short narrative or reference that serves to teach by way of example--especially a short story embedded in a longer sermon. An exemplum teaches by providing an exemplar, a model of behavior that the reader should imitate, or by providing an example of bad behavior that the reader should avoid.
Example: The Pardoner's Tale. The story of the treasure finders who murder each other. A moral tale to warn against the villainy of greed.
repetition of initial consonant sounds
Example: ."Sinews split and the bone-lappings burst" (Beowulf 816-817)
author and authorship
author: individual who purposefully creates through imaginative and intellectual powers a literary work which is his own
authorship: the set of attributes possessed by an author. many argue that this is a loosely defined cultural construct.
Example: Chaucer is the author of the Canterbury Tales. Our notion of his authorship is shaped by his authorial voice as an unreliable narrator, the playful pilgrim named Geoffrey, is distinct from the actual author of the Canterbury Tales.
refers to a style of heroic prose and verse narrative that was particularly current in aristocratic literature of Medieval and Early Modern Europe, that narrated fantastic stories about the marvellous adventures of a chivalrous, heroic knight, often of super-human ability, who goes on a quest
The epic of Beowulf is a chilvalric romance; BEowulf being the heroic knight who goes on a quest in killing Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon. Supernatural elements. The story element missing is his winning the affections of a beautiful woman at the end, but neverthless it is a chivalric romance.
courtly love (ennobling love)
The conventions of courtly love are that a knight of noble blood would adore and worship a young noble-woman from afar, seeking to protect her honor and win her favor by valorous deeds. He typically falls ill with love-sickness, while the woman chastely or scornfully rejects or refuses his advances in public but privately encourages him. Courtly love was associated with (A) nobility, since no peasants can engage in "fine love"; (B) secrecy; (C) adultery, since often the one or both participants were married to another noble who was unloved; and (D) paradoxically with chastity, since the passion should never be consummated due to social circumstances, thus it was a "higher love" unsullied by selfish carnal desires or political concerns of arranged marriages
Example: the miller's tale of the carpenter, alisoun, absalon and nicholas parodies the courtly love of the preceding Knight's Tale, by perverting these elements into lewd farce.
A poem in which a poetic speaker addresses either the reader or an internal listener at length
Example: the wife of bath's prologue, or the general prologue. basically any of the prologues in the canterbury tales that justify the tale, address the reader directly. Wife of bath does this by explaining herself and defining her identity, speaking directly to auditors and using collective "we" when referring to "we wives".
It is a poem that is (a) a long narrative about a serious subject, (b) told in an elevated style of language, (c) focused on the exploits of a hero or demi-god who represents the cultural values of a race, nation, or religious group (d) in which the hero's success or failure will determine the fate of that people or nation. Usually, the epic has (e) a vast setting, and covers a wide geographic area, (f) it contains superhuman feats of strength or military prowess, and gods or supernatural beings frequently take part in the action. The poem begins with (g) the invocation of a muse to inspire the poet and, (h) the narrative starts in medias res (see above). (i) The epic contains long catalogs of heroes or important characters, focusing on highborn kings and great warriors rather than peasants and commoners.
Example: Beowulf is an epic poem. long narrative about a serious subject, focused on BEowulf's heroic exploits, his success or failure in fighting dragons will determine future of the GEats. Focuses on kings and warriors, not peasants.
A humorous, frequently ribald or "dirty" narrative popular with French poets, who traditionally wrote the story in octosyllabic couplets. The tales frequently revolve around trickery, practical jokes, sexual mishaps, scatology, mistaken identity, and bodily humor.
Example: The Miller's tale
A type or category of literature or film marked by certain shared features or conventions.
Example: the genre of the miller's tale is fabliau; the genre of the pardoner's tale is exemplem.
writer uses a statement in the negative to create the opposite effect of exaggeration
Example: Beowulf -- "That edge was not useless to the warrior now." Meaning - it was useful. It was very useful! Uses a double negative in order to understate the meaning.
using words to convey a meaning that is opposite of its actual meaning. Could also be dramatic/tragic irony, when the readers know something the character does not
Example: The Pardoner's Tale: the two friends plan to kill their third friend who went into town when he gets back, and that friend poisons the wine to kill the other two. Readers know both parties are trying to kill each other, but the characters do not. When the one comes back with wine, the other two kill him, then drink the poisoned wine and die themselves.
when the audience or readers know something that a character doesn't, and the character's lack of knowledge leads them to a tragic end like death
Example: The Pardoner's Tale
lai (Breton lai)
A short narrative or lyrical poem, usually in octosyllabic couplets, intended to be sung. The main traits individual lais have in common with each other is a particular geographic origin and self-identification as being a lai. Geographically, they are based on older Celtic legends imported to northwestern France by the Bretons. Quest narrative w/ magical encounters
Example: Wife of Bath's Tale. King ARthur's Court, knight. The old woman possesses magical powers to turn herself into a young beautiful woman -- fantastical elements.
associated with courtly love, a medieval poem pertaining to the upper classes
Example: knight's tale in canterbury tales
associated with middle classes
associated with lower classes, raunchy and lewd humor
example: miller's tale in canterbury tales
meter -- accentual verse
A recognizable though varying pattern of stressed syllables alternating with syllables of less stress. Accentual verse has a fixed number of stresses per line or stanza regardless of the number of syllables that are present. It is common in languages that are stress-timed, such as English.
Example: Whan that aprill with his shoures soote/ the droghte of March hath perced to the roote
Iambic (the noun is "iamb" or "iambus"): a lightly stressed syllable followed by a heavily stressed syllable.
Example: Whan that aprill with his shores soote/the droghte of March hath perced to the roote
Example: In Beowulf, the song that the minstel sings of Hildeburh and Finn is oral poetry.
the anglo-saxon language spoken in what is now england from approximately 450 to 1150 AD
Example: Beowulf is written in Old English
The language spoken in England roughly between 1150 and 1500 A.D.
Example: Canterbury Tales is written in Middle English
The dialect of Norman French that developed in England after William the First conquered England. Some aspects of Canterbury TAles relate to this dialect. "Fine amour" and "fablieu" are part of French influence in the work.
An external representation of oneself which might or might not accurately reflect one's inner self, or an external representation of oneself that might be largely accurate, but involves exaggerating certain characteristics and minimizing others
Example: Geoffrey Chaucer's narrator in the Canterbury Tales -- presents himself as dumb, poetically inept.
implied auditor/implied author
The "you" a writer or poet refers to or implies when creating a dramatic monologue. This implied audience might be (but is not necessarily) the reader of the poem, or it might be the vague outline or suggestion of an extra character who is not described or detailed explicitly in the text itself
Example: the implied audience of the Wife of Bath's prologue is the other pilgrims
implied author: The distinction from the author lies in that the implied author consists solely of what can be deduced from the work. The implications of the work may paint a rather different picture of the author than might be deduced from their real life
Example: the implied author of Canterbury tales is what we can deduce about Chaucer himself (not the narrator) from the work alone
narrative or drama should distribute rewards and punishments proportionately to the virtues and villainies of each character in the story
Example: Poetic justice for Nicholas in The Miller's Tale. Poetic justice for the evil Grendel.
a narrator whose account of events appears to be faulty, misleadingly biased, or otherwise distorted
Example: Chaucer's narrator in Canterbury Tales
Canterbury tales rhymes.
The result of inserting one or more small stories within the body of a larger story that encompasses the smaller ones. Often this term is used interchangeably with both the literary technique and the larger story itself that contains the smaller ones, which are called pericopes, "framed narratives" or "embedded narratives." The most famous example is Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, in which the overarching frame narrative is the story of a band of pilgrims traveling to the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. The band passes the time in a storytelling contest. The framed narratives are the individual stories told by the pilgrims who participate.
The king of the Danes. Hrothgar enjoys military success and prosperity until Grendel terrorizes his realm. A wise and aged ruler, Hrothgar represents a different kind of leadership from that exhibited by the youthful warrior Beowulf. He is a father figure to Beowulf and a model for the kind of king that Beowulf becomes.
Hrothgar's wife, queen of the Danes
A figure from Norse mythology, famous for slaying a dragon. Sigemund's story is told in praise of Beowulf and foreshadows Beowulf's encounter with the dragon.
An evil king of legend. The scop, or bard, at Heorot discusses King Heremod as a figure who contrasts greatly with Beowulf.
A wicked queen of legend who punishes anyone who looks at her the wrong way. Modthryth's story is told in order to contrast her cruelty with Hygd's gentle and reasonable behavior.
Beowulf's uncle, king of the Geats, and husband of Hygd. Hygelac heartily welcomes Beowulf back from Denmark.
Wiglaf, one of Beowulf's kinsmen and thanes, is the only warrior brave enough to help the hero in his fight against the dragon. Wiglaf conforms perfectly to the heroic code in that he is willing to die attempting to defeat the opponent and, more importantly, to save his lord. In this regard, Wiglaf appears as a reflection of the young Beowulf in the first part of the story—a warrior who is strong, fearless, valiant, and loyal. He embodies Beowulf's statement from the early scenes of the poem that it is always better to act than to grieve. Wiglaf thus represents the next generation of heroism and the future of the kingdom. His bravery and solid bearing provide the single glint of optimism in the final part of the story, which, for the most part, is dominated by a tone of despair at what the future holds.
Renaissance (early modern)
came to england in the late sixteenth century, flowered during the Elizabethan and Jacobean age. Revival of the classics. Humanism. Flourishing of art and literature. Spenser and Donne are English Renaissance authors. Even Milton could be considered "last great Renaissance poet"
1558-1603. During reign of Queen Elizabeth. Time of English expansion, development of English commerce and trade, defeat of the Spanish Armada. Strong nationalism
Example: The Faerie Queene published in 1590. A tribute to Queen Elizabeth and her court.
1603-1625. Jacob I reign.
Example: John Donne's sermons, sonnets and poetry
1649-1660 Interregnum. England ruled by Parliament under Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell. Less literary development under moral and religious Puritan rule. Ended with REsortation of the Stewart monarchy in the person of Charles II
Example: John Milton's political tracts, earlier writings such as Lycidas, Areopagitica, poems. Milton "last great Renaissance poet"
1660-1700. Urbanity, wit and licentiousness of the court compared to previous Puritan age is reflected in the literature. Revival of theater, satire.
Example: Paradise Lost published in 1667
neoclassicism. Originally Virgil, Horace, Ovid under Roman emperor Augustus. Writers such as Pope, swift, Addison admired the style and imitated literary forms and subjects--emphasis on social concerns, moderation, decorum, and urbanity.
Example: Tom Jones published 1749 (Fielding's earlier writings)
1483-1546 led by Martin Luther. Early Protestantism grounded on individual's experience of spiritual struggle and salvation. Birth of protestantism, split of Church of England from Catholic Church--Queen Elizabeth I -- Edmund Spenser.
employs terminology and abstruse arguments of the medieval Scholastic philosophers. Revival of scholasticism. Sharply opposed to rich mellifluousness and the idealized view of human nature and sexual love which had constituted a central tradition of Elizabethan poetry. Diction and meter more like actual speech. Realistic, ironic, witty. Donne's poetry set the metaphysical mode and tradition
intellectual movement and cultural ambiance of Western Europe during seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Common element was trust in a universal human reason as adequate to solve crucial problems. Bacon through Locke. Tom Jones deals was written at the height of the Enlightenment in England and reflects an Enlightenment preoccupation with reason in its aim to explore the theme of human nature and examine people's rational decisions
strong traditionalism, great respect for classical writers of ancient Greece and Rome. Tom Jones when Fielding talks about Zephyrus, etc. when describing Sophia Western. Milton writing in epic poem form as classical poets did -- invoking the muse---Homer, Vergil, etc.
author and authorship
author -- the individual who uses imagination to construct a work of literature
authorship -- set of attributes possessed by an author
the first person speaker who tells the story in a narrative poem or novel, or whose voice we hear in a lyric poem. Example: visionary first person narrator of John Milton's Paradise Lost, Chaucer's Geoffrey the pilgrim narrator, naive personality. Tom Jones -- persona perhaps intended to be closer to the actual author Jones. Sarcastic, witty and provocative of readers. Presents himself as a restaurateur at the beginning of Book I
an ideal, literary created vision of the real man" -- although related to the actual author, nonetheless part of a total fiction, whom the author gradually brings into being in the cousre of his composition, and who plays an important role in the overall effect on the reader. Implied author of Tom Jones is our idealized notion of Fielding as he carefully presents himself, especially in the prologue chapters of the novel. Implied author of Paradise Lost is Milton invoked the muse -- our idea of him
burlesque/ high burlesque
an incongruous imitation--imitates the manner (form and style) or subject matter of a serious work or literary genre but makes the imitation amusing by a ridiculous disparity in the manner and the matter. Usually a form of satire. Parody imitates the serious manner and characteristic features of a particular literary work. Examples: The Miller's Tale parodies a courtly romance in subject matter in Canterbury tales. Or, the scene in which Tom and Mrs. Waters dine together at the inn at Upton -- language of heroic deeds, high style, even though he is just describing two people eating.
type of parody which imitates in a sustained way both the elaborate form and the ceremonial style of the epic genre, but applies it to a commonplace or trivial subject matter. The Flea by John Donne -- subject matter inconsistent with heroic style
Beowulf, Paradise Lost. Heroic Poem. elevated formal style. in media res. extraordinary deeds in battle. supernatural forces.
statement, whether in verse or prose, which is terse, pointed and witty. Practiced by John Donne
formal, sustained similes in which the secondary subject, or vehicle, is elaborated far beyond its points of close parallel to the primary subject, or tenor. Example: Milton describes the fallen angels by an elaborate comparison to a swarming of bees. Or, in beowulf, sustained metaphor
any fairly short poem, uttered by a single speaker, who expresses a state of mind or a process of perception, thought or feeling. Donne or Spenser
lyric poem consisting of a single stanza of fourteen iambic pentameter lines linked by an intricate rhyme scheme. Donne or spenser
spenser linked each quatrain to the next by a continuing rhyme scheme: abab bcbc cdcd ee.
sonnet cycle/ sonnet sequence
series of sonnets are linked together by exploring the varied aspects of a relationship between lovers, or else by indicating a development in the relationship that constitutes a kind of implicit plot. Example: Spenser Amioretti or Donne La Corona
a stanza with eight lines of iambic pentameter and a concluding Alexandrine with the rhyme pattern abab bcbc c. uses this in the faerie queene. very difficult
the character of the speaker is that of an urbane, witty and tolerant man of the world, who is moved more often to wry amusement than to indignation at the spectacle of human folly. Examples: Chaucer and Fielding's narrators
the character of the speaker is that of a serious moralist who uses a dignified and public style of utterance to decry modes of vice and error which are no less dangerous because they are ridiculous. Example: Man of the Hill in TJ
iambic verses are composed if iambic feet. The iambic foot is disyllabic. Iambics are generally used in groups of five, or pentameters, usually without rhyme, when they constitute ' heroic blank verse'. When rhyming in couplets they are 'rhyming heroics'.
(prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse
figure used in love poems which had been novel and effective in the Italian poet Petrarch, but became hackneyed in some of his imitators, the Elizabethan sonneteers. Consists of detailed, ingenious, and often exaggerated comparisons applied to the disdainful mistress, cold as she is beautiful, and distress of lover. Spenser sonnets
unknotting of the plot. Tom Jones revealing Bridget Allworthy's son. the
characteristic figure in John Donne and other metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century. Valediction: a forebidding morning, comparing the relationship between his lady's soul and a compass
idea of beauty absolute, separate, simple, and everlasting. True beauty of the body is only the outer manifestation of a moral and spiritual beauty of the soul, which in turn is rayed out from the absolute beauty of God. Examples: Spenser's Amoretti. Adam and Eve's love in PL prelapsarian is ultimate example of Platonic love.
reversal and discovery
Reversal is a change in the protagonist's fortune which is usually brought about by a discovery, the recognition by the protagonist of something of great importance hitherto unknown to him or her. Tom Jones
A novel composed wholly or primarily of letters. Unfolds through the written documents passed from person to person.