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Term Type Definition Example

accent poetic The stress given to a In the line, "And fired the shot heard
term syllable in a line of round the world," the stressed
poetry. syllables are: fired, shot, round, and
world.
adventure genre A novel or short story in The Three Musketeers by Alexander
fiction which exciting events are Dumas
the most important
aspect, rather than
character development or
theme.
alexandrine poetic A line of poetry made up Alexander Pope wrote:
term of twelve syllables. The "A needless alexandrine ends the song
form is common in / that like a wounded snake, drags its
French and German slow length along"
poetry, but quite rare in to illustrate the use of an alexandrine
English. line.
allegory literary A figurative work in The Faerie Queene by Edmund
device which a surface narrative Spenser
carries a secondary,
symbolic or metaphorical
meaning; may be poetry
or prose.
alliteration poetic The repetition of "Peter piper picked a peck of pickled
term consonant sounds, peppers."
especially at the
beginning of words.
allusion literary A brief reference to a The title of Faulkner's novel The
device person, place, event, Sound and the Fury is an allusion to a
quote, or literary work line from Shakespeare's Macbeth.
assumed to be
recognized by the reader.
An allusion is used to
associate the work in
which it appears with an
event or work from the
past.
anachronism literary The representation of In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar,
device something or someone Cassius says, "The clock hath stricken
that is not in its correct three." Because there were no clocks
historical or chronological that strike the hour in Roman times,
time. See parachronism, this is an anachronism.
prochronism, prolepsis.
anagram literary A word, phrase, or Angel is an anagram of glean.
term sentence formed from
another by rearranging
its letters.

Anagrams is a game in
which the players build
words by transposing
and, often, adding
letters. The game's name
was inspried by its
linguistic meaning, not
the other way around.
anapest poetic A foot of verse having "You are old," said the youth, "and
term three syllables, the first your jaws are too weak.." from the
and second unstressed poem You are old, Father William by
and the third stressed. Lewis Carroll
antagonist literary The character, force, or In the original Star Wars film, the
term collection of forces in protagonist, Luke Skywalker, was
fiction or drama that opposed by the antagonist, Darth
opposes the protagonist Vader.
and gives rise to the
conflict of the story.
anticlimax literary An outcome that is "The holy passion of friendship is of so
term strikingly less important sweet and steady and loyal and
or dramatic than enduring a nature that it will last
expected. through a whole lifetime, if not asked
to lend money." Mark Twain
antistrophe literary A figure of speech in "...and that government of the people,
term which the same word or by the people, for the people shall not
phrase is repeated at the perish from the earth" Abraham
end of successive Lincoln
clauses.
antithesis literary A figure of speech in "Not that I loved Caesar less, but that
term which sharply contrasting I loved Rome more." from speech by
ideas are juxtaposed in a Brutus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
balanced or parallel
phrase or grammatical
structure.
apologue literary A moral fable, usually Aesop's Fables
term featuring personified
animals or inanimate
objects which act like
people to allow the
author to comment on
the human condition.
apostrophe figurative Words that are spoken to Roll on, thou deep and dark blue
language a person who is absent Ocean - roll!" from Childe Harold's
or imaginary, or to an Pilgrimage by Lord Byron
object or abstract idea.
archetype literary C.G. Jung defined The trickster, the scarlet woman, and
term archetypes as primordial the wise old man are some archetypes
images formed by often found in literature.
repeated experiences in
the lives of our
ancestors, inherited in
the collective
unconscious of the
human race. Those
archetypes are often
expressed in myths,
religion, dreams,
fantasies, and literature.
aside literary A remark made by a "Though this be madness, yet there's
device person on stage that the method in it." Polonius speaking of
other players are not Hamlet from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
supposed to hear.
assonance poetic The repetition of vowel In the line, "Old age should burn and
term sounds, especially in rave at close of day;" from Do by
stressed syllables. Dylan Thomas, the words age, rave,
and day all use the same vowel
sound.
atmosphere literary The mood pervading a The brooding presence of the heath in
term literary work, usually The Return of the Native by Thomas
established through Hardy establishes the mood of the
setting. characters and the plot.
autobiographical genre A novel or short story Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
fiction based on an author's own by James Joyce
life experience.
autobiography genre A nonfictional account of Up from Slavery by Booker T.
the author's life. Washington
back formation literary The analogical creation of "Typewrite this document on your
term one word from another typewriter."
word that appears to be
a derived or inflected
form of the first by
dropping the apparent
affix or by modification.
Also, a word so formed.
backstory, back- literary A narrative history and
story, back device set of facts and factors
story, that are all
background chronologically earlier
story than the narrative of
primary interest.
Backstories relate the
history of characters or
other elements that
underlie the situation
existing at the primary
narrative's start.

Genres in which a
backstory may appear
include novels or short
stories, stage or radio
plays, and derivative
media such as TV dramas
and movie films.

See also: frame story,


story within a story,
flashback, mise en
abyme
ballad poetic A narrative poem with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by
term stanzas of two or four Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
lines, often including a
refrain.
ballade poetic A type of poem, usually Probably the most famouse ballade is
term with three stanzas of from the play Cyrano de Bergerac by
seven, eight, or ten lines Edmond Rostand. In Act I, Cyrano
and a shorter final stanza composes an impromtu ballade during
(or envoy) of four or five a duel. Each stanza ends with the line,
lines. Each stanza ends "At the envoi's end, I touch."
with the same one-line
refrain.
bathos literary An abrupt, unintended From a poem quoted by Alexander
term transition in style from Pope in Peri Bathous: or, Martinus
the exalted to the Scriblerus, His Treatise on the Art of
commonplace, producing Sinking in Poetry
a ludicrous effect. "Ye Gods! annihilate but space and
time, / And make two lovers happy."
biography genre A nonfictional account of Napoleon by Emil Ludwig
a person's life, usually a
person of note, written
by someone other than
the subject.
blank verse poetic A work written in The Idylls of the King by Sir Alfred
term unrhymed iambic Lord Tennyson
pentameter.
bowdlerize literary To expurgate the parts of Family Shakespeare edited
term a work considered (expurgated) by Thomas Bowdler.
indecent or indelicate.
The term derives from
Thomas Bowdler.
burlesque literary A work designed to The Rape of the Lock by Alexander
device ridicule a style, literary Pope
form, or subject matter
either by treating the
exalted in a trivial way or
by discussing the trivial
in exalted terms (that is,
with mock dignity).
cacophony poetic Words that combine "Rats! / They fought the dogs and
term sharp, harsh, hissing, or killed the cats, / And bit the babies in
unmusical sounds. the cradles, / And ate the cheeses out
of the vats, / And licked the soup from
the cooks' own ladles, / Split open the
kegs of salted sprats, / Made nests
inside men's Sunday hats, And even
spoiled the women's chats, By
drowning their speaking / With
shrieking and squeaking / In fifty
different sharps and flats." from The
Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert
Browning
caesura poetic A pause, metrical or "To err is human; to forgive, divine."
term rhetorical, occurring in a
line of poetry.
caricature literary Verbal exaggeration and Mr. McCawber in Dicken's David
device distortion to create an Copperfield
immediate, comic, often
satiric effect.
catharsis literary The release of the At the end of the Greek tragedy
term emotions of pity and fear Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus
by the audience at the blinds himself symbolizing his moral
end of a tragedy. blindness of putting himself above the
gods. The Greeks saw this as an
affirmation of human values, rather
than as an undeserved, inappropriate
punishment.
chanson de poetic An epic poem of the 11th The Song of Roland
geste term to the 14th century,
written in Old French,
which details the exploits
of a historical or
legendary figure.
character literary A person presented in a Hamlet is one of the most famous
term narrative or dramatic characters in literature.
work.
chiasmus literary A reversal in the order of "Your manuscript is both good and
device words in two or more original; but the part that is good is
otherwise parallel not original, and the part that is
phrases in which the original is not good." by Samuel
second half of an Johnson
expression is balanced
against the first with the
parts reversed.
clich literary An expression that has "If the shoe fits, wear it."
term been used so often that it
has become trite or
tedious.
climax literary Climax is the point of
term greatest tension in a
work of literature and the
turning point in the
action.
comedrama genre See: comedy-drama,
dramedy, seriocomedy.
comedy genre A work intended to All's Well That Ends Well by
interest, involve, and Shakespeare
amuse the reader or
audience, in which no
terrible disaster occurs
and that ends happily for
the main characters.
comedy of genre A comic drama consisting The Importance of Being Earnest by
manners of five or three acts in Oscar Wilde
which the attitudes and
customs of a society are
critiqued and satirized
according to high
standards of intellect and
morality.
comedy-drama genre A play or other literary
work containing both
dramatic and comedic
literary elements.

See also: dramedy,


comedrama,
seriocomedy.
comic relief literary A humorous scene, The scene of the drunken porter in
device incident, speech, Shakespeare's Macbeth.
character, comic element,
display of human foible,
or bit of dialogue
occurring after some
serious or tragic moment
introduced into serious or
tragic elements, as in a
play, in order to provide
temporary relief from
tension, or to intensify
the dramatic action. The
relief from tension
caused thereby.

coming-of-age genre A novel or short story in The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen
fiction which the protagonist is Crane
initiated into adulthood
through the loss of
innocence.
conceit figurative An elaborate, usually Sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a
language intellectually ingenious, summer's day") by William
poetic comparison or Shakespeare
image, such as an
analogy or metaphor.
conflict literary A struggle between the The conflict in Moby Dick is between
term protagonist and the Ahab and the whale (which can be
antagonist in a story. The seen as symbol of nature).
antagonist may be
another character,
society, the natural
world, or sometimes
even an aspect of the
protagonist's own
personality.
connotation literary The implied or suggested The denotation of the word home is
term meaning of a word. the place where one lives, but its
connotation includes warmth, privacy,
and safety.
consonance poetic The repetition of a "Whose woods these are I think I
term pattern of consonants know. / His house is in the village
with changes in the though;" from Stopping by Woods on
intervening vowels. a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. The
words, Whose woods in the first line
and His house in the second line are
examples of consonance.
convention literary A characteristic of a A flashback to an earlier time in a
term literary genre that is story being told.
accepted by readers and
audiences because it has
come to be recognized as
a familiar technique.
couplet poetic Lines of poetry rhyming A couplet from A Visit from St.
term in pairs and express a Nicholas by Clement Moore:
complete thought. A "'Twas the night before Christmas,
heroic couplet is two when all through the house,
successive rhyming lines not a creature was stirring, not even a
of iambic pentameter. mouse;"

A heroic couplet from Shakespeare's


Sonnet 18:
"So long as men can breathe, or eyes
can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to
thee."
dactyl poetic A foot of verse having "Shining and lowering and swelling
term three syllables, the first and dying," from The Earth, the Wind,
stressed and the second and the Sky by Emily Bronte.
and third unstressed.
denotation literary The most direct or The denotation of the word, steed, is a
term specific meaning of a horse; the connotation of the word
word or expression. suggests a brave charger in a heroic
setting.
dnouement literary The outcome or The final scene of Shakespeares
term resolution of the comedy As You Like It in which
intricacies of a plot in a couples marry, an evildoer repents,
play or novel (literally an two disguised characters are revealed
untying). for all to see, and a ruler is restored to
power.

deus ex literary Literally, "the god from The arrival of the cavalry just in time
machina device the machine," this phrase to save the settlers in many early
is used to describe an Western movies is an example.
unrealistic intervention
used by an author to
resolve an otherwise
unresolvable situation.
dialogue literary Conversation that takes An example of dialogue between Mr.
term place between or among Bennet and his wife from Pride and
characters. Prejudice by Jane Austen

"What is his name?


"Bingley.
"Is he married or single?
"Oh, single, my dear, to be sure! A
single man of large fortune; four or
five thousand a year. What a fine thing
for our girls!
"How so? how can it affect them?
"My dear Mr. Bennet, replied his
wife,"how can you be so tiresome?
You must know that I am thinking of
his marrying one of them.
diction literary An author's selection of
term words.
didactic work literary A work designed to teach Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
term a moral or religious
thesis.

dimeter poetic A line of verse consisting "Thy sum| mer's play / My thought|
term of two metric feet. less hand / Has brushed| away." from
"The Fly" by William Blake.
dirge poetic A song or hymn of Autumn: A Dirge by Percy Bysshe
term mourning composed or Shelley
performed as a memorial
to a dead person.
drama form A work that centers on Major Barbara by George Bernard
the actions of characters; Shaw
written to be performed
on a stage.
dramatic irony literary A plot device in which the In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, the
device audience's or reader's audience knows that Oedipus is the
knowledge or person who killed his father and
understanding of events married his mother, thus fulfilling the
or individuals surpasses prophesy. No one in the play knows
that of the characters. this until the final scenes.
dramatic poetic A poem in which a My Last Duchess by Robert Browning
monologue term person is presented
speaking as if to another
person. Only the
speaker's side of the
conversation is
presented. The main
focus of the work is to
reveal the character or
temperament of the
speaker.
dramatic unities literary Aristotle's three rules of Agamemnon by Aeschylus adheres to
term dramatic construction Aristotle's unities.
that prescribed that a
play should have unity of
time, place, and action.
In other words, the play
should represent action
within eight hours, occur
in one locality, and have
no minor plot. These
rules were defined
through an examination
of the great Greek
dramas of Aristotle's time
and have not been
followed in most plays
since then.

dramedy, genre A television program or


dramady series using both serious
and comic subjects, often
without relying on
conventional plots, laugh
tracks, or the like. Also, a
film or theatrical play
containing both dramatic
and comedic elements.

A predominantly serious
TV program, film, or
other dramatization with
both comic and dramatic
elements.

Also see: comedrama,


seriocomedy, comedy-
drama.
duodecimo literary A book format created by
term folding a sheet twelve
times to create twenty-
four leaves or forty-eight
pages. Duodecimo format
creates a book that is
about 5 by 7 inches.
eclogue poetic A pastoral poem, usually The Eclogues by Virgil
term in the form of a dialogue
between shepherds.

elegy literary A poem that laments the In Memoriam by Sir Alfred Lord
term death of a person. Tennyson
empathy literary Identification with and
term understanding of
another's situation,
feelings, and motives.
end-stopped poetic A line of poetry that has "They also serve who only stand and
line term a natural pause at the waite." from On His Blindness by John
end. Milton
enjambment poetic Carrying a sentence or "But at my back I always hear /
term thought across more Time's wingd chariot hurrying near;"
than one line of poetry so from To His Coy Mistress by Andrew
that closely related words Marvell
fall in different lines.
epic genre An extended narrative The Iliad by Homer
recounting actions,
travels, adventures, and
heroic episodes and
written in a high style.
epigram literary A witty saying or short, "Little strokes / Fell great oaks." from
device witty poem. Poor Richards Almanack by Benjamin
Franklin
epistolary novel genre A novel consisting of Pamela by Samuel Richardson
letters written by a
character or several
characters.
epithalamion poetic A poem in honor of a Epithalamion by Edmund Spenser
term bride and bridegroom. provides the best example in English.
essay form A short nonfiction Dream-Children by Charles Lamb
narrative work of prose
literature that is analytic
speculative, or
interpretive in nature,
dealing with or offering
opinions or conjectures
upon facts and reality,
and written from the
authors point of view; an
opinion.

euphemism figurative The substitution of a mild expire instead of die


language or less negative word or
phrase for a harsh or
blunt one.
euphony poetic Agreeable and
term harmonious sounds
euphuism literary A highly ornate style of "There dwelt in Athens a young
term writing popularized by gentleman of great patrimony, and of
John Lyly's Euphues, so comely a personage, that it was
characterized by doubted whether he were more bound
balanced sentence to Nature for the lineaments of his
construction, rhetorical person, or to Fortune for the increase
tropes, and multiplied of his possessions. But Nature
similes and allusions. impatient of comparisons, and as it
were disdaining a companion or
copartner in her working, added to
this comeliness of his body such a
sharp capacity of mind, that not only
she proved Fortune counterfeit, but
was half of that opinion that she
herself was only current." from
Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit by John
Lyly
exposition literary A narrative device that
term provides background
information about the
characters and their
circumstances.

expository form Writing or speech


writing primarily intended to
convey information or to
explain.
expressionism literary Literary style which The Trial Franz Kafka
style attempts to show the
inner workings of a
person's mind to convey
a psychological or
spiritual reality.
fable genre A brief story that teach a The Tortoise and the Hare by Aesop
lesson or moral. The
characters are usually
animals, but they are
given human
characteristics.
falling action literary In the falling action
term following the climax, the
conflict between the
protagonist and the
antagonist unravels.
fantasy genre A novel or short story Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
that is involved with
magic or the
supernatural. Often such
works are set in
nonexistent worlds with
highly imaginative
characteristics.
farce genre A form of humor based Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph
on exaggerated, Kesselring
improbable situations.
feminine rhyme poetic Rhyme in which a "GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may, /
term rhymed stressed syllable Old Time is still a-flying: / And this
is followed by one or same flower that smiles to-day / To-
more identical unstressed morrow will be dying." from To the
syllables. Virgins, to make much of Time by
Robert Herrick uses feminine rhyme at
the end of lines 2 and 4 as shown
here and at the ends of the second
and fourth lines throughout the poem:
flying, dying; getting, setting; warmer,
former; marry, tarry.

figure of speech literary Any expressive use of antithesis, simile, metaphor,


device language in which words metonymy, onomatopoeia,
are used in other than personification, synecdoche, irony
their literal sense, or in
other than their ordinary
locutions, in order to
suggest a picture or
image or for other special
effect. c.f. "trope"
first-person literary A story told from the The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
narrative device point of view of one of by Mark Twain is told through the title
the characters. In this character.
type of story, the reader
only knows what that
character experiences. It
is always told from the
"I" point of view.
five-act play form A play that takes place in A Midsummer Night's Dream by
five acts. William Shakespeare
flashback literary A transition to an earlier
device event or scene that
interrupts the normal
chronological
development of a story.

See also: frame story,


back story, story within a
story.
folio literary A book format in which a
term printer's sheet is folded
only once. Each sheet,
therefore, becomes two
leaves or four pages.
folktale genre A story that has been Paul Bunyan stories
passed down over the
years often through oral
narration.
foot poetic A group of 2 or 3 "To be" is an example of an iambic
term syllables forming the foot.
basic unit of
poetic rhythm.
frame story literary A literary technique that
device sometimes serves as a
companion piece to a
story within a story,
whereby an introductory
or main narrative is
presented, at least in
part, for the purpose of
setting the stage either
for a more emphasized
second narrative or for a
set of shorter stories. A
frame story leads readers
from a first story into
another, smaller one (or
several ones) within it.

Also known as a frame


tale, frame narrative, etc.

See also: flashback,


backstory, story within a
story, mise en abyme
free verse poetic Verse that has neither "I hear America singing, the varied
term regular rhyme nor carols I hear; / Those of mechanics
regular meter. Free verse each one singing his, as it should be,
often uses cadences blithe and strong;" from I Hear
rather than uniform America Singing by Walt Whitman
metrical feet.

gothic genre A novel or short story in The Castle of Otranto by Horace


which supernatural Walpole
horrors and an
atmosphere of unknown
terror pervades the
action. The setting is
often a dark, mysterious
castle where ghosts and
sinister humans roam
menacingly.
graphic fiction form A work of fiction, Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil
especially in the Gaiman
speculative fiction genre,
told through artwork and
dialogue similar to that
used in comic books,
published in a bound
book format.
haiku poetic A Japanese poetic form Summer, a haiku by Anonymous:
term composed of three First caressing Spring,
unrhymed lines of five, Summer rushes on toward Fall,
seven, and five syllables. Next vanishesPoof!
Nature is very often the
subject of the poem.
heptameter poetic A line of verse consisting "A love| ly wo| man from| the wood|
term of seven metric feet. comes sud| denly| in sight;" from The
Strange Lady by William Cullen Bryant
has 7 iambic feet.
heroic couplet poetic Two lines of rhyming "A little learning is a dangerous thing;
term iambic pentameter. / Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian
spring:" from Essay on Criticism by
Alexander Pope
hexameter poetic A line of verse consisting "This is the| forest prim| eval. The|
term of six metric feet. murmuring| pines and the| hemlocks,"
from Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow
historical fiction genre A novel or short story in War and Peace by Leon Tolstoy
which fictional characters
take part in actual
historical events and
interact with real people
from the past.
horror fiction genre A novel or short story Hideaway by Dean Koontz
which is intended to
frighten or horrify the
reader, usually through
the use of supernatural
or mysterious situations.
hubris literary Excessive pride or self- Oedipus is probably the best example
term confidence that leads a of a protagonist doomed by hubris.
protagonist to disregard
a divine warning or to
violate an important
moral law.
humanism movement A movement in the arts, Giovanni Boccaccio and Francois
starting in the Rabelais are two famous humanists.
Renaissance period, in
which human nature and
the dignity of man were
exalted in man's mortal
life rather than emphasis
on the gods and life after
death.
humors literary The four humors, In Shakespeare's Hamlet,
term important in Renaissance - Horatio is phlegmatic,
literature and later, are - Laertes is choleric, and
blood, phlegm, yellow - Hamlet is the quintessential
bile, black bile. Each of melancholic character.
these humors was
thought to control a trait Falstaff, from Shakespeare's Henry IV,
of a person's physical is a good example of a sanguine
condition and character. character.

A person with a
prevalence of
- blood was sanguine
with a florid appearance
and a cheerful and
optimistic character;
- phlegm was phlegmatic
showing little emotion,
apathetic;
- yellow bile was choleric
or hot-tempered;
- black bile was
melancholic, gloomy, or
depressed.
hyperbole figurative A boldly exaggerated "Here once the embattled farmers
language statement that adds stood / And fired the shot heard round
emphasis without the world." from Concord Hymn by
intending to be literally Ralph Waldo Emerson
true; an overstatement.

See: litotes
iamb poetic A foot of verse having "My mistress eyes" from sonnet 130
term two syllables, the first by William Shakespeare.
unstressed and the
second unstressed.
iambic poetic A line of verse containing "Remember me when I am gone
pentameter term five iambic feet. This away" from Remember by Christina
meter is very popular in Rossetti
poetry in English because
it seems to imitate the
natural rhythm of English
speech.
idyll poetic A short poem depicting a The Solitary Reaper by William
term peaceful, idealized Wordsworth
country scene.
imagery figurative A phrase used to create a The first two stanzas of Daffodils by
language mental image through Wordsworth.
the use of the five senses
(sight, sound, smell,
taste, touch) in order to
produce a vivid picture in
the reader's mind.

impressionism literary Literature that portrays a Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf


style character's impressions,
emotions, and sensations
without trying to
interpret them for the
reader.
in medias res literary Meaning "in the middle of The Odyssey by Homer
term the action," this phrase
refers to a work that
starts in the middle of a
story and uses narration
or flashbacks to fill in the
background.
ingnue, literary The part of an artless,
ingenue term innocent, unworldly girl
or young woman,
especially as represented
on the stage. An actress
who plays such a part or
specializes in playing
such parts.
internal rhyme poetic A rhyme in which one of "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I
term the rhyming words is pondered weak and weary," is the first
within the line of poetry line of many in The Raven by Edgar
and the other is at the Allan Poe that uses internal rhyme.
end of the same line or
within the next line.
introduction literary The beginning of a work
term in which exposition of the
background and
characters is given.
intrusive literary A story told by an Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
narrative device omniscient narrator who
offers comments about
the story directly to the
reader.
invocation literary A literary convention in
device which an appeal for
inspiration or assistance
is made to a muse or
deity.
irony literary A mode of expression,
device through words (verbal
irony) or events
(dramatic irony),
conveying a reality
different from and
usually opposite to
appearance or
expectation.
journalism form Presentation of facts Hiroshima by John Hersey
describing news events
written to be published
by the media
(newspapers, magazines,
television, or radio).
juvenile fiction genre A novel or short story Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
written to appeal to
children or adolescents.
Many good works of
juvenile fiction are also
enjoyed by adult readers.
lampoon literary A harsh satire usually
style directed against an
individual; an insulting
written attack upon a
real person, in verse or
prose, usually involving
caricature and ridicule.
le grand guignol A guignol is a big French Examples are Webster's The Duchess
marionette fashioned in of Malfi, Shakespeare's Titus
the style of Lyon or a Andronicus, and Marlowe's
marionette theater where Tamburlaine.
such puppets appear. By
extension, a grand Genres resembling these plays have
guignol is a ridiculous made a comeback in today's so-called
person who behaves like splatter films, which are films
a clown or fool. containing many gratuitous and
shocking murders, and in snuff films,
In literary parlance, a a kind of pornographic film that shows
grande guignol is a short an actual murder of one of the
drama stressing horror performers, as might take place at the
and sensationalism, or end of a sadistic act.
any drama pertaining to
or resembling such a
drama. The term
originated in the period
19051910. It stems
from Le Grand Guignol, a
small theater in Paris
where such plays were
performed.

Le Thtre du Grand-
Guignol (The Theater of
the Big Puppet) was
located in the Pigalle
area of Paris. It
specialized in naturalistic
horror shows from 1872
to 1962, when it closed.

The name is often used


as a general term for any
graphic, lurid, amoral
horror entertainment that
resembles a type of
violent, gruesome
dramatization that was
popular in Jacobean and
Elizabethan plays.

limerick poetic A humorous poem of five "There was a young lady from Hyde, /
term lines with a specific Who ate a green apple and died. /
meter and rhyme While her lover lamented, / The apple
scheme. fermented, / And made cider inside
her inside." Anonymous

literary form literary Form is the organization, novel, drama, poetry


term arrangement, or
framework of a literary
work.
literary genre literary A collection of works with science fiction
term a similar theme and
subject.
literary period literary A time sequence during Victorian period in British literature
term which the literature
produced has similar
characteristics and is
influenced by the general
impression of the times.
literary style literary The manner of Hemingway's style is characterized by
term expression used by a simple diction, short sentences, and a
writer, including such journalistic tone.
things as sentence
structure, diction, and
tone.
literary subject literary The basic idea, process, The subject of Moby Dick is Captain
term or thing that is explored Ahab's vengeful search for the White
by a literary work. Whale.
litotes poetic Understatement for "That [sword] was not useless / to the
term rhetorical effect, warrior now." From Beowulf. Or, "Not
especially that in which bad at all."
an affirmative statement
is made by negating its
opposite.

See: meiosis. Compare:


hyperbole.
local color literary An element of an The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret
term author's style depicting Harte
customs, manners and
dialects of a region.
lyric poem poetic A poem, such as a sonnet How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth
term or an ode, that expresses Barrett Browning
the thoughts and feelings
of the poet.
malapropism An act or habit of Examples: This event is unparalyzed
misusing words in the state's history; She's as
ridiculously, especially by headstrong as an allegory on the
the confusion of words banks of the nile.
that are similar in sound.
An instance of The later malapropism is a quote from
malapropism, as in Lead Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Richard
the way and we'll Sheridan's comedic play, The Rivals,
precede you. who continuoulsy spouts
malapropisms as though they were
Stems from the word going out of style. The character of
malapropos, which Mrs. Malaprop is the origin of the term
means inappropriate or malapropsim in the English language.
out of place.
mrchen genre Folk stories of Tales of Hoffmann by E.T.A. Hoffmann
enchantment and
marvels.
masculine poetic Rhyme that occurs in a "A Book of Verse beneath the Bough, /
rhyme term final, stressed syllable. A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Breadand
This is the most common Thou" from The Rubaiyat of Omar
type of rhyme in English Khayym translated by Edward
poetry. Fitzgeral.
masque genre Masque involved music The Masque of Blackness by Ben
and dancing, singing and Jonson
acting, within an
elaborate stage design,
in which the architectural
framing and costumes
might be designed by a
renowned architect, to
present a deferential
allegory flattering to the
patron.

meiosis figurative Belittlement. An "The reports of my death are greatly


language expressive exaggerated." Said by Mark Twain.
understatement,
sometimes ironical or
humorous, and intended
to emphasize the size, or
importance of what is
belittled.

See: litotes.
melodrama genre A drama characterized by The Perils of Pauline
exaggerated emotions,
stereotypical characters,
and interpersonal
conflicts. Usually, a
melodrama ends happily,
with the protagonist
defeating the antagonist
at the last possible
moment.
metaphor figurative The equation of one idea "Juliet is the sun" from Shakespeare's
language or thing with another. A Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 1.
comparison of two unlike
things using the verb to
be and not using like or
as as in a simile.
metaphysical poetic A type of poetry which is Holy Sonnet 14 by John Donne
poetry term intellectually complex
and which uses
unconventional imagery
and highly developed
conceits.
meter poetic The rhythmic pattern
term produced when words are
arranged so that their
stressed and unstressed
syllables fall into a more
or less regular sequence.
metonymy figurative A figure of speech in The White House announced the name
language which one word is of the person to be the next Secretary
substituted for another of the Treasury (White House is a
with which it is closely substitution for the President of the
associated. US).
miracle or genre A medieval drama in Everyman, a fifteenth-century play
morality play verse that took its
subject matter from
biblical history or the
lives of the saints.
mise en abyme, literary A literary technique in
mise en abime device which a story contains a
smaller copy of itself, the
sequence appearing to
one or more times. Mise
en abme occurs when a
text contains a
reduplication of images
or concepts referring to
the textual whole.
Mise en abyme is a
French term meaning
"placed into abyss." It
describes the visual
experience of standing
between two mirrors,
seeing an infinite
reproduction of one's
own image. The
expression originates
from a practice in French
heraldry in which the
image of a small shield is
placed on the image of a
larger shield.

See also: backstory,


flashback, story within a
story, frame story

monody poetic An elegy uttered by a Thyrsis, A Monody by Matthew Arnold


term single person
monometer poetic A line of verse consisting "Thus I / Pass by / And die," from
term of one metric foot. Upon His Departure Hence by Robert
Herrick
motif literary A recurring concept in a
device work of literature.
motivation literary The psychological
term grounds for a characters
behavior.
mystery fiction genre A novel or short story The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir
which is focused on a Arthur Conan Doyle
crime and on a detective
who is working to solve
the crime by following
clues that the reader can
also use to deduce the
solution.
narrative literary A story or account of Somerset Maugham's stories are
term events, experiences, or masterful narratives. Poe's The Raven
the like, whether true or is a poetic narrative.
fictitious; a book, literary
work, etc., containing
such a story; the art,
technique, or process of
narrating.
narrator literary The voice of the person
device telling the story.
naturalism literary A literary style which McTeague by Frank Norris
style attempts to replicate
reality, often emphasizing
the uncouth or sordid
aspects of life.
neoclassic period A period in which writers Alexander Pope is a neoclassic writer.
looked back to the ideals
and forms of the classic
period of Greece and
Rome.
nom de plume, literary A pseudonym used by an Nom de plume is French for pen
pen name term author. name.
novel form A fictional prose narrative Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
of considerable length
and complexity in which
the actions, speech, and
thoughts of the
characters serve to
unfold the plot; usually
over 50,000 words.
novel of genre A novel focusing on and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
manners describing in detail the
social customs and habits
of a particular social
group.
novelette form A brief novel or long
short story.
novella form A fictional account longer Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert
than a short story and Louis Stevenson
shorter than a novel;
usually between 20,000
and 50,000 words.
octameter poetic A line of verse consisting "Love| took up| the glass| of Time,|
term of eight metric feet. and turn'd| it in| his glow| ing hands;"
from Locksley Hall by Sir Alfred Lord
Tennyson
octave poetic A poetic stanza of eight
term lines, usually forming one
part of an Italian sonnet.

octavo literary A book format in which a Most modern hardcover books are
term printer's sheet is folded approximately octavo size.
three times. Each sheet,
therefore, becomes eight
leaves or sixteen pages.
ode poetic A lyric poem that is Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats
term serious and thoughtful in
tone with a formal
stanzaic structure. The
ode often praises people,
the arts of music and
poetry, natural scenes, or
abstract concepts.
omniscient literary An all-knowing, third- The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
narrator device person narrator who is
not a character in the
story. Omniscient
narrators can report the
thoughts and feelings of
the characters, as well as
their words and actions.
one-act play form A short play that takes The Zoo Story by Edward Albee
place in one act.
onomatopoeia figurative A figure of speech in Poe uses the words "tintinnabulation,"
language which words are used to "tinkle," and "jingling" in his poem
imitate sounds. The Bells to imitate the sounds bells
make.
parable literary A short narrative The story of the prodigal son in the
style designed to show the Bible is a parable.
parallels between its
story and a lesson that
the narrator is trying to
teach.
parachronism A chronological error in
which a person, event, or
the like is assigned a
date later than the actual
one. See anachronism,
prochronism, prolepsis.

paradox figurative A statement that seems "Death, thou shalt die." from Death Be
language to be self-contradictory, Not Proud by John Donne
yet has meaning that
may provoke a new
understanding.
parody genre A satiric imitation of a Shamela by Henry Fielding as a
work or of an author with parody of Samuel Richardson's Pamela
the idea of ridiculing the
author, his ideas, or
work.
pastiche, literary A literary, musical, or
pasticcio term artistic piece consisting
wholly or chiefly of motifs
or techniques borrowed
from one or more
sources. An incongruous
combination of materials,
forms, motifs, etc., taken
from different sources;
hodgepodge.
pastoral poetic A poem that depicts rural Lycidas by John Milton
term life in a peaceful,
idealized way.
pathos literary A scene intended to The death of Ophelia in Shakespeare's
term evoke tenderness, pity, Hamlet
or sorrow in an audience
or reader.
pentameter poetic A line of verse consisting "Remem| ber me| when I| am gone|
term of five metric feet. away," from Remember by Christina
Rossetti
perfect rhyme poetic Exact equivalence of Moon, June, tune, loon
term sound in two or more
words

period fiction genre A novel or short story set The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness
in a particular historical Emmuska Orczy
period but not involved
with actual historical
people or events.
periphrasis poetic Circumlocution to avoid
term commonplace terms
through a more elegant
substitution.
personification figurative A figure of speech in Aesop's Fables uses personification of
language which human attributes animals to explore human foibles.
are assigned to non-
human things. The
attribution of a personal
nature or character to
inanimate objects or
abstract notions.

The representation of a
thing or abstraction in
the form of a person, as
in art or writing. The
person or thing
embodying an abstract or
non-human quality. An
imaginary person or
creature conceived or
figured to represent a
thing or abstraction.
Petrarchan poetic The Italian or Petrachan Design by Robert Frost
sonnet term sonnet is divided into an
octave and a sestet,
usually rhyming
abbaabba, cdecde.
picaresque genre An episodic novel about a Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
novel rogue or picaro (a person
of low social status)
wandering around and
living by his wits.
play form A work of dramatic The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee
literature Williams
plot literary A series of incidents that
term make up a story.
poetic justice literary Rewarding virtue and The deaths of Rosenkrantz and
device punishing vice, usually Guildenstern in Hamlet result directly
through an ironic twist. from their own perfidy.
poetic license literary The liberty taken by an
term artist or a writer in
deviating from
conventional form or fact
to achieve a desired
effect.
poetry form Text in rhythmic or Birches by Robert Frost
metric form, often
employing rhyme;
usually shorter and more
concentrated in language
and ideas than either
prose or drama; poetic
language is used for its
aesthetic and evocative
qualities in addition to its
meaning.
point of view literary The outlook from which a In Dickens' David Copperfield, we see
term story is related. the story from David's point of view.
prequel Like a sequel, but where
the story takes place at
an earlier time than in
the previous work.
primitivism movement Portrayal of the Jean Jacques Rousseau's Emile
superiority of natural
simplicity over artificial
complication.
prochronism A chronological error in
which a person, event, or
the like is assigned a
date earlier than the
actual one. See
anachronism,
parachronism, prolepsis.
prolepses The assigning of a
person, event, etc., to a
period earlier than the
actual one; the
representation of
something in the future
as if it already existed or
had occurred;
prochronism.

(From linguistics). The


use of a descriptive word
in anticipation of its
becoming applicable.
prolepsis The assigning of a
person, event, or
something else to a
period earlier than the
actual one; the
representation of
something in the future
as if it already existed or
had occurred. See
anachronism,
parachronism,
prochronism, prolepsis.
propaganda genre A novel or short story Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher
fiction that tries to influence the Stowe
reader to take a position
or action on a particular
moral or political issue.
prose form Ordinary writing, without The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles
metrical structure, Dickens
expressed in a
commonplace manner.
prosody poetic Study of versification,
term such as meter, rhyme
scheme, and poetic
forms.
prosopopoeia figurative Personification of
language inanimate things. Also, a
figure of speech in which
an imaginary, absent, or
deceased person is
represented as speaking
or acting. Also spelled
prosopopeia. From the
Greek term for
"personification."
protagonist literary The main character of a Jay Gatsby is the protagonist of The
term narrative, usually the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"good guy."
pun figurative A play on words that are The dying Mercutio in Romeo and
language identical or similar in Juliet calls himself "a grave man."
sound but have different
meanings.
purple prose literary Passages written in
style words and phrases that
sound stilted, overly
descriptive, or clichd
and sensuously evocative
beyond the requirements
of its context. The term
has come to be
associated with formulaic
romance novels.
pyrrhic poetic A foot of verse having
term two unstressed syllables.
quarto literary A book format in which a
term printer's sheet is folded
twice. Each sheet,
therefore, becomes four
leaves or eight pages.
quatrain poetic A four-line stanza in The Tyger by William Blake is written
term poetry. in quatrains.

realism literary An attempt to present lif Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert


style without idealization,
interpretation, or romatic
subjectivity.
refrain poetic A group of words The word "Nevermore" is a refrain in
term repeated in a poem, Poe's The Raven.
usually, but not always,
at the end of a stanza.
regional fiction genre A novel faithful to a As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
particular geographic
region and its people,
including behavior,
customs, speech, and
history.
rhetorical figurative A question asked in order "If Winter comes, can Spring be far
question language to emphasize a point and behind?" from Ode to the West Wind
not to provoke an by Shelley
answer.
rhyme poetic Correspondence of sound "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the
term in two or more words in a plain." from My Fair Lady by Lerner
line or lines of verse. and Loewe
rising action literary Events in a story or play
term that lead to the climax.
roman clef genre A novel describing real On the Road by Jack Kerouac
people and events in the
guise of fiction.
romance fiction genre A formulaic love story in Secrets by Danielle Steele
which boy meets girl,
they overcome the
obstacles that stand in
their way, and they live
happily ever after. In
modern romances, there
is usually a conflict
between the lovers
themselves that seems to
be irreconcilable. In the
end, the confilct is
overcome and the two
realize they are meant
for each other.

romanticism movement The principles and ideals


of the Romantic
movement in literature
and the arts during the
late 18th and early 19th
centuries. Romanticism,
which was a reaction to
the classicism of the
early 18th century,
favored feeling over
reason and placed great
emphasis on the
subjective, or personal,
experience of the
individual. Nature was
also a major theme.
rondeau poetic A poetic form having 15 In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
term lines divided into three
stanzas, with only two
rhymes (e.g., aabbaab,
etc.).
rondel A short poem of fixed Rondel of Merciless Beauty by
form, consisting usually Geoffrey Chaucer
of 14 lines on two
rhymes, of which four are
made up of the initial
couplet repeated in the
middle and at the end,
with the second line of
the couplet sometimes
being omitted at the end.

Compare Shakespearean
or English sonnet.
rondelet literary rondelet (rondl et,
term rondl et), n.

A short poem of fixed


form, consisting of five
lines on two rhymes, and
having the opening words
or word used after the
second and fifth lines as
an unrhymed refrain.

A diminutive of rondel.
See: rondel.
roundel (also A modification of the
rondel) rondeau, consisting of
nine lines with two
refrains. See: rondel;
see: rondeau
saga, saga genre The word saga is an There are a great many Nordic sagas.
novel Icelandic or Old Norse Sverrir's saga is a tale about a king.
word meaning something The Bandamanna saga is a tale of
said or a tale or a history. everyday people. Egils saga is a tale
Sagas originated as of larger than life characters.
medieval Icelandic or
Norse (Germanic) Some Scandinavian sagas include
narratives or legendary histories about the Nordic countries,
accounts of battles, the British Isles, Northern France, or
feuds, voyages, heroic North America. Tales of actual
exploits, kings, Icelandic voyages to America as early
historically important as the 10th century, CE were
events, or similar topics. confirmed by sagas.

Today saga has come to J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings


mean any prose series is a contemporary saga that is a
narrative, tale, or legend work of fantasy fiction. So also is
of achievements and George Lucas's classic film trilogy, the
heroic exploits in the Star Wars saga.
history of a personage,
family, etc., wherever or
however it originates.

A saga novel is a related,


special form of the novel
in which the members or
generations of a family or
social group are
chronicled in a long and
leisurely narrative.
satire literary The literary art of It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
style ridiculing a folly or vice in
order to expose or
correct it.
scansion poetic The process of analyzing
term the metrical pattern of a
poem.
science fiction genre Works whose major ideas I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
deal with science or
technology and their
effects on society and
human behavior.
screenplay form A sequence of His Girl Friday by Charles Lederer
instructions designed for
producing a motion
picture, including
character and scene
descriptions, dialogue,
and sometimes, camera
positions and movement.
Often a screenplay is an
adaptation of an existing
drama or novel.
second-person literary A technique in which a The Haunted Mind from Twice-Told
narrative device story is told in the Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
second-person (you),
addressing the reader as
the protagonist.
sequel literary A work incorporating the The Two Towers is the sequel to The
term same characters and Fellowship of the Ring.
often the same setting as
a previous work. Often, a
sequel is a direct
continuation of a story
from a previous work.

series literary A set of works with the The twenty Aubrey/Maturin novels of
term same characters and by Patrick O'Brian
setting placed in order or
happening
one after another.
series comma A comma used after the In the series A, B, C, or D, the comma
next-to-last item in a after the C is the series comma.
series of three or more
items when the next-to-
last and last items are
separated by a
conjunction. Also called
serial comma.

The series comma is also


known as the Oxford
comma because it was
traditionally used by
printers, readers, and
editors at Oxford
University Press. It is
also known as the
Harvard comma because
it is strongly advocated
by the Harvard University
Press.

Note: Opinions vary


among writers and
editors on the usage or
avoidance of the serial
comma. In American
English the serial comma
is standard in most non-
journalistic writing, which
typically follows the
Chicago Manual of Style.
Journalists, however,
usually follow the
Associated Press Style
Guide, which advises
against it. It is less often
used in British English.
seriocomedy genre A play or other literary
work that is partly
serious and partly comic.

See also: comedy-drama,


dramedy, comedrama.
sestet poetic A poetic stanza of six
term lines, usually forming one
part of an Italian sonnet.
setting literary The time and place of the Victorian Wngland is the setting for
term action of a story. Great Expectations by Charles
Dickens.
Shakespearean poetic The English or Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare
or English term Shakespearean sonnet is
sonnet divided into three
quatrains and a couplet,
usually rhyming abab,
cdcd, efef, gg.

Compare rondel.
short story form A brief fictional work that The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar
usually contains only one Allan Poe
major conflict and at
least one main character.
simile figurative A figure of speech that "O, my love is like a red, red rose" by
language makes an explicit Robert Burns
comparison between two
unlike things by using
words such as like, as,
than, appears, and
seems.
soliloquy literary A dramatic speech "To be, or not to be" from
device intended to give the Shakespeare's Hamlet
illusion of unspoken
reflections.

sonnet poetic A 14-line lyric poem How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth


term written in iambic Barrett Browning
pentameter, having a
specific thematic
structure and rhyme
scheme.
speculative genre A novel or short story Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
fiction that poses the question
"What if" and attempts
to answer through
speculation.
spondee poetic A foot of verse having "What heart heard of, ghost
term two stressed syllables. guessed" from Spring and Fall to a
young child by Gerard Manley
Hopkins
spoonerism literary The transposition of A blushing crow instead of a crushing
term initial or other sounds of blow.
words, usually by
accident, but sometimes
in jest.

The term was coined


some time between 1895
and 1900. It was inspried
by an English clergyman
named W. A. Spooner,
who lived between 1844
and 1930, and who was
noted for such slips.
stanza poetic A group of lines forming
term a division of a poem
having a set pattern of
meter and rhyme.
stock characters literary Character types that The gunslinger is a stock character in
term recur often in a literary Western fiction.
genre and become a
convention of that form.
story within a literary A literary device in which
story, story- device one narrative is
within-a-story presented during the
action of another
narrative.

The expression originates


from the French term
mise en abyme, which
refers to the practice in
heraldry of placing the
image of a small shield
on a larger shield.

A story within a story can


be used in novels, short
stories, plays, television
programs, films, poems,
songs, and philosophical
essays.

See also: frame story,


backstory, flashback,
mise en abyme
stream of literary A technique which takes Ulysses by James Joyce
consciousness device the reader inside a
characters mind to reveal
both conscious and
unconscious thoughts to
tell a story.
stress poetic Emphasis on a syllable in
term a line of verse.
subplot literary A secondary plot that is
term related to the main plot
but not essential to it.
suspense literary A feeling of uncertainty
device and anticipation about
the outcome of certain
actions.
symbol literary An arbitrary sign that has White is usually a symbol of purity.
term acquired a conventional
significance.

sympathy literary Emotional identification


term with a character's
experiences and feelings.
synecdoche figurative A figure of speech in In the line, "A poor torn heart, a
language which a part is used to tattered heart, That sat it down to
designate the whole or rest," by Emily Dickinson, Poem XLIX,
the whole is used to the heart represents the whole
designate a part. person.
synesthesia figurative A passage in which one
language kind of sensation is
described in terms of
another.
temporary literary The temporary The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by
suspension of term acceptance as real of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, published in
disbelief events or characters that the first edition of his Lyrical Ballads in
would ordinarily be seen 1798. Coleridge uses narrative
as incredible, unreal, or techniques such as personification and
contrived. This repetition to create either a sense of
suspension is what allows danger, of the supernatural, or of
an audience to accept serenity, depending on the mood of
works of literature and each of the different parts of the
drama that explore poem.
extraordinary ideas or
supernatural characters. Lyrical Ballads marks a signal shift to
modern poetry and the beginning of
This term was coined by British Romantic literature.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
in 1817 with the
publication of his
Biographia Literaria or
Biographical Sketches of
My Literary Life and
Opinions.

A temporary suspension
of disbelief is essential if
any reenactment of real
life is to be taken
seriously. It occurs when
anyone experiences any
movie, drama, or work of
fiction. An audience may
know that it is watching
an actor or reading a
play, but puts that
perception out of its mind
as it directly experiences
what the artist is
attempting to convey as
if it were actually
occuring.
terza rima poetic A type of poetry Ode to the West Wind by Percy
term consisting of 10- or 11- Bysshe Shelley is written in terza
syllable lines arranged in rima.
three-line tercets with
the rhyme scheme aba
bcb cdc, etc.
tetrameter poetic A line of verse consisting "Dreaming| still of| Minne|haha, / Of
term of four metric feet. the| lovely| Laughing| Water," from
Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow
thematic Relating to works of
literature in which no
characters are involved
except the author and his
audience, as in most
lyrics and essays, or to
works of literature in
which internal characters
are subordinated to an
argument maintained by
the author, as in
allegories and parables;
opposed to fictional.
theme literary The central meaning or The theme of Crane's The Red Badge
term dominant idea in a of Courage is the horrors of war and
literary work. the real meaning of courage.

third-person literary A story told about a


narrative device protagonist from another
point of view.
tone literary The author's implicit Carroll's Alice in Wonderland has a
term attitude toward the whimsical tone.
reader or the people,
places, and events in a
work as revealed by the
elements of the author's
style.
tragedy genre A serious work in which Othello by Shakespeare
events result in
disastrously for the
protagonist.
trimeter poetic A line of verse consisting "I went| to the Gar| den of Love, /
term of three metric feet. And saw| what I nev| er had seen;"
from The Garden of Love by William
Blake
triple rhyme poetic A type of feminine rhyme
term in which the three final
syllables coincide. This is
often used for a
humorous effect.
trochee poetic A foot of verse having "Adam / Had 'em." from Lines on the
term two syllables, the first Antiquity of Microbes by Strickland
unstressed and the Gillilan.
second stressed.
trope figurative A figure of speech in antithesis, simile, metaphor,
language which words are not used metonymy, onomatopoeia,
in their literal sense but personification, synecdoche, irony
in a figurative sense. C.f.
"figure of speech"
unreliable literary A work of fiction in which The Turn of the Screw by Henry
narrator device the narrator's credibility James
is seriously compromised
due to psychological
instability, a powerful
bias, a lack of
knowledge, or a
deliberate attempt to
deceive the reader.

utopian fiction genre A novel that presents an Walden Two by B.F. Skinner
ideal society where all
social problems such as
poverty and crime have
been eliminated.
verisimilitude literary The quality of seeming to
term be true.
Victorian period The period of British
literature between 1837-
1901 when Victoria was
the queen. The literature
of the period reflected
current social, economic,
and intellectual
problems.
villanelle poetic A type of fixed form Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good
term poetry consisting of Night by Dylan Thomas
nineteen lines divided
into six stanzas: five
tercets and a concluding
quatrain. The first and
third lines of the initial
tercet rhyme; these
rhymes are repeated in
each subsequent tercet
(aba) and in the final two
lines of the quatrain
(abaa)
western fiction genre A adventure novel or Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane
short story set in the Grey
western United States.
wordplay literary Clever or subtle repartee;
term verbal wit. Also, a play
on words; a pun.
zeugma figurative A figure of speech in "She looked at the object with
language which one verb governs suspicion and a magnifying glass."
several words, or Charles Dickens.
clauses, each in a
different sense.
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