Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Literary Terminology List


The following is a list of terms used in Literature along with definitions. The list is by no means comprehensive.







Literary Terms List

1) poetry: a literary genre characterized by rhythmical patterns of language (meter, rhyme, stanza, etc…)
2) prose: non-verse writing (anything that isn’t poetry)
3) stanza: grouped set of lines within a poem, usually set off from other stanzas by a blank line
4) rhythm: A measured pattern of words These patterns are created in verse or prose by use of stressed and unstressed syllables
5) metaphor: a comparison between two unlike things without using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’
6) simile: a comparison between two unlike things using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’
7) hyperbole: he use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device to overemphasize a statement to produce a greater effect
8) personification: a literary devices where human characteristics are attached to inanimate objects, phenomena or animals
9) alliteration: a literary device where words are used in quick succession and begin with letters belonging to the same sound group (either vowels or consonants)
10) assonance: repetition of sounds produced by vowels within a sentence or phrase
11) internal rhyme: rhyme that occurs within a single line of verse (poetry) (eg. “We were the first that ever burst.”)
12) end rhyme: rhyme between line ending
13) free verse: form of poetry which has no fixed meter or rhyme patterns
14) blank verse: form of poetry written with regular meter but without rhyme
15) sonnet: 14 line poem written in iambic pentameter with 2 stanzas (an octave followed by a septet) in abba, abba, cdecde or cdcdcd rhythmic pattern
16) Shakespearean sonnet: 14- line poem written in iambic pentameter, with 3 quatrains and a couplet in abab, cdcd, efef, gg rhythmic pattern
17) foot: a unit of stressed and unstressed syllables
18) iamb: a foot consisting of an unstressed (less stressed) syllable followed by a stressed syllable
19) meter: pattern of stressed syllables alternating with syllables of less stress (unstressed) in poetry
a. monometer: a line of poetry with 1 foot
b. dimeter: a line of poetry with 2 feet
c. trimeter: a line of poetry with 3 feet
d. tetrameter: a line of poetry with 4 feet
e. pentameter: a line of poetry with 5 feet
20) iambic: adjective describing a foot of 1 unstressed + 1 stressed syllables
a. trochaic: adjective describing a foot of 1 stressed + 1 unstressed syllables
b. anapestic: adjective describing a foot of 2 unstressed + 1 stressed syllables
c. dactylic: adjective describing a foot of 2 stressed + 1 unstressed syllables
21) couplet: 2 lines of poetry usually with rhyming ends and that have the same meter
a. tercet: 3 lines of poetry forming a stanza or complete poem
b. quatrain: 4 lines of poetry forming a stanza or complete poem
c. quintain: 5 lines of poetry forming a stanza or complete poem
22) literally: in the strict sense of a word, without exaggeration or metaphorical meaning
23) scansion: method or practice of determining and  representing the meter of a line of poetry (stressed/unstressed syllables)
24) ambiguity: an idea or situation that can be understood in more than one way
25) carpe diem: Latin aphorism (expression) translated to "seize the day"
26) catharsis: refers to a literary theory first developed by Aristotle, who believed that cleansing our emotions was the purpose of a good story, especially a tragedy. Catharsis applies to any form of art or media that makes us feel strong negative emotions which are purged as a result of feeling them
27) classic
         a) relating to Greek and Roman antiquity, especially with reference to literature and art
b) serving as a standard, model, or guide
28) deus ex machina: (Latin for “a god from the machine.”) A plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the inspired and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object
29) explication: interpretation of a text based on detailed yet relatively objective examination of structure, style, imagery, and other aspects of a work
30) genre: type or category of literature or film marked by certain shared features or conventions
31) in medias res: (“in the middle of things”) literary device where a text opens in the midst of the action without an exposition (which gives background information eg. setting, characters, plot)
32) pathos: an appeal to the emotions of the audience to elicit feelings (evoking a feeling of pity, or of sympathetic and kindly sorrow or compassion)
33) propaganda: information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation,
34) Realism: a theory of writing in which the ordinary, familiar, or mundane aspects of life are represented in a straightforward or matter-of-fact manner that is presumed to reflect life as it actually is (the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality)
35) Idealism: treatment of subject matter in a work of art in which beauty or form are stressed, characterized usually by the selection of particular features based on a standard of perfection
36) Romanticism: an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement emphasizing intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe. This style of literature encourages freedom of treatment, emphasizes imagination, emotion, and introspection, and often celebrates nature, the ordinary person, and freedom of the spirit
37) stereotype: any thought widely adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of behaving intended to represent the entire group of those individuals
38) tragic flaw: the character defect that causes the downfall of the protagonist of a tragedy (aka. hamartia)
39) Nobel Prize: set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural or scientific advances
40) Pulitzer Prize: an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the US
41) suspension of disbelief: a willingness to suspend one's critical abilities and believe something surreal; the sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment

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