Sunday, February 16, 2020

30-Second Literature: The 50 most important forms, genres and styles, each explained in half a minute

30-Second Literature is a short style guide to the most common literary forms, with short explanations for each. Due out 3rd March 2020 from Quarto on their Ivy Press imprint, it's 160 pages and will be available in hardcover format.

This is a collection and collaboration, well curated and edited by Ella Berthoud and compiled of essays and examples by a number of other authors.  It delves into 50 different forms arranged roughly thematically: historical forms, the novel, literary prose, poetry, drama, literary devices, and styles. Each of the categories includes several notable forms such as early modern fiction, epistolary writing, tragedy, comedy, narrative voice, realism, etc. Each of the archetype chapters also contains an illustrative profile: Dostoevsky, Hafez, Aristophanes, and so on. Each of the chapters also includes a handy glossary with good layman accessible definitions.

Each of the entries also includes a definition, some deeper interpretation and related topics for further reading, along with a bibliography and (very) short text.

Graphically this book is beautifully appealing as well, with lots of varied paintings, drawings, relevant illustrations and tie-ins, cartoons and artistic work both original and reprinted.

This would make a superlative choice as a support text for literature/classroom/instruction use or as a personal reference work for the keen reader. The index is brief but satisfactory to its purpose.

Five stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

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