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College Bound English:

Literary Terms and Devices

Selected from A Handbook to Literature, 8 th Edition by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman

1. acronym

A word formed by combining the initial letters or syllables of a series of words to for a name, as ―radar,‖ from ―radio detecting and ranging.‖

1. acronym

1. acronym

1. acronym

2. act (as in drama)

A major division of DRAMA. In varying degrees the fine-act structure corresponded to the fine main divisions of dramatic





2. act (as in drama)

2. act (as in drama) Mel Gibson as Hamlet Branagh Derek Jacobi

Mel Gibson

as Hamlet

2. act (as in drama) Mel Gibson as Hamlet Branagh Derek Jacobi



2. act (as in drama) Mel Gibson as Hamlet Branagh Derek Jacobi



3. adaptation

The rewriting of a work from its original form to fit it for another

medium; also the new form of

such a rewritten work.

3. adaptation

4. aesthetics

The study or philosophy of the beautiful in nature, art and

literature. It has both a philosophical dimensionWhat is art? What is beauty? What is the relationship of the beautiful to other values?

4. aesthetics

(this is a painting by Chuck Close, entitled ―Self-Portrait‖)

4. aesthetics




5. agrarian

Literary people living in an agricultural society, or espousing

the merits of such a society, as the

Physiocrats did. In literary history

and criticism, however, the term is

usually applied to a group of


5. agrarian

…American writers who published in Nashville, Tennessee, between 1922 and 1925 The Fugitive, a LITTLE MAGAZINE of poetry and some criticism

championing agrarian

REGIONALISM but attacking

―the old high-castle Brahmins of the Old South.‖

5. agrarian



―Literature in its most

comprehensive sense is the

autobiography of humanity.‖

-Bernard Berenson

6. allegory

A form of extended METAPHOR in which objects, persons, and actions

in a narrative are equated with meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. Thus, an allegory is a story in which everything is a symbol. RPMrebellion, open thinking, manliness; Nursehate, control, judgment, conformity

6. allegory (cont.)

Samuel Coleridge: the traditional distinction between a

―symbol‖ and allegory is that ―an allegory is but a translation of

abstract notions into picture-

language,‖ whereas ―a Symbol

always partakes of the Reality

which it makes intelligible.‖

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz Lord of the Flies 6. allegory William Golding Lord of the Flies
Wizard of Oz Lord of the Flies 6. allegory William Golding Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

6. allegory

Wizard of Oz Lord of the Flies 6. allegory William Golding Lord of the Flies
Wizard of Oz Lord of the Flies 6. allegory William Golding Lord of the Flies



Lord of the


7. alliteration

The repetition of initial identical consonant sounds or

any vowel sounds in successive

or closely associated syllables,

especially stressed syllables.

7. alliteration

7. alliteration
7. alliteration

8. allusion

A figure of speech that makes brief reference to a historical or

literary figure, event, or object. The effectiveness of allusion

depends on a body of knowledge

shared by writer and reader. A good example is T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and the author’s notes to that poem.

8. allusion

• RPM’s shorts refer to Moby Dick, classic book by Melville (90).

Also, to the Bible and Pontius Pilate—a patient says, ―I wash my hands of the whole deal‖ (232).

Harding makes reference to the Lone Ranger, Batman, or Zorro

saying RPM is a ―masked man‖

superhero (258).

Babe the

Blue Ox

8. allusion

Babe the Blue Ox 8. allusion

9. anachronism

Assignment of something to a time when it was not in


9. anachronism

9. anachronism Back to the Future

Back to the Future

10. analogy

A comparison of two things, alike in certain aspects; particularly a method

used in EXPOSITION an DESCRIPTION by which something

unfamiliar is explained or described

by comparing it to some thing more


Will CastleEliza : Dorothy :: Higgins : Wizard

10. analogy

1.find is to lose as construct is to:





2. find is to locate as feign is to:



line mean

10. analogy

  • 3. find is to kind as feign is to:



line mean

  • 4. pane is to pain as weigh is to:





  • 5. bring is to brought as sing is to:





10. analogy

6. dime is to tenth as quarter is to:





7. plates is to dishes as arms is to:






―Contemporary literature.

Easier to shock than to


-Albert Camus

11. anapest

A metrical FOOT consisting of three syllables, with two

unaccented syllables followed

by an accented one.

11. anapest

11. anapest William Wordsworth



12. anecdote

A short NARRATIVE detailing particulars of an interesting

EPISODE or event. The term most frequently refers to an incident in the life of an important person and should lay

claim to an element of truth.

12. anecdote

Though anecdotes are often used as the basis for short stories, an anecdote lacks complicated PLOT and relates a single




12. anecdote

John Falstaff 12. anecdote

13. annotation

The addition of explanatory notes to a text by the author or an

editor to explain, translate, cite

sources, give bibliographical

data, comment, GLOSS, or


13. annotation

A VARIOUM EDITION represents the ultimate in annotation. An annotated

BIBLIOGRAPHY, in addition

to the standard bibliographical data includes comments on the works listed.

13. annotation



14. antagonist

The character directly opposed to the PROTAGONIST. A

rival, opponent, or enemy of the


non-character entities can be antagonistic (settings or events)

14. antagonist

14. antagonist Nurse Ratched

Nurse Ratched

15. anthology

• Literally ―a gathering of

flowers,‖ the term designates a

collection of writing, either

prose or poetry, usually by

various authors.

15. anthology

―Literature is the art of writing

something that will be read

twice; journalism, what will be

grasped at once.‖

-Cyril Connolly

16. aside (as in drama)

A dramatic convention by which an actor directly

addresses the audience but is

not supposed to be heard by the

other actors on the stage.

16. aside (as in drama)

16. aside (as in drama) Roderigo and Iago

Roderigo and Iago

17. assonance (as in poetry)

Same or similar vowel sounds in stressed syllables that end with different consonant sounds. Assonance differs from RHYME

in that RHYME is a similarity of

vowel and consonant. ―Lake‖ and

―fake‖ demonstrate RHYME; ―lake‖ and ―fate‖ assonance.

17. assonance (as in poetry)



17. assonance (as in poetry) John Donne

18. autobiography

• The story of a person’s life as

written by that person.

18. autobiography



18. autobiography Maya Angelou



18. autobiography

Charles Bukowski 18. autobiography

19. avant-garde

Applied to new writing that shows striking (and usually self-

conscious) innovations in style,

form, and subject matter.

19. avant-garde

John Ashbery

19. avant-garde John Ashbery Frank O’Hara
19. avant-garde John Ashbery Frank O’Hara

Frank O’Hara

20. bard

In modern use, simply a POET. Historically the term refers to poets who recited verses

glorifying the deeds of heroes and leaders to the accompaniment of musical instrument such as the harp.

20. bard

20. bard Shakespeare


20. bard Shakespeare

―Our literature is substitute

for religion, and so is our


-T.S. Eliot

21. Bildungsroman

A NOVEL that deals with the development of a young person,

usually from adolescence to

maturity; it is frequently


21. Bildungsroman




22. biography

• A written account of a person’s

life, a life history. LETTERS,

MEMOIRS, DIARIES, JOURNALS, and AUTOBIOGRAPHIES ought to be distinguished from biography proper.

22. biography



closely related to each other in

that each is recollection written

down by the subject of the work.

22. biography

22. biography Princess Diana
22. biography Princess Diana

Paul Burrell

Princess Diana

23. black humor—Cuckoo’s Nest

The use of the morbid and the ABSURD for darkly comic

purposes in modern literature. The term refers as much to the tone of anger and bitterness as it does to the grotesque and morbid

situations, which often deal with

suffering, anxiety, and death.

23. black humor

23. black humor Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

24. canon

In a figurative sense, a standard of judgment; a criterion.

In a literal sense, the absolute best—the ―hall of fame‖—as determined by the qualified readership.



24. canon

Harold Bloom 24. canon

25. catharsis

In the Poetics Aristotle, in defining TRAGEDY. Sees it

objective as being ―through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation [catharsis]of these emotions,‖…

25. catharsis

• …but he does not explain what

―proper purgation‖ means.

Whatever Aristotle means thereby, catharsis remains one of the great unsettled issues.

25. catharsis

Irene Jacob

in Othello

―To provoke dreams of terror

in the slumber of prosperity

has become the moral duty of


-Ernst Fischer

26. character

It is a brief descriptive SKETCH of a personage who

typifies dome definite quality.

26. character

26. character Lennie Small Don Quixote

Lennie Small

Don Quixote

27. cliché

From the French word for stereotype plate; a block for printing. Hence, any expression

so often used that its freshness

and clarity have worn off is

called a cliché, a stereotyped form.

Jerry Seinfeld 27. cliché

Jerry Seinfeld

27. cliché

Jerry Seinfeld 27. cliché

George W. Bush

28. climax

A rhetorical term for a rising order of importance in the ideas

expressed, Such an arrangement

is called climatic, and the item

of greatest importance is called the climax.

28. climax

H.G. Wells

28. climax H.G. Wells

29. collage

In the pictorial arts the technique by which materials

not usually associated with one

another, such as newspaper

clippings, labels, cloth, wood ,

bottle tops, or theater tickets,

are assembled and pasted together on a single surface.

29. collage

Edgar Allan Poe

29. collage Edgar Allan Poe


a close friend or associate to whom secrets are confided or

with whom private matters

and problems are discussed

could be the reader, if narrator offers exclusive information

30. conflict

The struggle that grows out of the interplay of two opposing

forces. Conflict provides

interest suspense, and tension.

30. conflict

1.) a struggle against nature 2.) a struggle against another

person, usually the


3.) a struggle against society

4.) a struggle for mastery by

two elements within the person



30. conflict

William Faulkner 30. conflict

―In an incarcerate society, free

literature can exist only as

denunciation and hope.‖

-Eduardo Galeano

31. consonance

The relation between words in which the final consonants in

the stressed syllables agree but

the vowels that precede them

differ, as ―add-read,‖ ―mill- ball,‖ and ―torn-burn.‖

31. consonance

31. consonance John Milton

John Milton

31. consonance John Milton

T.S. Eliot

32. couplet

Two consecutive lines of VERSE with END RHYMES.

32. couplet

32. couplet T.S. Eliot Ezra Pound

T.S. Eliot

32. couplet T.S. Eliot Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound

33. denouement

• Literally, ―unknotting.‖ The

final unraveling of a plot; the

solution of a mystery; an

explanation or outcome. Denouement is sometimes used

as a synonym for FALLING


33. denouement

33. denouement Scooby-Doo Stories

Scooby-Doo Stories

34. dialogue

Conversation of two or more people. Embodies certain values

1.)advances the action and is not mere


2.)consistent with the character of the


34. dialogue

3.)gives impression of naturalness without being verbatim record

4.)presents the interplay of ideas and personalities

5.)varies according to the various


6.)serves to give relief from passages

34. dialogue

34. dialogue Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

34. dialogue Ernest Hemingway

James Thurber

35. diction

Choice and use of words in

speech or writing.

35. diction



35. diction Shirley Jackson

―Literature decays only as

men become more and more



36. didactic novel

Any novel plainly designed to teach a lesson, it is properly

used as a synonym for the


36. didactic novel

The Jungle



37. dime novel

A cheaply printed, paperbound TALE of adventure or

detection, or originally selling

for a bout ten cents; an

American equivalent of the


37. dime novel

37. dime novel Malaeska


38. discourse

Mode or category of expression, in grammar, we speak of

discourse as direct or indirect.

Discourse refers to ways of

speaking that are bound by…

38. discourse

• …ideological, professional,

political, cultural, or sociological

communities. Way in which the

use of language in a particular domain helps to constitute the

objects it refers to.

Sandra Looney 38. discourse John Dudley USD

Sandra Looney


38. discourse

Sandra Looney 38. discourse John Dudley USD

John Dudley USD

39. dynamic character

A character who develops or changes as a result of the actions of

the plot.

Eliza Doolittle, Pip, Marguerite Johnson, Pi Patel, Esperanza


39. dynamic character

39. dynamic character Sandra Cisneros Don Quixote

Sandra Cisneros

39. dynamic character Sandra Cisneros Don Quixote

Don Quixote

40. dystopia

• Literally, ―bad place.‖ the term is applied to accounts of imaginary worlds, usually in the futre, in which present tendencies are carried ou to their intensely unpleasant culminations. (George Orwell’s 1984, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed)

40. dystopia




―It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.‖

-Henry James

41. elegy

A sustained and formal poem setting forth meditations on death or another solemn theme. The meditation often is occasioned by

the death of a particular person,

but it may be generalized

observation or the expression of a

solemn mood.

41. elegy



The Elegy

of Far



42. ellipsis

The omission of one or more words that, while essential to a

grammatic structure, are easily


• (…) only three periods!

43. epic

A long narrative poem in elevated style presenting characters of high

position in adventures forming and

organic whole through their relation

to a central heroic figure and through

their development of episodes important to the history of a nation or

race. The epic itself is the product of a single genius.

43. epic (cont.)

(1) The hero is of imposing nature (2) The setting is vast (3) The action consists of deeds of

valor or superhuman courage

(4) The supernatural

(5) A style of sustained elevation

(6) The poet retains a measure of


Odysseus 43. epic Trojan Horse


43. epic

Odysseus 43. epic Trojan Horse

Trojan Horse

44. epiphany

Literally a manifestation or showing-forth, usually of some

divine being. The Christian festival of Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the

Gentiles in the form of the


45. euphemism

A device in which indirectness replaces directness of statement,

usually in an effort to avoid


45. euphemism







45. euphemism husky big-boned hefty portly plump fluffy

―National literature begins

with fables and ends with


-Joseph Joubert

46. exposition (as in a story’s plot)

Its purpose is to explain something. Identification,

definition, classification,

illustration, comparison, and


46. exposition (as in a story’s plot)

46. exposition (as in a story’s plot) Harry Potter

Harry Potter

47. Expressionism

A movement affecting painting and literature, which followed

and went beyond IMPRESSIONISM in its efforts

to ―objectify inner experience.‖

Expressionism was strongest in theater in the 1920s,…

47. Expressionism (cont.)

• …and its entry into other literary

forms was probably though the stage. In the novel the

presentation of the objective

outer world as it expresses itself

in the impressions or moods of a

character is widely used device.

47. Expressionism (cont.)


is also a genre in the

expressionistic tradition. More recent novelists, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Thomas Pynchon, Joseph Heller, and Ken Kesey, ca

also be included in the

expressionistic tradition.

47. Expressionism

47. Expressionism ―Lady and Her Cat‖ Millie Shapiro ―The Muse‖ Jeff Buckley

―Lady and Her Cat‖

Millie Shapiro

47. Expressionism ―Lady and Her Cat‖ Millie Shapiro ―The Muse‖ Jeff Buckley

―The Muse‖

Jeff Buckley

  • 48. falling action

The second half or RESOLUTION

of a dramatic plot. It follows the

CLIMAX, beginning often with a tragic force, exhibits the failing fortunes of the hero (in a tragedy) and the successful efforts in the


culminates in the CATASTROPHE.

  • 48. falling action

48. falling action

flat character

a literary character whose personality can be defined by

one or two traits and does not

change in the course of the



A foil character is either one who is opposite to the main character or nearly the same as the main character. The purpose of the foil

character is to emphasize the traits

of the main character by contrast

only. A foil is a secondary

character who contrasts with a major character.

49. foot (as in poetry)

The unit of rhythm in verse, whether QUANTITATIVE or


49. foot (as in poetry)



49. foot (as in poetry) William Blake

50. foreshadowing

The presentation of material in a work in such a way that later

events are prepared for. Foreshadowing can result form the establishment of a mood or atmosphere, as in the opening of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or the first act of Hamlet.

  • 50. foreshadowing (cont.)

It can result from the appearance of physical objects or facts, as do the

clues do in a detective story, or from the revelation of a fundamental and decisive character trait. In all cases, the purpose of foreshadowing is to prepare the reader or viewer for action

to come.

50. foreshadowing

50. foreshadowing Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird Sings

Ken Kesey

One Flew Over the

Cuckoo’s Nest

50. foreshadowing Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou’s

Caged Bird Sings

50. foreshadowing

50. foreshadowing
50. foreshadowing

―Literature is a form of

permanent insurrection. Its

mission is to arouse, to disturb,

to alarm, to keep men in a

constant state of dissatisfaction

with themselves.‖

-Mario Vargas Llosa

51. history play (as in


Strictly speaking, any drama whose time setting is in some

period earlier than that in which

it is written. It is most widely

used, however, as a synonym


51. history play (as in


King John

51. history play (as in Shakespeare) King John

52. hubris

overweening pride or insolence that results in the misfortune of the PROTAGONIST of a tragedy. Hubris

leads the protagonist to break a moral

law, attempt vainly to transcend normal limitations, or ignore a divine warning with calamitous results.

52. hubris


52. hubris Poseidon

53. hyperbole

Exaggeration. The figure may be used to heighten effect or it

may be used for humor.

53. hyperbole

53. hyperbole Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

54. iamb (as in poetry)

A foot consisting of an unaccented syllable and an accented ( ˘ ́ ). The most common rhythm in English


54. iamb (as in poetry)


54. iamb (as in poetry) Shakespeare

55. idiom

A use of words peculiar to a given language; an expression that cannot

be translated literally. ―To carry out‖ literally means to carry

something out (of a room perhaps),

but idiomatically it means to see that

something is done, as to ―carry out a


55. idiom

55. idiom James Thurber



―Literature is mostly about

having sex and not much

about having children. Life is

the other way around.‖

-David Lodge

56. imagery

Imagery in its literal sense means the collection of

IMAGES in a literary work. In

another sense it is synonymous



56. imagery

56. imagery F. Scott Fitzgerald
56. imagery F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ernest Hemingway

F. Scott Fitzgerald

57. Imagism The objectives of Imagist are:

1.) to use the language of common speech but to employ always the exact wordnot the nearly exact word;

2.) to avoid the cliché;

3.) to create new rhythms as the expressions of a new MOOD;

57. Imagism (cont.)

4.) to allow absolute freedom in the choice of subject;

5.) to present an image (that is, to be concrete, firm, definite in their picturesharsh in outline);

6.) to strive always for concentration;

7.) to suggest rather than offer complete statements

57. Imagism (cont.)

57. Imagism (cont.) Jack Kerouac William Carlos Williams On the Road Selected Poetry
57. Imagism (cont.) Jack Kerouac William Carlos Williams On the Road Selected Poetry

Jack Kerouac

William Carlos Williams

On the Road

Selected Poetry

58. Impressionism

A highly personal manner of writing in which the author

presents materials as they appear to an individual temperament at a precise moment and from a particular vantage point rather than

as they are presumed to be in


58. Impressionism

58. Impressionism ―Ninfee Bianche‖ Claude Monet 1899






59. in medias res

A term from Horace, literally meaning ―in the midst of things.‖

it is applied to the literary technique of opening a story in the

middle of the action and then supplying information about the

beginning of the action through

flashbacks and other devices for


59. in medias res

59. in medias res

60. internal rhyme (as in poetry)

Rhyme that occurs at some place before the last syllables in a line. In the opening line of Eliot’s ―Gerontion‖—‖Here I am, an old man in a dry month‖—there is internal rhyme between ―am‖ and ―man‖ and between ―I‖ and ―dry.‖

60. internal rhyme (as in poetry)

60. internal rhyme (as in poetry) Li-Young Lee

Li-Young Lee

―A great literature is

…chiefly the product of

doubting and inquiring

minds in revolt against the

immoveable certainties of

the nation.‖

-H.L. Mencken

61. irony

A broad term referring to the recognition of reality different from appearance. Verbal irony is a FIGURE OF SPEECH in

which the actually intent is expressed in words that carry the opposite meaning.

61. irony

61. irony

62. Künstlerroman

A form of the APPRENCESHIP NOVEL in which the protagonist is an artist struggling from childhood to maturity toward an understanding of his or her creative mission. The most famous Künstlerroman in English is James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

62. Künstlerroman

62. Künstlerroman Chaim Potok

Chaim Potok

62. Künstlerroman Chaim Potok

63. limerick

A form of light verse that follows a definite pattern: five

anapestic lines of which the

first,second, and fifth,

consisting of three feet, rhyme;

and the third and fourth lines,

consisting of two feet, rhyme.

63. limerick

There once was a man from Nantucket,

Who kept all of his cash in a bucket, But his daughter, named Nan,

Ran away with a man, And as for the bucket, Nantucket. But he followed the pair to Pawtucket,

The man and the girl with the bucket;

And he said to the man,

He was welcome to Nan, But as for the bucket, Pawtucket.

64. masque

In medieval Europe there existed, partly as survivals or

adaptations of ancient pagan seasonal ceremonies, species of games or SPECTACLES characterized by a procession of

masked figures.

64. masque

64. masque Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

64. masque Romeo and Juliet

Edgar Allan Poe

65. maxim

A concise statement, usually drawn from experience and

inculcating some practical

advice; an ADAGE. Hoyle’s

―When in doubt, win the trick‖

is a maxim in bridge.

65. maxim

65. maxim John F. Kennedy ―Ask not what your country can do for you — …ask

John F. Kennedy

―Ask not

what your

country can do for you…ask what

you can do

for your


―Literature is doomed if liberty

of thought perishes.‖

-George Orwell

66. memoir

A form of autobiographical writing dealing usually with the

recollections of one who has

been a part of or has witnessed

significant events. Memoirs


proper in that they are usually…

66. memoir

• …concerned with personalities

and actions other than those of

the writer, whereas

autobiography stresses the inner

and private life of its subject.

66. memoir

66. memoir James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

James Frey,

A Million

Little Pieces

67. metaphysical

Although sometimes used in the broad sense of philosophical poetry, the term is commonly applied to the work of the seventeenth-century writers

called the ―Metaphysical


67. metaphysical

They formed a school in the sense of employing similar

methods and of revolting

against the conventions of

Elizabethan love poetry, in

particular the PETRARCHAN


67. metaphysical

67. metaphysical John Donne

John Donne

68. meter (as in poetry)

The recurrence in poetry of a rhythmic pattern, or the

RHYTHM established by the

regular occurrence of similar

units of sound. The four basic

kinds of rhythmic patters are:

68. meter (as in poetry) (cont.)


2.) accentual

3.) syllabic

4.) accentual-syllabic

68. meter (as in poetry)

69. motif

A simple element that serves as a basis for expanded narrative; or,

less strictly, a conventional situation, device, interest, or incident. In literature, recurrent images, words, objects, phrases, or actions that tend to unify the work are called motives.

  • 69. motif (cont.)

Patterns of day and night, blonde and brunette, summer

and winter, north and south,

white and black; and the

game of chess.

In books, recurring themes, images, ideas, characters, etc.

69. motif Cervantes Don Quixote

69. motif

69. motif Cervantes Don Quixote


Don Quixote

69. motif Cervantes Don Quixote

70. mood

In literary work the mood is the emotional-intellectual attitude

of the author toward the subject.

70. mood

―Literature is both my joy and

my comfort: it can add to

every happiness and there is

no sorrow it cannot console.‖

-Pliny the Younger

71. muses

Nine goddesses represented as presiding over the various

departments of art and science. They are the daughters of Zeus

and Mnemosyne. In literature,

their traditional significance I

that of inspiring and helping


71. Muses

(1)Calliope (epic)


(sacred choric


(2)Clio (history)

(3)Erato (lyrics and

love poetry)


(choral dance

(4)Euterpe (music)

and song)



(8)Thalia (comedy)



71. Muses http://shekinah.elysiumgates.com/muse/muses.jpg

71. Muses


72. Naturalism

A term best reserved for a literary movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It

draws its name from its basic

assumption that everything real

exists in NATURE, and…

72. Naturalism (cont.)

• …conceived as the world of

objects, actions, and forces that

yield their secrets to objective

scientific inquiry. Naturalism is a

response to the revolution in

thought that science has produced.

From Freud it gains a vielw of the

determinism of the iner and

subconscious self.

72. Naturalism (cont.)

Naturalist ic worlks tend to emphasize either a biological or

socioeconomic determinism. Pessimistic about human capabilitieslife is a vicious trap; frank in portrayal of humans and

animals being driven by fundamental urgesfear, hunger, and sex.

72. Naturalism

72. Naturalism Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane

73. Nobel prize

The Swedish chemist and

engineer Alfred Bernhard Nobel

willed the income from

practically his entire estate for

the establishment of annual in

the literature and other fields.

73. Nobel prize (cont.)

Originally, the literature prize was to go to the person who had produced during the year the most eminent piece of work in the field of idealistic literature; in practice, however, the prize rewards

recipient’s total career, and some of

the literature is not notably


Ernest Hemingway 1954 73. Nobel prize T.S. Eliot 1948 William Golding 1983




73. Nobel prize

Ernest Hemingway 1954 73. Nobel prize T.S. Eliot 1948 William Golding 1983

T.S. Eliot


Ernest Hemingway 1954 73. Nobel prize T.S. Eliot 1948 William Golding 1983




74. noir

An adjective taken over from

the phrase FILM NOIR to apply

to any work, especially one

involving crime, that is notably

dark, brooding cynical,

complex, and pessimistic.

74. noir

74. noir http://www.slushpile.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/irish%20noir.jpg


75. novel (and nonfiction novel)

Novel is used in its broadest sense to designate any extended fictional

narrative almost always in prose.

Nonfiction Novel is a classification offered by Truman Capote for his in

Cold Blood,…

75. novel (and nonfiction novel)

• …when which a historical event

is described in a way that

exploits some of the devices of fiction, including an nonlinear time sequence and access to inner states of mind and feeling

not commonly present in

historical writing.

75. novel (and nonfiction novel)

75. novel (and nonfiction novel) Charlotte Perkins Gilman
75. novel (and nonfiction novel) Charlotte Perkins Gilman

J.D. Salinger

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

―Great literature is simply

language charged with

meaning to the utmost possible


-Ezra Pound

76. novella

A short tale or short story, a

book of 50-100 pages; longer

than a short story, but not as

long or involved as a NOVEL.

76. novella

77. ode

A single, unified strain of

exalted lyrical verse, directed to

a single purpose, and dealing

with one theme.

77. ode

77. ode John Keats

John Keats

  • 78. Oedipus Complex

In psychoanalysis a libidinal feeling

that develops in a child, especially a

male child, between the ages of

three and six, for the parent of the

opposite sex. This attachment is

generally accompanied by hostility

to the parent of the child’s own sex.

  • 78. Oedipus Complex (cont.)

78. Oedipus Complex (cont.) Oedipus & the Sphinx

Oedipus & the


79. omniscient point of view

The POINT OF VIEW in a work of

fiction in which the narrator is

capable of knowing, seeing, and

telling all. It is characterized by

freedom in the shifting from the

exterior world to the inner selves of

a number of…

79. omniscient point of view

• …characters. A freedom in

movement in both time and

place, and freedom of the

narrator to comment on the

meaning of actions.

79. omniscient point of view

79. omniscient point of view George Orwell’s 1984 Joseph Stalin

George Orwell’s


79. omniscient point of view George Orwell’s 1984 Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin

79. omniscient point of view

79. omniscient point of view

79. omniscient point of view

79. omniscient point of view

79. omniscient point of view

79. omniscient point of view

―To my mind that literature is

best and most enduring which

is characterized by a noble


-Mark Twain

80. onomatopoeia

Words that by their sound

suggest their meaning: ―hiss,‖

―buzz,‖ ―whirr,‖ ―sizzle.‖

80. onomatopoeia

81. oxymoron

A self-contradictory

combination of worlds or

smaller verbal units.

Oxymoron‖ itself is an

oxymoron, from the Greek

meaning ―sharp-dull.‖

81. oxymoron

82. palindrome

Writing that reads the same for

left to right and from right to

left, such as the word ―civic‖ or

the statement attributed to

Napoleon, ―Able was I ere I

saw Elba.‖

82. palindrome

82. palindrome
82. palindrome

82. palindrome



I did roll--or did I? Poop

82. palindrome Racecar Hannah I did roll--or did I? Poop

83. parallelism

Such an arrangement that one

element of equal importance

with another is similarly

developed and phrased, the

principle of parallelism dictates

that coordinate ideas should

have coordinate presentation.

83. parallelism

84. paraphrase

A restatement of an idea in such

a way as to retrain the meaning

while changing the diction and

form. A paraphrase is often an


84. paraphrase

• …of the original for the purpose

of clarity, though the term is

also used for any rather general

restatement of an expression or


84. paraphrase

85. parody

A composition imitating

another, usually serious, piece.

It is designed to ridicule a work

or its style or author.

85. parody

―Ernest: What is the difference

between literature and


Gilbert: Oh! journalism is

unreadable, and literature is not


-Oscar Wilde

86. persona

Literally, a mask. The term is widely used to refer to a ―second

half‖ created by an author and

through whom the narrative is


86. persona

• …The persona can be not a character but ―an implied author‖;

that is, a voice not directly the

author’s but created by the author

and through which the author




86. persona

John Berryman 86. persona

87. personification

A figure that endows animals,

ideas, abstractions, and animate

objects with human form; the

representing of imaginary

creatures or things as having

human personalities,

intelligence and emotions.

87. personification

88. Petrarchan Sonnet


SONNET divided into an

OCTAVE rhyming abbaabba

and a SESTET rhyming cdecde.

88. Petrarchan Sonnet


88. Petrarchan Sonnet Petrarch

89. plot

Although an indispensable part of

all fiction and drama, plot is a

concept about which there has been

much disagreement. A plot,

Aristotle maintained, should have


89. plot

• …it should ―imitate one action

and that a whole, the structural

union of the parts being such

that, if any one of them is

displaced or removed, the

whole will be disjointed and


89. plot

90. pragmatism

A term, first used by C.S.

Peirce in 1878, describing a

doctrine that determines value

through the test of

consequences or utility.

90. pragmatism

―Literature always anticipates

life. It does not copy it, but

molds it to its purpose.‖

-Oscar Wilde

91. prelude A short poem, introductory in

character, prefixed to a long poem or

to a section of a long poem. Rarely,

as in the case of Wordsworth’s

famous Prelude, a poem so entitled

may itself be lengthy, although

Wordsworth’s Prelude was written as

an introduction to a much longer but

incomplete work.

91. prelude

92. prologue

An introduction most frequently

associated with drama and

especially common in England

in the plays of Restoration and

the eighteenth century.

92. prologue

93. Prose poem

A POEM printed as a PROSE,

with both margins justified.

93. Prose poem

94. protagonist

The chief character in a work. The

word was originally applied to the

―first‖ actor in early Greek drama.

The actor was added to the

CHORUS and was its leader; …

94. protagonist

• …hence the continuing

meaning of protagonist and the ―first‖ or chief player. In

Greek drama AGON is contest, the protagonist and the ANTAGONIST, the second

most important character, are


  • 94. protagonist (cont.)

94. protagonist (cont.) Batman/Spiderman Pip from Great Expectations


94. protagonist (cont.) Batman/Spiderman Pip from Great Expectations

Pip from

Great Expectations

95. proverb

A saying that briefly and memorably expresses some recognized truth

about life; originally preserved by oral tradition, though it may be transmitted in written literature as well. Proverbs may owe their appeal

to metaphor, antithesis, a play on

words, rhyme, or alliteration or


95. proverb

―One may recollect generally that

certain thoughts or facts are to be found in a certain book; but without

a good index such a recollection may hardly be more available than

that of the cabin boy,who knew

where the ship’s tea kettle was because he saw it fall overboard.‖

-Horace Binney

96. Pulitzer Prize

Annual prizes for journalism,

literature, and music, awarded

annually since 1917 by the

School of Journalism and the

Board of Trustees of Columbia

University. The prizes are

supported by a bequest from

Joseph Pulitzer.

96. Pulitzer Prize

96. Pulitzer Prize Margaret Mitchell 1937 Gone with the Wind John Steinbeck 1940 Grapes of Wrath

Margaret Mitchell 1937

Gone with the Wind

96. Pulitzer Prize Margaret Mitchell 1937 Gone with the Wind John Steinbeck 1940 Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck 1940

Grapes of Wrath

97. quatrain

A stanza of four lines. Robert

Frost’s ―In a Disused

Graveyard‖ consists of four

quatrains, in iambic tetrameter,

each in a different rhyme


97. quatrain

98. Realism

Realism is, in the broadest literary sense, fidelity to actuality in its representation; a term loosely synonymous with


sense it has been a significant

element in almost every school

of writing.

98. Realism

99. refrain

One or more words repeated at

intervals in a poem, usually at

the end of a stanza. The most

regular is the use of the same

line at the close of each stanza

(as is common in BALLAD).

99. refrain

100. Renaissance

• This word, meaning ―rebirth,‖ is

commonly applied to the period of

transition from the medieval to the

modern world in Western Europe.

100. Renaissance

Commonwealth Interregnum (1649-


Early Tudor Age (c. 1500-1557),

Elizabethan Age (1558-1603),

Jacobean Age (1603-1625),

Caroline Age (1625-1642)

100. Renaissance

―The oldest books are only just

out to those who have not read


-Samuel Butler

101. requiem

A chant embodying a preayer

for the repse of the dead’ a

dirge; a solemn mass beginning as in Requiem aeternam dona eis, Donime. In our time the word has been broadened to

mean almost anything sad.

101. requiem

107. resolution (as in plot)

The events following the

CLIMAX. Synonym for


Shows what is resolved in the

end of a work.

107. resolution (as in plot)

102. rhyme scheme

The pattern in which RHYME sounds occur in a stanza. Rhyme schemes, for the purpose of analysis, are usually presented by the assignment of the same letter of the alphabet

to each similar sound in a


102. rhyme scheme

103. rhythm (as in poetry)

The passage of regular or

approximately equivalent time

intervals between definite

events or the recurrence of

specific sound or kinds of


103. rhythm (as in poetry)

104. rising action

The part of a dramatic PLOT that has

to do with the COMPLICATION of

the action. It begins with the


interest and power as the opposing

groups come into CONFILICT (the

hero usually being in the ascendancy),

and proceeds to the CLIMAX.

104. rising action (cont.)

104. rising action (cont.)

105. romance

The term romance has had

special meanings as a kind of

fiction since the early years of

the novel.

105. romance

―What one knows best is…what one

has learned not from books but as a result of books, through the

reflections to which they have given



106. Romanticism

The freeing of the artist and writer

from restraints and rules and

suggesting that phase of individualism

marked by the encouragement of

revolutionary political ideas. The

term designates a literary and

philosophical theory…

106. Romanticism

that tends to see the individual

at the center of all life, and it

places the individual, therefore,

at the center of art, making

literature valuable as an

expression of unique feelings

and particular attitudes.

106. Romanticism — William Worsdworth

106. RomanticismWilliam


round character

A round character is a major

character in a work of fiction

who encounters conflict and is

changed by it. Round characters

tend to be more fully developed

and described than flat, or

minor characters.

round characterChief Bromden

round character — Chief Bromden

108. satire

A work or manner that blends a

censorious attitude with humor and

wit for improving human institutions

or humanity. In America, Eugene…

the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

108. satire

• O’Neill, Edith Wharton,

Sinclair Lewis, George

Kaufman and Moss Hart, John

P. Marquand, and Joseph Heller

have commented satirically on

human beings and their

institutions. Two major types:


108. satire

108. satire

108. satire

109. scansion

A system for describing

conventional rhythms by

dividing lines into FEET,

indicating the locations of

binomial ACCENTS, and

counting the syllables.

109. scansion

110. schema

The mental connections made

in the mindwhat controls

learning and behavior.

Psychologically, that which

fascinates and compels.


schema (cont.)

110. schema (cont.) Laurence Fishburne from Othello

Laurence Fishburne from Othello

―The easiest books are

generally the best, for whatever

author is obscure and difficult in his own language certainly

does not think clearly.‖

-Lord Chesterfield

  • 111. science fiction

A form of fantasy in which scientific facts, assumptions, or

hypotheses form the basis, by logical extrapolation, of adventures in the future, on other planets in other

dimensions in time or space, or

under new variants of scientific


  • 111. science fiction

111. science fiction Alien vs. Predator

Alien vs. Predator

  • 111. science fiction

111. science fiction Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

112. semantics

The study of meaning;

sometimes limited to linguistic

meaning; and sometimes used

to discriminate between surface

and substance.

112. semantics



112. semantics Michel Foucault

113. semiotics

The study of the rules that enable

social phenomena, considered as

SIGNS, to have meaning. When

semiotics is used in literary

criticism, it deals not with the

simple relation…

113. semiotics

• …between sign and

significance, but with literary

conventions, such as those of

prosody, genre, or received

interpretations of literary

devices at particular times.

113. semiotics

Jacques Derrida

113. semiotics Jacques Derrida

114. Sentimentalism

The term is used in two senses:

(1) an overindulgence in

emotion, especially the conscious effort to induce emotion in order to enjoy it; (2) an optimistic overemphasis of

the goodness of humanity


114. Sentimentalism

115. Shakespearean Sonnet


rhyming abab cdcd efef gg. It is

called the Shakespearean

sonnet because Shakespeare

was its most distinguished


115. Shakespearean Sonnet

―Let us answer a book of ink

with a book of flesh and blood.‖

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

116. short story

A short story is a relatively

brief fictional NARATIVE in

PROSE, it may range in length

from the SHORT-SHORT

STORY of 500 words up the

the ―long-short story‖ of 12,000

to 15,000 words.

116. short story

117. sonnet A poem almost invariable of

fourteen lines and following

one of several set rhyme

schemes. The two basic sonnet

types are the ITALIAN or





117. sonnet

Petrarch 117. sonnet

118. stage directions

Material that an author, editor, prompter, performer, or other

person adds to a text to indicate

movement, attitude, manner,

style, or quality of a speech,

character, or action.

Some of

the simplest and oldest are

―enter,‖ ―exit‖ or ―exeunt,‖ and


118. stage directions

119. static character

A character who changes little

if at all. Things happen to the

static characters without

modifying their interior selves.

Opposite of dynamic.

119. static character

119. static character Henry Higgins

Henry Higgins

120. stanza A recurrent grouping of two or

more verse lines in terms of

length, metrical form, and, often,

rhyme scheme. However, the

division into stanzas is sometimes

mad according to thought as well

as form, in which case the stanza

is a unit like a prose paragraph.

120. stanza

―I don’t like to read books; they

muss up my mind.‖

-Henry Ford

121. stock character

Conventional character types. A

high-thinking vengeance-

seeking hero, disguised

romantic heroine, melancholy

man, a court fool, and a witty

clownish servant are examples.

121. stock character

• Eliot's ―Gerontion‖ is a

gerontionthe world itself is

the name of a favorite stock

character of Greek (and later)

comedy: the geezer, codger,

―little old man.‖

121. stock character


Robinson in

To Kill a


121. stock character Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird

122. Stream of Consciousness

The total range of awareness

and emotive-mental response of

an individual, form the lowest

prespeech level to the highest

fully articulated level of rational


122. Stream of Consciousness

122. Stream of Consciousness James Joyce

James Joyce

123. Surrealism

A movement in art emphasizing

the expression of the

imagination as realized in

dreams and presented without

conscious control.

123. Surrealism



123. Surrealism William Burroughs

124. symbolism

In its broad sense symbolism is the use of one object to represent or suggest

another; or, in literature, the serious and extensive use of SYMBOLS. Men = people in world; Nurse = oppression; Chief = oppressed peoples; McMurphy = change, hope, awareness; Control panel = ???; Ward = society; Monopoly = men’s attempt to control something

124. symbolism

125. symposium

• A Greek world meaning ―a

drinking together‖ or banquet.

The world later came to mean

discussion by different persons

of a single topic or a collection

of speeches or essays on a given


125. symposium

―One always tends to

overpraise a long book, because

one has got through it.‖

-E.M. Forster

126. synopsis

A summary of the main points

of a composition so made as to

show the relation of parts to the

whole; an ABSTIACT. A

synopsis is usually more

connected than an outline,

because it is likely to be given

in complete sentences.

126. synopsis

127. syntax

Syntax is the rule-governed

arrangement of worlds in

sentences. Syntax seems to be

that level of language that most

distinguishes poetry from prose.

127. syntax

128. tall tale

A kind of humorous tale,

common on the American

frontier, that uses realistic detail

a literal manner, and common

speech to recount extravagantly

impossible happenings, usually

resulting form the superhuman

abilities of a character.

128. tall tale

128. tall tale Pecos Bill and Slue-Foot Sue

Pecos Bill and Slue-Foot Sue

128. tall tale

128. tall tale John Henry

John Henry

  • 129. Theatre of the Absurd

A term invented by Martin

Esslin for the kind of drama that

presents a view of the absurdity

of the human condition by

abandoning of usual or rational

devices and by the used of

nonrealistic form.

129. Theatre of the Absurd

It expounds and existential

ideology and views its task as

essentially metaphysical. The

most widely acclaimed play of

the school is Samuel Beckett’s

Waiting for Godot (1953).

  • 129. Theatre of the Absurd

129. Theatre of the Absurd Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett

129. Theatre of the Absurd Samuel Beckett

130. theme

A central idea. Both theme and

thesis imply a subject and a

predicate of some kindnot

just vice in general, say, but

some such proposition as ―Vice

seems more interesting than

virtue but turns out to be


130. theme

―All good books are alike in

that they are truer than if they

had really happened.‖

-Ernest Hemingway

131. thesis

An attitude or position on a

problem taken by a writer or

speaker with the purpose of

proving or supporting it. The

term is also used for the paper

written to support the thesis.

131. thesis

132. tone

Tome has been used for the attitudes toward the subject and

toward the audience implied in literary work. Tone may be

formal, informal, intimate,

solemn, sombre, playful,

serious, ironic, condescending,

or many another possible


132. tone

133. tour de force

A feat of strength and

virtuosity. Tour de force is

used in criticism to refer to

works that make outstanding

demonstrations of skill.

133. tour de force

134. tragedy

A term with many meanings and

applications. In drama it refers to a

particular kind of play, the

definition of which was established

by Aristotle’s Poetics, in narrative,

particularly in Middle Ages, it

refers to a body of work recounting

the fall of a persons of high degree.

134. tragedy

135. tragic flaw

The theory that there is a flaw in the tragic hero that causes his

or her downfall. The theory has been revised or refuted by criticism that considers the supposed flaw as an integral

and even defining part to the

protagonist's character.

135. tragic flaw

―I do not read a book: I hold a

conversation with the author.‖

-Elbert Hubbard

136. Transcendentalism

A reliance of the intuition and the

conscience, a form of idealism; a

philosophical ROMANTICISM

reaching America a generation or


136. Transcendentalism

• …after it developed in Europe.

Transcendentalists believed in

living close to nature and taught

the dignity of manual labor and

in democracy and


136. Transcendentalism

136. Transcendentalism Thomas Cole The Voyage of Life: Youth 1842

Thomas Cole

The Voyage of Life: Youth


136. Transcendentalism

136. Transcendentalism Henry David Thoreau Ralph Waldo Emerson
136. Transcendentalism Henry David Thoreau Ralph Waldo Emerson

Henry David Thoreau

Ralph Waldo Emerson

137. trope

In rhetoric a trope is a FIGURE

OF SPEECH involving a ―turn‖

or change of sensethe use of

a word in a sense other than the

literal; in this sense figures of

comparison as well as ironical

expressions are tropes.

137. trope

Example of irony

137. trope

Example of irony

138. utopia

A fiction describing an imaginary ideal world.

DYSTOPIA, meaning ―bad place,‖ is the term applied to

unpleasant imaginary places,

such as those in Aldous

Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984.

138. utopia

138. utopia Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

139. verse (as in poetry)

Used in two senses: (1) as a unit

of poetry, in which case it has

the same significance as

STANZA or LINE; and (2) as a

name given generally to

metrical composition.

139. verse (as in poetry)

139. verse (as in poetry) Robert Lowell

Robert Lowell

139. verse (as in poetry) Robert Lowell

Sylvia Plath

140. vignette

A SKETCH or brief narrative

characterized by precision and

delicacy. The term is also

applied to SHORT-SHORT

STORIES less than 500 words

in length.

140. vignette

140. vignette Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros

―Books are a narcotic.‖

-Franz Kafka