Allusions form a colourful extension to the English language, drawing on our collective knowledge of literature, mythology, and the Bible to give us a literary shorthand for describing people, places, and events. So a cunning crook is an Artful Dodger, a daydreamer is like Billy Liar, a powerful woman is a modern-day Amazon - we can suffer like Sisyphus, fail like Canute, or linger like the smile of the Cheshire Cat. This absorbing and accessible A-Z explains the meanings of allusions in modern English, from Adonis to Zorro, Tartarus to Tarzan, and Rubens to Rambo. Fascinating to browse through, the book is based on an extensive reading programme that has identified the most commonly-used allusions. For the third edition all entries have been reviewed, revised, and thoroughly updated to ensure the consistency of coverage of allusions and references. New to this edition is the inclusion within each entry of a short summary definition for the allusion or reference, ideal for quick reference, and at least one illustrative citation from a wide range of source materials in almost every entry: from Aldous Huxley to Philip Roth, Emily Bronte to The Guardian Unlimited.
A useful thematic index allows searching for allusions related to a specific topic, e.g. at Intelligence find Aristotle, Einstein, and Spock, and at Hair find Medusa, Samson, and Shirley Temple. Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion is both a useful and user-friendly reference work for students of English Literature and Language, as well as for non-native English speakers for aid with unusual references, and an absorbing volume for all lovers of literature and culture in general.