Today the mailbox divulged its secrets and voila!, a book I ordered from Amazon was inside. I love days like this! It's not a real exciting book except to someone like me who loves the written word.
A Handbook to Literature is a "dictionary-style supplement for anyone's personal or professional library". I was not really sure what to expect , not having ever seen this book before. But, I know from now on, it will always be near at hand. Why? Well, because of entries like this, on page 185:
Exergue Originally a small space on a coin, medal, or other such artifact. The exergue is set apart for a minor inscription. The term is also used for a set of epigraph-like quotations near the beginning of Jacques Derrida's Of Grammatology (tr. 1976).
A real reader is bound to come across a word like exergue and think "what the heck is that?". Not a problem now! But, the greater use of this book is as a reference for terms used in the study of English Literature.