A line of iambic hexameter. The final line of a Spenserian stanza is an alexandrine.
Example: Alexander Pope's "Essay on Criticism"
Attributing human characteristics to plants or animals; differs from personification in that it is an intrinsic premise or major theme of the work.
Examples: Orwell's "Animal Farm," Aslan in Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," the Greek god Zeus
A speech addressed to someone not present, or to an abstraction. Its innate grandiosity lends itself well to parody.
Example: John Donne, 'The Sun Rising,' : "Busy old fool, unruly sun/ Why dost thou thus,/ Through windows, and curtains call..."
A German term, meaning "novel of education." Typically follows a young person over a period of years, from naivete and inexperience to the first struggles with a harsher adult reality.
Examples: Joyce, "Portrait of An Artist as a Young Man"; Salinger, "The Catcher in the Rye"
A break in the line of poetry, originated in Old English Verse.
Example: Virgil, the Aeneid: "I sing of arms and the man//who first from the shores of Troy..."
One of the Neoclassical periods of drama; the relation of style to content in the speech of dramatic characters. Characters' speech should match their social station.
Example: Wilde's characters in "the Importance of Being Earnest"
Derogatory term used to describe poorly written poetry of little or no literary value.
Example: Shakespeare used doggerel in dialogue between the Dromio twins in 'The Comedy of Erros' for comedic effect.
A work, especially a poem, written to celebrate a wedding.
Example: Edmund Spenser's "Epithalamium"
Feminine vs. Masculine Rhyme
Feminine Rhyme follows the abab rhyme scheme, while Masculine follows aabbcc. Proper feminine rhyme had penultimate syllables stresses and final unstressed.
Example of Feminine: Shakespeare, Sonnet 20, "a woman's face with nature's own hand."
Example of Masculine: Frost, "Stopping by woods on a Snowy Evening"
Poetry dealing with people laboring in the countryside, pushing plows, raising crops, etc. Less idyllic than a pastoral.
Example: Virgil's 'Georgics'
Aristotle's term for what is properly called the "tragic flaw." Implies fate, whereas tragic flaw implies an inherent psychological issue.
Example: Oedipus' hamartia is a hasty temper; Macbeth's hamartia is a lust for power.
A repeated descriptive phrase that is attached to a character or object. Found in Homer's epics.
Examples: "rosy-fingered dawn," "the ever-resourceful Odysseus"
Term derived from Samuel Butler's "Hudibras." Generally, any deliberate, humorous, ill-rhymed couplets.
An understatement created through the use of a double negative, used for rhetorical effect.
Examples: "not unattractive"/ "no ordinary city"
A phrase that refers to a person or object by a single important feature it is associated with.
Examples: "Hollywood" for US Cinema, "The pen is mightier than the sword" (pen=words, sword=violence)
Principles of dramatic structure derived from Aristotle's "Poetics." Re-emerged during the Neoclassical movement in the 17th and 18th centuries. The essential units are time, place, and action.
Time: work should span only one day
Place: work should have one locale
Action: work should have only one plot, no subplots
Poem that is a lament for the dead (elegy) sung by a shepherd, who stands in for the author to give an elegy to another poet.
Example: Milton, "Lycidas," Shelley's "Adonis" (written for Keats)
Coined by John Ruskin. Ascribing emotion and agency to inanimate objects.
Example: "The cruel crawling foam."
A novel, typically constructed along an incident to incident basis, that follows the adventures of a more or less scurrilous rogue whose primary concerns are finding food and staying out of jail.
Examples: Twain, "Huck Finn," Defoe, "Moll Flanders" (rare female example)
Humorous poetry using very short, rhymed lines and a pronounced rhythm. Popularized by John Skelton. Differs from doggerel in quality of expressed thought.
Examples: Skelton, "How the Doughty Duke of Albany"
Created and used in the 1800s by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Fits a varying number of unstressed syllables into a line. Only the stressed syllables cound in scansion.
Example: Hopkins, "Pied Beauty"
Phrases that suggest the interplay of the senses.
Examples: "hot pink," "golden tones," Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale"
Refers to a person or object by a part only or vise-versa.
Examples: "All hands on deck!"; Eliot's 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,' "I should have been a pair of ragged claws" stands in for wanting to be a crab/crawling creature