow

    Theories of sexuality and desire are commonly used in literary and cultural studies. In this illuminating study Joseph Bristow introduces readers to the fundamental critical debates surrounding the topic. This fully updated second edition includes: a historical account of sexuality from the…

    Paperback – 2010-11-25
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Autobiography

    2nd Edition

    By Linda Anderson

    If every writer necessarily draws on their own life, is any writing outside the realm of ‘autobiography’? The new edition of this classic guide is fully updated to include: developments in autobiographical criticism, highlighting major theoretical issues and concepts different forms of the genre…

    Paperback – 2010-11-25
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Interdisciplinarity

    2nd Edition

    By Joe Moran

    Interdisciplinarity covers one of the most important changes in attitude and methodology in the history of the university. Taking the study of English as its main example, this fully updated second edition examines the ways in which we have organized knowledge into disciplines, and are now…

    Paperback – 2010-02-03
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • The Historical Novel

    By Jerome De Groot

    The historical novel is an enduringly popular genre that raises crucial questions about key literary concepts, fact and fiction, identity, history, reading, and writing. In this comprehensive, focused guide, Jerome de Groot offers an accessible introduction to the genre and critical debates that…

    Paperback – 2009-09-23
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Allegory

    By Jeremy Tambling

    Indispensable to an understanding of Medieval and Renaissance texts and a topic of controversy for the Romantic poets, allegory remains a site for debate and controversy in the twenty-first-century. In this useful guide, Jeremy Tambling: presents a concise history of allegory, providing…

    Paperback – 2009-08-18
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Lyric

    By Scott Brewster

    The term ‘lyric’ has evolved, been revised, redefined and contested over the centuries. In this fascinating introduction, Scott Brewster: traces the history of the term from its classical origins through the early modern, Romantic and Victorian periods and up to the twenty-first century…

    Paperback – 2009-05-31
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Genders

    2nd Edition

    By David Glover, Cora Kaplan

    The concept of gender continues to be a central issue in literary and cultural studies, with a significance that crosses disciplinary boundaries and provokes lively debate. In this fully revised and updated second edition, David Glover and Cora Kaplan offer a lucid and illuminating introduction to…

    Paperback – 2008-12-10
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Myth

    2nd Edition

    By Laurence Coupe

    Laurence Coupe offers students a comprehensive overview of the development of myth, showing how mythic themes, structures and symbols persist in literature and entertainment today. This introductory volume: illustrates the relation between myth, culture and literature with discussions of poetry,…

    Paperback – 2008-12-08
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Memory

    By Anne Whitehead

    The concept of ‘memory’ has given rise to some of the most exciting new directions in contemporary theory. In this much-needed guide to a burgeoning field of a study, Anne Whitehead: presents a history of the concept of ‘memory’ and its uses, encompassing both memory as activity and the nature of…

    Paperback – 2008-09-04
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Humanism

    2nd Edition

    By Tony Davies

    Definitions of humanism have evolved throughout the centuries as the term has been adopted for a variety of purposes – literary, cultural and political – and reactions against humanism have contributed to movements such as postmodernism and anti-humanism. Tony Davies offers a clear…

    Paperback – 2008-03-09
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Modernism

    2nd Edition

    By Peter Childs

    The modernist movement radically transformed the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literary establishment, and its effects are still felt today. Modernism introduces and analyzes what amounted to nothing less than a literary and cultural revolution. In this fully updated and revised…

    Paperback – 2007-10-31
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Rhetoric

    By Jennifer Richards

    Rhetoric has shaped our understanding of the nature of language and the purpose of literature for over two millennia. It is of crucial importance in understanding the development of literary history as well as elements of philosophy, politics and culture. The nature and practise of rhetoric was…

    Paperback – 2007-08-28
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Elegy

    By David Kennedy

    Grief and mourning are generally considered to be private, yet universal instincts. But in a media age of televised funerals and visible bereavement, elegies are increasingly significant and open to public scrutiny. Providing an overview of the history of the term and the different ways in which it…

    Paperback – 2007-08-20
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Metaphor

    By David Punter

    Metaphor is a central concept in literary studies, but it is also prevalent in everyday language and speech. Recent literary theories such as postmodernism and deconstruction have transformed the study of the text and revolutionized our thinking about metaphor. In this fascinating volume, David…

    Paperback – 2007-06-04
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Performativity

    By James Loxley

    Do our writings and our utterances reflect or describe our world, or do they intervene in it? Do they, perhaps, help to make it? If so, how? Within what limits, and with what implications? Contemporary theorists have considered the ways in which the languages we speak might be ‘performative’ in…

    Paperback – 2006-11-16
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Mimesis

    By Matthew Potolsky

    A topic that has become increasingly central to the study of art, performance and literature, the term mimesis has long been used to refer to the relationship between an image and its ‘real’ original. However, recent theorists have extended the concept, highlighting new perspectives on key concerns…

    Paperback – 2006-02-22
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Science Fiction

    2nd Edition

    By Adam Roberts

    Science Fiction is a fascinating and comprehensive introduction to one of the most popular areas of modern culture. This second edition reflects how the field is rapidly changing in both its practice and its critical reception. With an entirely new conclusion and all other chapters fully reworked…

    Paperback – 2005-12-14
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • The Sublime

    By Philip Shaw

    Often labelled as ‘indescribable’, the sublime is a term that has been debated for centuries amongst writers, artists, philosophers and theorists. Usually related to ideas of the great, the awe-inspiring and the overpowering, the sublime has become a complex yet crucial concept in many disciplines.…

    Paperback – 2005-11-23
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Adaptation and Appropriation

    By Julie Sanders

    From the apparently simple adaptation of a text into film, theatre or a new literary work, to the more complex appropriation of style or meaning, it is arguable that all texts are somehow connected to a network of existing texts and art forms. Adaptation and Appropriation explores: multiple…

    Paperback – 2005-10-16
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Crime Fiction

    By John Scaggs

    Crime Fiction provides a lively introduction to what is both a wide-ranging and hugely popular literary genre. Using examples from a variety of novels, short stories, films and televisions series, John Scaggs: presents a concise history of crime fiction - from biblical narratives to James Ellroy -…

    Paperback – 2005-01-26
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • The Author

    By Andrew Bennett

    This volume investigates the changing definitions of the author, what it has meant historically to be an 'author', and the impact that this has had on literary culture. Andrew Bennett presents a clearly-structured discussion of the various theoretical debates surrounding authorship, exploring such…

    Paperback – 2004-12-14
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • The Postmodern

    By Simon Malpas

    Simon Malpas investigates the theories and definitions of postmodernism and postmodernity, and explores their impact in such areas as identity, history, art, literature and culture. In attempting to map the different forms of the postmodern, and the contrasting experiences of postmodernity in the…

    Paperback – 2004-11-17
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Magic(al) Realism

    By Maggie Ann Bowers

    Bestselling novels by Angela Carter, Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and a multitude of others have enchanted us by blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Their genre of writing has been variously defined as 'magic', 'magical' or 'marvellous' realism and is quickly becoming a core…

    Paperback – 2004-09-22
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Drama/Theatre/Performance

    By Simon Shepherd, Mick Wallis

    What is implied when we refer to the study of performing arts as 'drama', 'theatre' or 'performance'? Each term identifies a different tradition of thought and offers different possibilities to the student or practitioner. This book examines the history and use of the terms and investigates the…

    Paperback – 2004-09-15
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Romance

    By Barbara Fuchs

    Often derided as an inferior form of literature, 'romance' as a literary mode or genre defies satisfactory definition, dividing critics, scholars and readers alike. This useful guidebook traces the myriad transformations of 'romance' from medieval courtly love to Mills and Boon, and claims that its…

    Paperback – 2004-09-08
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Discourse

    2nd Edition

    By Sara Mills

    This volume provides a broad analysis of the term 'discourse' and a thorough examination of the many theoretical assumptions surrounding it. In the revised edition of this invaluable guidebook, Sara Mills:*examines the historical definitions and developments of discourse*analyzes Foucault's use of…

    Paperback – 2004-05-26
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Difference

    By Mark Currie

    Difference is one of the most influential critical concepts of recent decades. Mark Currie offers a comprehensive account of the history of the term and its place in some of the most influential schools of theory of the past four decades, including post-structuralism, deconstruction, new…

    Paperback – 2004-02-18
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Subjectivity

    By Donald E. Hall

    Explores the history of theories of selfhood, from the Classical era to the present, and demonstrates how those theories can be applied in literary and cultural criticism. Donald E. Hall: * examines all of the major methodologies and theoretical emphases of the twentieth and twenty-first…

    Paperback – 2004-02-04
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Irony

    By Claire Colebrook

    In this handy volume, Claire Colebrook offers an overview of the history and structure of irony, from Socrates to the present.Students will welcome this clear, concise guide, which:*traces the use of the concept through history, from Greek times to the Romantic period and on to the postmodern era*…

    Paperback – 2003-09-17
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom

  • Dramatic Monologue

    By Glennis Byron

    The dramatic monologue is traditionally associated with Victorian poets such as Robert Browning and Alfred Tennyson, and is generally considered to have disappeared with the onset of modernism in the twentieth century. Glennis Byron unravels its history and argues that, contrary to belief, the…

    Paperback – 2003-07-23
    Routledge
    The New Critical Idiom