A minefield of ambiguous concepts, leaden prose, and circular definitions await anyone who wishes to tackle the terms used to describe literature. Indeed, words like hermeneutics, heteroglossia, and mimesis more often impede than enhance one's appreciation of a great literary work. Cuttingthrough the cant, How Literature Works offers a reader-friendly, easy-to-navigate guide that will aid anyone - from the undergraduate to the general reader - who's seeking a greater appreciation of their favorite novel, poem, or play. With a series of pithy, jaunty essays, the renowned literary critic John Sutherland - widely admired for his wit and crystal-clear reasoning - strips away the obscurity and pretension associated with literature. His book offers concise definitions and clear examples of 50 terms and concepts thatall book lovers should know. An indispensable reference tool, How Literature Works will be a boon to readers of all sorts, from fans of William Shakespeare and Philip Roth to readers of Jane Smiley and J.K. Rowling.