The fourth edition of J.A. Cuddon's classic dictionary has been thoroughly revised and updated to maintain it as the most comprehensive and accessible work of its kind currently available, for students, teachers and general readers alike. Expanded to include many new entries, it has been improved throughout, in places rendered more concise, in others amended and extended, with both major and minor additions. The work of the third edition, to cover the schools and various terminologies of literary theory is continued, without compromising coverage afforded to more traditional critical terms and topics.
At this untimely death in 1996, Charles Cuddon, as he was known, had completed much of the revisory and updating work involved in preparing the edition. That work and other unfinished plans and outlines have since been overseen and developed by C.E. Preston of Sidney Sussex college, Cambridge, helped, as she acknowledges, by several of her academic colleagues. Among the entries extensively rewritten or newly contributed are:
* "Dramatic Monologue",
* "Verse Novel", and
* "Sonnet Cycle".
After more than twenty years in print, Cuddon's Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory remains "a superlative work of reference that will be read for pleasure", just as it was acclaimed to be when first published in 1976. There is now no better memorial to its author's extraordinary polymathy and literary scholarship.