AP Lit Terms

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Free Verse

unrhymed poetry with lines of varying lengths containing no specific metrical pattern.

Farce

A type of comedy based on a humorous situation. Only this situation provides humor, not the characters nor the clever plot lines.

Euphemism

A mild word or phrase which substitutes for another which would be undesirable because it is too direct, unpleasant or offensive.

Epigraph

A brief quotation which appears at the beginning of a literary work.

concrete poetry

A poem that visually resembles something found in the physical world.

Canto

A subdivision of an epic poem. (aka a chapter)

Blank Verse

A poem written in unrhymed iambic pentameter.

Ballad

A story in poetic form, often about tragic love and usually sung.

Apostrophe

A figure of speech where in the speaker speaks directly to something nonhuman.

Analogue

A comparison between two similar things. In literature, a work with resembles another work either fully or in part.

Ambiguity

A statement which can contain two or more meanings.

Allusion

A reference in one literary work to a character or theme found in another literary work. The bible is the most common text referenced.

Alliteration

Used for poetic effect, a repetition if initial sounds of several words in a group.

Allegory

A story illustrating an idea or a moral principle in which objects take on a symbolic meaning.

Dactyl

In poetry, a metrical pattern consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables.

Anapest

In poetry, a metrical patter consisting of two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable.

Anaphora

A deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive verses, clauses or paragraphs.

Anaphoric reference

A reference backwards in the text. A personal pronoun has anaphoric reference because you have to look back at the text to see what the pronoun is referencing.

Anastrophe

Inversion of the normal syntactic order of words. EX: To market she went.

Archetype

The usage of any object or situation as it was originally made.

Asyndterm

A stylistic scheme in which conjunctions are deliberately omitted from a series of related clauses: Veni, Vidi, Vici, I came, I saw, I conquered.

Caesura

A type of rhetoric in which the second part the syntactically balanced against the first part.

Chiasmus

The use of a longer phrase in place of a possible shorter from the expression.

Circumlocution

A person, scene, event or other elements in literature that fails to correspond with the time of the era in which the work is set.

Anachronism

The works considered most important in a national literature or period.

Canon

A term that describes a line of poetry that ends with a natural pause, often indicate by a mark of punctuation.

End Stop

A sentence containing a deliberate omission of words.

Elliptical construction

As distinguished from Apollonian, the word refers to sensual, pleasure seeking impulses.

Dionysian

A cleansing of the spirit brought about by pity and terror of dramatic comedy.

Catharsis

Inflated, pretentious language used for trivial subjects.

Bombast

The use of insincere or overdone sentimentality.

Bathos

A saying or proverb containing truth based on an experience and often crouched in metaphorical language.

Adage

A poet

Bard

An abbreviated synopsis of a longer work of scholarship research.

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