A contemporary Guide to Literary terms

Abstract Language
concepts rather than concrete or physical reality
(love, peace, steadfast)
Expressing ideas or emotions

The Absurd
a kind of spiritual alienation: felling “out of tune”

Aesthetics/Aestheticism/Aesthetic Movement
Pertaining to sense perception
Perception of beauty or the beautiful
good taste

Affective Fallacy
” a confusion between the poem and its results” (what it is and what it does)

Allegory
is a work of art intending to be meaningful on at least two levels of understanding: typically , a literal level and an abstract level

Alliteration
Repetition of sound in poetry
beginning, middle, or end
Types: consonance- repetion of consant sounds
assonance-repetion of vowel sounds

Allusion
To play with
An indirect or explicit reference by one text to another
direct allusion -refers to a historical, mythic, or legendary person. place.
In explicit allusion- relies on associations that only the readers are familiar with

Ambiguity
Susceptible to multiple interpretations
uncertainty about meaning

American Literary Periods
Colonial, Early National, Romantic, Realism and Naturalism, Modernist, Postmodern

Colonial Period
1660’s to around 1770’s
example “of Plymouth Plantation”

Early National Period
decades leading to the American Revolution to 1810ish
example: Thomas Paine ” the age of reason”

Romantic Period
American Romaticism – American Renaissance
example: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Realism and Naturalism Periods
mark Twain- “Huckleberry Finn”

Modernist Period
World War era
Example: TS Elliot, Robert Frost, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Postmodern-
Late 60’s to present

Analogy
Comparisons Prportionates
A is to B as C is to D

Antagonists
To struggle against the main adversary (Character) or the hero

Apostrophe
to turn away use describe a digression (a verbal act of “turning away”) From the audience the speaker address an absent or imaginary person

Archetype
Synonymous with prototype: the original model. Recognized as designs or patterns

Aside
Character on stage heard only by the audience not by the other charters.
Interior thoughts used for dramatic or comic effect.
Creates tension between private and public

Author
to create or increase writes or composes

Ballad
Depicting Heroic adventures
A narrative poem composed in short stanzas
“Dancing Song”
Quantain with a rhyme scheme abab or abcb

Bathos
depth- a fall from elevated height, to a level or trivial or absurd

Pathos
To suffer- truly profound spiritual loss, emotional anguish, or physical wounding
Example: Emily Dickerson

Bidungsroman
development novel
apprentice or coming of age novel
Example: Charles Dickens – David Copperfield
J.D. Salinger ” The Catcher of the Rye”

Blank Verse
Unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter- lines of verse with 5 metrical feel, in which stress falls on the 2nd syllable of the foot

Caesura/Enjambment
To cut off any break or pause in a line of poetry
Internal caesuras ( , : – ) Terminal caesuras ( . ? !)
Enjambment – to straddle,the running on line to the next

Canon
a measuring line, rule
for Christians it has two important meanings Body of laws in the church and the list of holy scriptures

Carpe Diem
Seize the day
Life is short, one must make the most of one’s youth.

Character
Fictional person in a narrative or dramatic work of literature
Characters are created and revealed by 3 means: exposition, action, and dialogue

Chorus
Dances and signers (to repeat)
group who sang in verse while preforming a dance
It comments on the action
Greek drama

Classicism
associated with a knowledge of and predilection for the literature, philosophy art, and aesthetic taste of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures
simplicity, clarity, balances, unity, reason, and integrity
Ethical appeal and concern with moral behavior

neoclassicism
artistic expression and criticism

Fable
a prose or poem that uses animal characters to offer a moral lesson
Example: Tortas and the hare, Jungle Book, Lion King

Feminist Criticism
Questions of woman place and power in culture and society

Theories of Gynocriticism
British Female novelists who wrote about female tradition self discovery a search for identity

Practices of awareness and self discovery
Raising awareness in the way of how women are oppressed and discovering motifs of female awareness

European and Anglo-American Feminism
How female movements have been viewed from Europe or America

Figurative Language
Figures of speech (trop) a turn change the literal meaning by turning it toward another word

Film Editing
Selection and arrangement of shots and camera techniques

Shots
an operation of a camera
Example: Close or long shot

Cuts
editing technique
an abrupt switch from one image to another

Transitions
Includes: dissolves fades Irises in or out
Change from one scene to another
all used for specific reasons with a film

Panning and tracking
a camera technique that envales movement
Panning-shows the scene
Tracking -goes with a person

Film Noir
used to describe a film genre most often associated with cinematic version of detective and crime (fiction)
Means dark film describing both mood and lighting
scenes are usually urban or nocturnal

Flashback
a film technique in which chronological and sequential narrative is interrupted by the recollection of an image or scene
example: Death of a Salesman Author Miller

Foreshadowing
a technique by which n author suggests or predicts an outcome of plot
Example: Shakespeare- Romeo and Juliet, Flannery O’Conner’s – A Good Man is hard to find

Free Verse
broadly descriptive term for poetry that does not follow a reg. meter patter or rhyme scheme.
Example: Walt Whitman- ” Song of myself”

Genre
king or a type of literature
Prose Fiction (novels and short stories), Poetry. Drama, Non0fiction prose

Prose Fiction
Standard paragraph with out noticeable patter of rhyme, mater
Novels more than 50,00 words and chapters
Short stories- no more than 30,000 words
Examples: Nathaniel Hawthorn’s ” the Scarlet Letter” . Harper lee’s ” To Kill a Mockingbird”

poetry
Usually marked by patterns of meter, rhyme
before the 20th century-rhythm, repetition of sound
20th century-free verse, now need to employ meter or rhyme
Examples: John Donne’s ” Death be not proud”, Robert Frost- Mending Wall

Drama
Different than other works
Dominated by dialogue
Actors
Most are meant to be preformed
Example: Othello, Raisin in the Sun

Non-fiction Prose
may seek to argue or explain an issue or a concept. (Biographical or autobiographical)
May take the form of a speech, or letter or essay
Example: The declaration of Independence
Letters from Birmingham City Jail

Gothic
Cultural Characteristic of Medieval Germanic Tribe
Associated with a style of buildings from 12 to 16th centuries

Harmartia
Comes from the Greek word for sin or error to miss the mark
tragic flaw in character
Example: Oedipus the King

Hyperbole
exaggeration throwing beyond
a deliberate exaggeration

Ideology
the body of ideas reflection the social needs and aspiration of an individual group, class or culture

Imagery
any description meant to appeal to the senses- visual description also know inter changeable with figurative language

Impressionism
broad term used to describe a subject or highly person style or writing
word borrowed from painting- offered impressions of a person, object, scene or landscape

Interpretation/meaning
explaining and interpreting the text to the reader

Dramatic Irony
The reader shares with narrator knowledge of a situation unknown to one or more of the characters

Verbal Irony
the meaning intended by a speaker differs from the meaning understood by one or more of the other characters

Cosmic Irony
fate or destiny appears to play a cruel joke on human hopes

Tragic Irony
a noble character is undone by mistaken judgment