Monday, December 10, 2007

The Oxford Dictionary of Allusions

By Andrew Delahunty
Sheila Dignen, and
Penny Stock
ISBN 0-19-860031-3
An allusion may be defined as the mention of the name of a real person, historical event, or literary character which is not simply a straightforward reference (as in 'Hercules was an ancient Greek hero') but which conjures up some extra meaning, embodying some quality or characteristic for which the word has come to stand. So, we can describe a miser as a Scrooge, a strong man as a Hercules, a beautiful woman as a Venus. The Oxford Dictionary of Allusions aims to identify and explain many such allusions used in English and to illustrate their use by quotations from a variety of literary works and other texts. In the style of a thesaurus the entries are grouped thematically under such headings as Anger, Change, Dreams, Explorers, and Revenge.

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