This phrase (Latin, "from the egg") refers to a narrative that starts "at the beginning" of the plot, and then moves chronologically through a sequence of events to the tale's conclusion. This pattern is the opposite of a tale that begins in medias res, one in which the narrative starts "in the middle of things," well into the middle of the plot, and then proceeds to explain earlier events through the characters' dialogue, memories, or flashbacks.
is a form of extended metaphor in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. In an ** narrative, each character (or, sometimes, object) has both a literal meaning and a consistent metaphorical meaning, and the story proceeds on two levels at once. Thus, when Spenser's Redcross Knight fights with the dragon named Error, we see the battle of a knight and a dragon at the literal level, and a conflict between the (generalized) Christian and the idea of error at the allegorical level. Personification is a crude kind of ** in which abstract qualities are turned into people.
The repetition of consonant sounds in words that are near each other, especially at the beginning of words. It is the sound (not the letter) that is important; therefore 'city' and 'code' do not **, but 'kitchen' and 'code' do. Strictly, it is * when these same sounds come at the start of the words, or at the start of their first stressed syllable; it becomes consonance when the similar sounds are found in other places within the word. Sean O'Brien's use of * in the opening stanzas of 'Reading Stevens in the Bath' has the effect of separating the two rivers. For example, the flow of the phrase "far / from the furnished banks". Anne Ridler's 'Choosing a Name' presents her new-born son "wailing over a world / With walls too wide", the effect of the ** here being to link the wailing with the reason for it. An example of the use of this term is "Sebastian Barker even uses alliteration in the title of 'Holy the Heart on Which we Hang Our Hope.'"
Historically, *** is a characteristic of much Old English verse (such as Beowulf, which includes verses like "feasceaft funden; he þæs frofre gebad, / weox under wolcnum, weorþ-myndum þah," alliterating "f" in the first line and "w" in the second) and some Middle English (such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which begins, "Siþen þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye / The borgh brittened and brent to brondez and askez, / The tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wroght," alliterating "s," "b," and "t" respectively). In verse since the Renaissance it tends to be used less systematically, but it's still common.
reference to a statement, person, place, event, or thing that is known from literature, history, religion, myth, politics, sports, science, the arts.
something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, esp. a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time Analogy a comparison of two or more like objects that suggests if they are alike in certain respects
a recognition or discovery, especially in tragedy - for example, when the hero understands the reason for his or her fall.
Two unaccented syllables followed by an accented one, as in com-pre-HEND or in-ter-VENE. An *** meter rises to the accented beat as in Byron's lines from "The Destruction of Sennacherib" - "And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, / When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee."
repetition of a word or words at the beginning of two or more successive verses, clauses, or sentences.
a brief account of an interesting incident or event that usually is intended to entertain or to make a point
Counterpart to the main character and source of a story's main conflict. The person may not be "bad" or "evil" by any conventional moral standard, but he/she opposes the protagonist in a significant way.
Where animals or inanimate objects are portrayed in a story as people, such as by walking, talking, or being given arms, legs and/or facial features. (This technique is often incorrectly called personification.)
A protagonist who possesses none of the qualities, such as bravery, honestly, and unselfishness, of the traditional hero.
Challenging the traditional conventions surrounding the concept of a narrative, an ** makes use of those conventions to call attention to itself and the practices and modes being used to convey meaning to an audience. Many times ironic, ** implicitly question the validity of conventional narrative logic and the structural aspects and strategies of a narrative in general.
"You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!" Raise your voice--they won't hear you otherwise--"I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!" Maybe they haven't heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell; "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or if you prefer, don't say anything; just hope they'll leave you alone...it's not that you expect anything in particular from this particular book. You're the sort of person who, on principle, no longer expects anything of anything. There are plenty, younger than you or less young, who live in the expectation of extraordinary experiences: from books, from people, from journeys, from events, from what tomorrow has in store. But not you. You know that the best you can expect is to avoid the worst. This is the conclusion you have reached, in your personal life and also in general matters, even international affairs. What about books? Well, precisely because you have denied it in every other field, you believe you may still grant yourself legitimately this youthful pleasure of expectation in a carefully circumscribed area like the field of books, where you can be lucky or unlucky, but the risk of disappointment isn't serious." -Calvino, Italo. If on a winter's night a traveler.
This passage illustrates aspects of "***" in that Calvino is clearly aware of the novelistic conventions he is breaking, not just in his manner of addressing the reader, but in also demonstrating awareness of the reading process and the expectations of the "modern" reader.
A figure of speech in which words and phrases with opposite meanings are balanced against each other. An example of *** is "To err is human, to forgive, divine." (Alexander Pope)
A figure of speech in which someone absent or dead or something nonhuman is addressed as if it were alive and present and could reply
the original model or pattern from which copies are made. It is also a symbol, theme, setting, or character that is thought to have some universal meaning and recurs in different times and places in myth, literature, folklore, dreams, and rituals
implies a humble and constant striving for perfection and self-improvement combined with a realistic awareness that such perfection cannot be reached. As long as an individual strives to do and be the best, that individual has ***. As soon as the individual believes he has actually achieved arête, however, he or she has lost that exalted state and fallen into hubris, unable to recognize personal limitations or the humble need to improve constantly. This leads to overwhelming pride, and this in turn leads to a downfall.
Words spoken by an actor directly to the audience, which are not "heard" by the other characters on stage during a play. In Shakespeare's Othello, Iago voices his inner thoughts a number of times as "***" for the play's audience.
The repetition of vowel sounds in words that are close to each other. Like alliteration, it is the sound rather than the letter used that is important. When the speaker of John Betjeman's 'A Subaltern's Love Song' says "westering, questioning settles the sun / On your low-leaded window", the line is bound up with assonance on the e sound; like the strong alliteration and rhyme throughout, this adds to the jaunty music of the poem. More subtle is Adrienne Rich's use of the technique in the opening of 'For This', where the vowel sounds of "stir the nerves" are woven together with those of "letters from the dead" and "skeletons and petals". An example of how to use this in a commentary would go something like "Charles Tomlinson's poem, 'A Rose for Janet', opens with a sustained display of assonance."
Is the deliberate omission of conjunctions in a series of related clauses. An example is "I came, I saw, I conquered" or "Men, women, children went hurrying down the street."
In the literary analysis of drama, the name given to the intended receiver (i.e. this takes the place of "the reader")
the phrases or clauses balance each other by virtue or their likeness of structure, meaning, or length: e.g., He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.
A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is an example of a ***.
This German word means "a novel of formation": that is, a novel of someone's growth from childhood to maturity. A kind of subset of the ** is the Kunstlerroman, the story of an artist's growth to maturity. Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a famous example of both. It's easy to find examples that don't exactly fit the mold, but still involve elements of the **. About a third of Jane Eyre, for instance, is concerned with her childhood.
A line of poetry or prose in unrhymed iambic pentameter that is close to normal speech (indeed, "the form is one that's close to normal speech" is itself an iambic pentameter) so it gives a subtle pulse to a poem, rather than an obvious shaping as a limerick might. However, there is a tendency in contemporary poetry to use shorter lines, so the form can also sound stately or slow to a modern ear. Shakespeare's sonnets, Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, and Robert Frost's meditative poems such as "Birches" include many lines of ** *. Here are the opening blank verse lines of "Birches" - When I see birches bend to left and right / Across the lines of straighter darker trees, / I like to think some boy's been swinging them. To use this term say something like "Michael Hamburger's 'Ave Atque Vale', which looks at permanence and change, has a base of * ** but makes variations to it."
A person, circumstance, or mentality that prevents two potential lovers from being together romantically.
The spatial grouping and movement of characters on stage. Typically, good *** ensures that all characters are visible to the audience, that the stage is not cluttered with a clump of actors in any one area, and that important action or actors remain positioned in such a way as to emphasize their centrality to the story.
a term for someone who provides amusement through inappropriate appearance and/or behavior. Strictly, a ** describes a "ridiculous, but nevertheless amusing person." In broader terms, a ** is a clown-like, publicly amusing person, such as a court jester.
A strong pause within a line of verse; is often found alongside enjambment. It is often used to alter the rhythm of a poem in order to focus the reader/listener's attention to a particular idea being expressed in the word. A ** is typically recognized with the "em dash", which is two hyphenated lines in succession like this '--' The following stanza from Hardy's "The Man He Killed" contains * in the middle two lines "He thought he'd 'list, perhaps, / Off-hand-like--just as I-- / Was out of work-had sold his traps-- / No other reason why." Similarly, John Mole's 'Coming Home' has a first stanza that sets off in a very steady rhythm, with the first four sentences the same length as the line, and the same length as each other. The fifth sentence is only half-a-line long, and the pause following that full stop creates a * in the line, which draws attention to the important paradox in the fifth line, that "They lie together now. They sleep apart". To use this term say something like "'Walking Wounded', by Vernon Scannell, has its first ** after the word "blood", which sets an ominous note for what will come in the following lines."
A representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.
The section of the play that contains the unknotting of the entanglements of the plot and initiates the denouement or falling action of a play.
Aristotle's term for the purgation or purification of the pity and terror supposedly experienced while witnessing a tragedy.
An imaginary person that inhabits a literary work. Literary ** may be major or minor, static (unchanging) or dynamic (capable of change). In Shakespeare's Othello, Desdemona is a major *, but one who is static, like the minor * Bianca. Othello is a major ** who is dynamic, exhibiting an ability to change.
The means by which writers present and reveal character. Although techniques of *** are complex, writers typically reveal characters through their speech, dress, manner, and actions. Readers come to understand the character Miss Emily in Faulkner's story "A Rose for Emily" through what she says, how she lives, and what she does.
A group of characters in Greek tragedy (and in later forms of drama), who comment on the action of a play without participation in it. Their leader is the choragos. Sophocles' Antigone and Oedipus the King both contain an explicit ** with a choragos. Tennessee Williams's Glass Menagerie contains a character who functions like a **.
The principles and ideals of beauty that are characteristic of Greek and Roman art, architecture, and literature. Examples of *** in poetry can be found in the works of John Dryden and Alexander Pope, which are characterized by their formality, simplicity, and emotional restraint.
the culmination of a conflict; a turning point, often the point of greatest tension in a plot.
A type of form or structure in poetry characterized by regularity and consistency in such elements as rhyme, line length, and metrical pattern. Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" provides one of many examples. Here, a single stanza illustrates some of the features of closed form: Whose woods these are I think I know. / His house is in the village though. / He will not see me stopping here / To watch his woods fill up with snow.
A comic character who may be simpleminded, an ironic commentator, or an actual jester.
** expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech. ** give writing something of the flavour of talk; they make writing less formal, and more entertaining.
Comedy of Manners
Satirizes the manners and accepted traditional customs of a given segment of society.
The use of a comic scene to interrupt a succession of intensely tragic dramatic moments. The comedy of scenes offering ** * typically parallels the tragic action that the scenes interrupt. * ** is lacking in Greek tragedy, but occurs regularly in Shakespeare's tragedies.
A genre of Italian farce from the sixteenth-century characterized by stock characters, stock situations, and spontaneous dialogue. Typically, the plot is an intrigue plot and it involves a soubrette who aids two young lovers in foiling the rigid constraints of their parents. Often there is a zani, or foolish-servant, who provides physical comedy in contrast to the anguish of the young lovers. In the end, the couple achieves a happy marriage.
A sentence which contains an independent clause and one or more subordinate clauses. An example: "Since John was engaged last month, I haven't stopped crying." (This contains one independent clause <I haven't stopped crying>. <Since John was engaged> is a bit of information that contextualizes the independent clause by providing information about the time during which the action occurs.)
Any incident that further entangles or intensifies the conflict in a story or play. *** builds up, accumulates, and develops the primary or central conflict in a literary work.
A sentence which contains two independent clauses combined with a coordinating conjunction or semi-colon. An example: "John was engaged last month, and I am still crying." (<John was engaged last month> and <I am still crying> are both independent clauses, meaning they are complete sentences. They are joined by a comma and the coordinating conjunction <and>.)
A sentence which contains two or more independent clauses and one or more subordinate clauses. An example: "John was engaged last month, and I haven't stopped crying since I heard the news." (<John was engaged last month> and <I haven't stopped crying> are both independent clauses, meaning they are complete sentences. The clause <since I heard the news> is a subordinate clause that contextualizes the action by providing a time frame for the action. The independent clauses are joined by a comma and the coordinating conjunction <and>.)
the term given to describe when a character hides within a scene in order to overhear and/or discover information by listening to other characters.
A finely wrought phrase, often an extended metaphor, and, in excess, an overly elaborate analogy.
a struggle between a character and some obstacle or between internal forces, such as divided loyalties.
Any word or phrase that signifies a relationship between two words, phrases, clauses, sentences, or paragraphs, such as "similarly", "however", "additionally", etc. See a list of transition words for more.
the associated or secondary meaning of a word or expression in addition to its explicit or primary meaning: A possible *** of "home" is "a place of warmth, comfort, and affection."
is the repetition of consonant sounds. Although its similar to alliteration, *** is not limited to the first letters of the words. For example, the "hard-k" sound in "Take the bike back."
An implied agreement by the audience to accept an artistic reality for an everyday reality. Like other art farms, drama depends for its effectiveness on certain conventions, such as the stage. The audience accepts this partial representation of reality, using its imagination to complete the illusion.
A ** is pair of rhymed lines that may or may not constitute a separate stanza. These need not be the same length, but can be. If there is no enjambment at the end of the second line, it can be called a closed * (the opposite being an open *), especially if this is a recurring pattern. A closed rhyming * in iambic pentameter, especially one which forms a unit of sense, is called a heroic **; many of these can be found in Pope's 'Essay on Man'. It is also possible to find a longer poem whose lines are rhymed in pairs - aabbcc etc - described as being in rhyming couplets, even if the stanzas are longer than two lines. To use this term say something like "Elaine Feinstein's 'Urban Lyric' has an individual aspect of the scene in each couplet, each of which is linked, however, to the adjacent aspects."
An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others
A stressed syllable followed by two unstressed ones, as in FLUT-ter-ing or BLUE-ber-ry. The following playful lines illustrate double **, two ** per line: Higgledy, piggledy, / Emily Dickinson / Gibbering, jabbering.
the technique of characters revealing information about another character before the audience has seen him. This technique has the effect of creating expectations of the *** character that can then be compared to the character himself when he is revealed.
the explicit or direct meaning or set of meanings of a word or expression, basically the dictionary definition
Deus ex machina
A god who resolves the entanglements of a play by supernatural intervention. The Latin phrase means, literally, "a god from the machine." The phrase refers to the use of artificial means to resolve the plot of a play.
The phase in the action after the exposition has been presented and the entanglements in the plot begin building to the climax.
The conversation of characters in a literary work. In fiction, *** is typically enclosed within quotation marks. In plays, characters' speech is preceded by their names.
The selection of words in a literary work. A work's ** forms one of its centrally important literary elements, as writers use words to convey action, reveal character, imply attitudes, identify themes, and suggest values. We can speak of the * particular to a character, as in Iago's and Desdemona's very different ways of speaking in Othello. We can also refer to a poet's * as represented over the body of his or her work, as in Donne's or Hughes's **.
the artistic philosophy that art should not just entertain, it should instruct or inform.
makes an effort at mimesis, attempting to represent exactly what a character says--this many times involves narrator commentary in between and surrounding the speech. It is sometimes referred to as "*** speech."
"'You get off early or what?'
'I took off early.'
'Anything the matter?'
'In a way of speaking,' he said and wiped his lips.
'Not cut back?'
'No, no. They got plenty work. I just--'
'Sethe, you won't like what I'm 'bout to say.'"
(Toni Morrison, Beloved)
This passage is an example of ** ** in its treatment of dialogue. The narrator here gives to the reader in the form of direct quotations from characters.
refers to the set of principles governing how a story is told, referencing both its linguistic situation and the relationship between giver/sender/narrator of that information and its receiver/audience.
To wear masks, false hair, character makeup, or clothing either to conceal a character's identity.
a ghostly double of another character, especially if it haunts its counterpart - a ***, in german, means "double walker" - it's like a carbon copy of a character with a different soul. However, one of the criteria for a doppelganger isn't that it looks like its counterpart. Frankenstein and his monster are considered to be doppelgangers. It has come to refer (as in German) to any double or look-alike of a person—most commonly an "evil twin".
(French, "*** meaning"): The deliberate use of ambiguity in a phrase or image in order to convey more than one possible meaning--especially involving sexual or humorous meanings.
The form of irony in which the audience knows something a character in the play does not.
A type of poem in which a speaker addresses a silent listener. As readers, we overhear the speaker in a ** **. Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" represents the epitome of the genre.
is complex in temperament and motivation; drawn with subtlety; capable of growth and change during the course of the narrative
An ** is a poem of mourning; this is often the poet mourning one person, but the definition also includes Thomas Gray's '* Written in a Country Churchyard', which mourns all the occupants of that churchyard, and looks into the future to mourn the poet's own death. The difference between an * and a eulogy is that the latter is a speech given to honor someone's best qualities, often (but not necessarily) after their death. To use this term say something like "Michael Longley's 'Between Hovers' is a touching **."
The omission of an unstressed vowel or syllable to preserve the meter of a line of poetry. Alexander uses *** in "Sound and Sense" when he writes "Flies o'er th' unbending corn...."
Contained within a framing narrative, an ** * hinges contextually on the framing *, while typically becoming the bulk of the story itself. In other words, the * ** usually comprises the majority of the text, while the framing narrative occupies just the first and last few pages.
A run-on line of poetry in which logical and grammatical sense carries over from one line into the next. An ** line differs from an end-stopped line in which the grammatical and logical sense is completed within the line. In the opening lines of Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess," for example, the first line is end-stopped and the second *: "That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, / Looking as if she were alive. I call / That piece a wonder, now...." If a poet allows all the sentences of a poem to end in the same place as regular line-breaks, a kind of "deadening" can happen in the ear, and in the brain too, as all the thoughts can end up being the same length. ** is one way of creating audible interest; others include caesurae, or having variable line-lengths. To use this term say something like "In Vicki Feaver's 'Marigolds', the lines about "the flowers men give women" are primarily end-stopped, whereas the more exciting flowers appear in lines that use enjambment strongly."
A long narrative that records the adventures of a hero. *** typically chronicle the origins of a civilization and embody its central values. Examples from western literature include Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, and Milton's Paradise Lost.
An ** is a brief bit of text, usually borrowed from another writer, that is found before a poem, but after the title. (You may also find one at the start of a book, before the poems, but after the title page.) It gives a reader, or listener, something else to hold in mind as the poem is read. Neither part of the poem, nor wholly separate from it, an * can be used for various purposes; it can be necessary information to understand a poem, for example, or it can be something with which the poem disagrees. To use this term say something like "Ian McMillan's 'The Texas Swing Boys Dadaist Manifesto' has an invented quotation as its **, which - like the title - aims to create a mood of collision between country music and surrealist collage that the poem can work in."
a sudden moment of understanding that causes the audience or a character to change or to act in a certain way
An ** novel is also called a novel of letters, because the narration takes place in the form of letters, possibly journal entries, and occasionally newspaper reports. Frankenstein, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Color Purple may have little in common on the surface, but they all share ** structure. Most or all of the narrative of these stories comes to readers through letters or other correspondence rather than a more traditional storytelling manner.
the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt
To enlarge, increase, or represent something beyond normal bounds so that it becomes ridiculous and its faults can be seen.
A sentence which is simply a more forceful version of a declarative sentence, marked at the end with an exclamation mark.
a setting-forth of information. In fiction and drama, introductory material introducing characters and the situation.
The idea(s) the play expresses on the literal level—it is often verbalized by a character. In Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, Lena remarks, "Seem like God didn't see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams—but He did give us children to make them dreams seem worthwhile." The words have a strong effect on her son and move him to a course of action.
comedy based not on clever language or on subtleties of characters but on broadly humorous situations.
An umbrella term that describes a whole range of approaches to literature and culture. All are concerned somehow with women, but beyond that they may not have much in common. The earliest, and perhaps simplest, kinds of ** * were concerned with recovering ignored works by women. In "A Room of One's Own" (1929), for instance, Virginia Woolf famously writes about the problems that would have been faced by Shakespeare's (imaginary) sister, and Woolf's works include many readings of women authors who had not been taken seriously. This kind of * * continues today, turning up many once-important figures who've been excluded from the canon. Other comparatively simple kinds of * * include biographical and historical studies of women writers, women readers, or women's issues in literature, and examinations of the way women are depicted in literature. Another form of * * looks at the way children acquire a language structured around binary oppositions that give the privileged place to masculinity, associating it with power, reason, activity, and so on; * is contrarily associated with passive, irrational, or other negative qualities. Be aware that men, too, can engage in "* writing," and one does not have to be a female to practice or understand a * ** of a text.
The word ** comes orignally from Latin fingere, to fashion or to form. ** is usually narrative, although it can be either verse or prose.
A verbal expression in which words or sounds are arranged in a particular way to achieve a particular effect. ** * ** are organized into different categories, such as alliteration, assonance, metaphor, metonymy, onomatopoeia, simile, and synecdoche.
First-person point of view
In this case, the narrator is a character in the story who relates events in the first-person (in other words, "I remember the first time I saw her.")
A reference to an event which took place prior to the beginning of a story, poem or play. It provides important information about the character or the present situation.
a term referring to a character who boasts no mental or emotional development. Much like a stock character, this type of character exhibits strong defining characteristics, speech habits, and the like, but still falls short of the complexity of a round character.
A character who contrasts and parallels the main character in a play or story. Much can be learned about each by comparing and contrasting the characteristics of the two, often illuminating important themes. Laertes, in Hamlet, is a ** for the main character; in Othello, Emilia and Bianca are ** for Desdemona.
A metrical unit composed of stressed and unstressed syllables. For example, an iamb or iambic ** is represented by "/u", that is, an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one. Frost's line "Whose woods these are I think I know" contains four iambs, and is thus an iambic *. The main types are: Iamb ([ u / ], such as "delight". (The adjective is "iambic".)), Trochee ([ / u ], such as "badger" (Trochaic)), Anapest, ([ u u / ], such as "unaware" (Anapestic / anapaestic)), and Dactyl ([ / u u ], such as "multiple" (Dactylic)). To use this term say something like "John Mole's 'Variation on an Old Rhyme' predominantly uses a three-syllable *, with varying numbers of ** to each line."
when the writer provides clues or hints that suggest or predict future event in a story
Poetry that overtly uses the effects of metre, rhyme and form, especially the fixed forms (sonnets, villanelles etc) is known as ** *. Its opposite, strictly, is free verse. Many poets, however, can and do operate in both free and formal ways in their work, and sometimes within the one poem. A classic example of this is T S Eliot's 'The Waste Land', which moves between blank verse and free verse, and shifts in and out of rhyming. To use this term say something like "Felix Dennis writes almost entirely in * **."
A ** (also known as a sentence **) is anything punctuated like a sentence but lacking at least one crucial ingredient--usually either a subject or a verb: "Landed in my backyard." "The guy next door." These should be avoided in formal writing, though you should understand that authors can use them for deliberate effect.
A narrative that contains a second narrative, or embedded narrative, in order to provide a context or setting for it. Sometimes this ** * will begin and end the narrative as a whole, providing book ends, while other times the * * will simply be present in the beginning of the narrative. The * ** "sets the scene" for the embedded narrative, giving us a context in which we can read and interpret the text.
Free indirect discourse
a style of third-person narration which uses some of the characteristics of third-person along with the essence of first-person direct speech. (It is also referred to as ** * *, * ** style).
What distinguishes free indirect speech from normal indirect speech is the lack of an introductory expression such as "He said" or "he thought". It is as if the subordinate clause carrying the content of the indirect speech is taken out of the main clause which contains it, becoming the main clause itself. Using free indirect speech may convey the character's words more directly than in normal indirect, as devices such as interjections and exclamation marks can be used that cannot be normally used within a subordinate clause.
Quoted or direct speech: He laid down his bundle and thought of his misfortune. "And just what pleasure have I found, since I came into this world?" he asked.
Reported or normal indirect speech: He laid down his bundle and thought of his misfortune. He asked himself what pleasure he had found since he came into the world.
Free indirect speech: He laid down his bundle and thought of his misfortune. And just what pleasure had he found, since he came into this world?
Poetry without a regular pattern of meter or rhyme. The verse is "**" in not being bound by earlier poetic conventions requiring poems to adhere to an explicit and identifiable meter and rhyme scheme in a form such as the sonnet or ballad. In other words, it allows the poet to make the poem * to find its own shape according to what the poet - or the poem - wants to say, but still allows him or her to use rhyme, alliteration, rhythms or cadences (etc) to achieve the effects that s/he feels are appropriate. Not all poets like * *. Robert Frost who, when asked about * *, said "I'd just as soon play tennis with the net down". 'What Is Poetry', by John Ashbery, is a good example of * ** - it has neither regular metre nor rhyme, but the exploration of the title's question contains effects based on rhythm and repetition.
a literary kind — and, in fact, the word means just that in French, a "kind" or "type." The word is used with various degrees of precision. Some, for instance, classify the novel as a **, and consider the kinds of novels (Bildungsroman, picaresque, Gothic, and so on) "sub-*." Others consider these specific kinds of novels **, and consider the term novel a kind of catch-all. The adjective is generic.
This comes from the Goths, one of the tribes that took part in the conquering of the Roman Empire. For centuries, the word stood for medieval barbarism, and sometimes was used to represent the culture of the Middle Ages generally: ** architecture, for instance. Late in the eighteenth century, a new kind of novel made use of many of the traditional trappings of the Middle Ages: dark castles, secret passages, stormy nights, gloom, and terror. The early * novels (Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto, 1764, is often called the first) were actually set in the Middle Ages, although later examples of the genre (such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein) were set in the present. The ** vogue probably peaked in the Romantic period with such authors as Shelley, Anne Radcliffe, and Charles Brockden Brown, but it survived well into the nineteenth century (as with Edgar Allan Poe), and, in spite of some transformations, into the twentieth.
Aristotle coined this word to describe tragedies, particularly those brought about by an aristocrat's ego, gluttony or silly mistake rather than outright sin. It is most commonly used to refer to a flaw in the tragic hero, or an error made by the tragic hero.
Elegant comedies characterized by witty banter and sophisticated dialogue rather than the slapstick physicality and blundering common to low comedy.
history of the English language
A thumbnail sketch of the history of the language might be handy. English derives from the Germanic language family: several tribes from the Continent — the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes -- arrived in England in the fifth century C.E. and took their language with them. Soon their language was distinct enough to warrant a new name; it's now known as either Anglo-Saxon (from two of the tribes) or Old English (abbreviated OE). Although students of Anglo-Saxon can see the continuity with the English of today, at first sight it seems to be a completely foreign language. The most famous work in OE is the anonymous epic poem, Beowulf (around the eighth century). OE was spoken in the early part of the Middle Ages, but with the Norman Invasion in 1066 came a strong French influence on the English language. Over time, the language reached the state now known as Middle English (or ME). ME, to the untrained eye, looks a bit more like English, but beginners would do well to start with a glossary. By around the year 1500, the language had reached the stage known as Modern English (ModE). Even the first few centuries' worth of Modern English can be difficult for beginners, as anyone who's read Shakespeare can attest. But the structure of the language has remained the same for the last half millennium, with only some surface changes. Words like "dost" and "hath" lasted a few more centuries, but by 1750 were pretty much archaic, except perhaps in religious language. (We probably associate the language of the Bible with this early stage of ModE — "thou shalt not," "who art in heaven" -- because the most important English translation of the Bible, the King James Version or Authorized Version, appeared in 1611, toward the end of Shakespeare's career.) English spelling was fluid for a long time: it settled down only in the middle of the eighteenth century, around the time when Samuel Johnson published the first major Dictionary of the English Language (1755). As a glance at the history of the language will show, English is derived from a Germanic language — Old English, in fact, is thoroughly Germanic in its forms, structures, and vocabulary. But around the year 1100, English saw an influx of words from French (which is a romance language, i.e., derived ultimately from Latin); and in the Renaissance, words by the thousands were imported directly from Latin. For this reason, English is today a mongrel language, mixing Germanic and latinate roots. Often we can find pairs of words, near synonyms, of which one comes from an Anglo-Saxon root and one from a latinate root. Sometimes, in fact, we have three closely related words, one each from Anglo-Saxon, from Latin via French, and directly from Latin, as in kingly (Germanic), royal (from French roi), and regal (from Latin rex, regis). As a (very rough) general rule, words derived from the Germanic ancestors of English are shorter, more concrete, and more direct, whereas latinate words are longer and more abstract: compare, for instance, the Anglo-Saxon thinking with the Latinate cogitation. Most of our vulgarities are of Anglo-Saxon ancestry: compare, for instance, sh*t (Germanic) with excrement (latinate).
An idea developed by a computer scientist named Ted Nelson in the late 1960s defined simply as "non-linear reading." Whereas traditional writing on paper tends to be linear — you start at the beginning, and go through to the end — it needn't be; it can, in fact, be designed to let you jump around between related ideas. This is possible on paper — the "See Also" section of an encyclopedia entry is the same idea, as are the "choose-your-own-adventure" books ("If you want to open the door, turn to page 73") — but it's cumbersome. But with computer technology, it's easy to direct readers to related ideas through links. This computer-based glossary is hypertextual; I can refer you to terms or ideas and you can go directly there — and once there, you can follow links elsewhere. Text turns into a web of connections, and the reader chooses which connections to follow.
Language that appeals to the senses. Most *** are visual - that is, they appeal to the sense of sight. Images can also appeal to the senses of taste, touch, sound, or smell.
A sentence which gives a direct command to someone -- this type of sentence can end either with a period or with an exclamation mark
In media res
Latin for "in the middle of things," this is the classical tradition of opening an epic not at the chronological point at which the sequence of events would start, but rather at the midway point of the story. Later on in the narrative, the hero will recount verbally to others what events took place earlier. Usually in medias res is a technique used to heighten dramatic tension or to create a sense of mystery. This term is the opposite of the phrase ab ovo, when a story begins in the beginning and then proceeds in a strictly chronological manner without using the characters' dialogue, flashbacks, or memories.
A group of words containing a subject and a verb (or predicate) that can stand on its own as a sentence.
When a clause, an absolute word, or a phrase occurs between a subject and verb, or between a verb and its object. An example is "The idea, as I was saying, is to slow things down and add emphasis" or "The man--all 340 pounds of him--lumbered through the archway, choking the light from the room."
In effect, ** ** introduces a narrative interjection that may reveal a narrator's or author's attitude toward a subject.
the concept of texts' borrowing of each others' words and concepts. This could mean as much as an entire ideological concept and as little as a word or phrase. As authors borrow pro-actively from previous texts, their work gains layers of meaning. Also, another feature of *** reveals itself when a text is read in light of another text, in which case all of the assumptions and implications surrounding the other text shed light on and shape the way a text is interpreted.
(also known as *** word order) Any variation of the normal order of subject-verb-object. Can be used in poetry to improve the rhythm or sound of a line. Is sometimes used in prose for emphasis.
For example, "Sweet is the night air" instead of "The night air is sweet." The *** allows the writer to focus the reader's attention on something particular by disrupting the usual flow of the sentence.
inverted order of a sentence
(sentence inversion) involves constructing a sentence so that the predicate comes before the subject: e.g., In China stands the Great Wall. This is a device in which normal sentence patterns are reverse to create an emphatic or rhythmic effect.
The actual definition is an instance of a "gap" between what is said and what is meant, what is said and what is done, what is expected or intended and what happens, or what is meant or said and what others understand. But the gap has to be significant; it can't be merely a factual error, nor even a lie; the irony depends on the audience's recognition of the gap. Examples of some of the kinds of *** might make things clearer.
In verbal ** (sometimes called rhetorical *), probably the most straightforward kind of *, the speaker says something different from what he or she really believes. In its crudest form it's called sarcasm, where the speaker intentionally says the opposite of what he or she believes, and expects the audience to recognize the dissembling: for example, "Rutgers's Hill Hall is truly a palace, suited only to kings and princes." But verbal * needn't be so crude: more subtle kinds of verbal **, including understatement and hyperbole, abound.
In dramatic **, the audience is more aware than the characters in a work (often, but not necessarily, a drama), and what the characters say takes on a new significance to the audience. A famous example of tragic dramatic ** is the opening of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, when Oedipus, the ruler of Thebes, promises to punish the man whose sins have brought a plague upon the city. Oedipus does not know, but the audience does, that he is himself the evil-doer.
Cosmic *** comes closest to the common usage: it seems that God or fate is manipulating events so as to inspire false hopes, which are inevitably dashed.
to place directly opposite ideas side by side or within proximity in a work of literature
Dividing literary history into ** is always a tricky matter, because cultural change never happens all at once. In other words, people didn't wake up on 1 January 1500 and suddenly change their habits from medieval to Renaissance. Besides, literary and cultural movements rarely coincide with century boundaries. To make matters worse, * differ from country to country — by the time England got around to having a Renaissance, Italy's Renaissance was long since over (and that's to say nothing about such incommensurable traditions as Sri Lanka or Ghana). With those caveats in mind, though, we can at least consider the usual Some common designations for English ** history: after antiquity, mostly confined to the literatures of Greece and Rome, come:
The Middle Ages
The eighteenth century
The Romantic period
The Victorian age
The Modern age
The Postmodern age.
American literature doesn't divide up the same way, but there isn't one widely agreed-upon set of period designations.
In its most basic sense, ** is anything written, as suggested by its etymology: littera is Latin for "letters." We still have that sense when we talk about "product literature" and the like — it's just any printed matter. It lets us distinguish literate from oral cultures, for instance. But that's not a particularly useful sense, because literate and oral cultures share a great many qualities, which leads us to the embarrassing oxymoron, "oral *." In its most loaded sense, * refers to "good" or "important" ** — and you can easily see why it's a loaded sense, because there's little agreement over what's good or important.
A sentence in which the main clause comes first, so that the basic idea is complete before the sentence ends. ** ** make even if the end of the sentence is deleted, e.g., We reached Edmonton / that morning / after a turbulent flight / and some exciting experiences. Loose sentences are less formal than periodic sentences.
In contrast with high **, * ** consists of silly, slapstick physicality, crude pratfalls, violence, scatology, and bodily humor rather than clever dialogue or banter.
is a rhyme on a single stressed syllable at the end of a line of poetry. This is much more common than feminine rhyme
Aristotle's classic definition of *** is "giving a thing a name that belongs to something else." In the form of a mathematical equation it is:
X = Y
(Target) is (Source)
A *** works in our mind to give attributes of the source (Y) to the target (X) because, when we lend a thing a name that belongs to something else, we lend it a complex pattern of relations and associations along with it.
For example, look at the statement, "Man is a wolf." When we call a man a wolf we begin thinking about the attributes related to the **'s source and target. What we know of wolves interacts with what we know of man, and man is immediately seen through the prism of wolf-associated commonplaces. We zoom in on those aspects of wolves that apply to man (sly, predatory, hungry, vicious) while discarding those that don't (four-legged, furry, litter-bearing, living in the woods). Therefore, ** focuses our attention on a specific set of associated commonplaces, but in so doing narrows and clarifies our view to the point where the target gains attributes of the source.
poetic measure; arrangement of words with a regular beat (metrical foot), patterned, or rhythmic verses such as (a) mono**: one foot/beat per line, (b) di*: two feet/beats per line, (c)tri*: three feet/beats per line, (d) tetra*: four feet/beats per line, (e) penta*: five feet/beats per line, (f) hexa*: six feet/beats per line, (g) hepta**: seven feet/beats per line
A figure of speech in which a closely related term is substituted for an object or idea. When a poet refers to something by one of its characteristics rather than its name - for example, referring to a country's 'strength' rather than 'armies' - this is a **. It differs from synecdoche, in that these are abstract qualities rather than concrete parts. Another example would be "We have always remained loyal to the crown." To use this term say something like "Kevin Crossley-Holland uses ** when he writes "give me the gruff", rather than "give me the gruff things", in 'The Grain of Things'."
mise en scene
While mostly used in cinema or theatre critique, literary aficionados can still (and often do) use this term to describe the setting, mood and atmosphere of a text.
This term usually refers to the early part of the twentieth century — sometimes beginning with the First World War in 1914, and continuing through the 1930s or so — perhaps up to the Second World War. Some of the most influential *** writers tried some radical experiments with form: poets like Pound and Eliot working in free verse, for instance, and novelists like Joyce, Woolf, and Stein experimenting with stream of consciousness and elaborate language games.
A speech by a single character without another character's response. See Dramatic *** and Soliloquy.
a ** or atmosphere is the feeling that a literary work conveys to readers. ** is created through the use of plot, character, the author's descriptions
One of the dominant ideas in a work of literature; a part of the main theme. It may consist of a character, a recurrent image, or a verbal pattern
refers to the guiding sensibility or consciousness through which we see view a story.
The recounting of a succession of events. Many are fictional, including epics and novels, but they can include nonfiction such as history and autobiography. They needn't be in prose: epics, for instance, are *** verse. Narratives are not always told in sequence. Many stories start in medias res, and jump about chronologically.
one who tells a story, the speaker or the "voice" of an oral or written work. Although it can be, it is not usually the same person as the author
natural order of a sentence
involves constructing a sentence so the subject comes before the predicate: e.g., The Great Wall stands in China.
In classical mythology, ** was the patron goddess of vengeance; the expression often denotes a character in a drama who brings about another's downfall, so that Hamlet may be said to be Claudius's ** in Shakespeare's tragedy.
This is sometimes applied to the Augustan period, that is, the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
Drama imitative of Greek or Roman classical models. Popular in France in the 17th and 18th centuries, it follows the principles of (a) verisimilitude, (b) five-act plays, (c) didacticism, and (d) strict adherence to the unities of time, place and action.
A character or situation in a play that creates conflict or delays or prevents a character from achieving an objective.
An eight-line unit, which may constitute a stanza; or a section of a poem, as in the *** of a sonnet.
A type of structure or form in poetry characterized by freedom from regularity and consistency in such elements as rhyme, line length, metrical pattern, and overall poetic structure. E.E. Cummings's "[Buffalo Bill's]" is one example.
A form of figurative language combining apparently contradictory or paradoxical words or ideas such as a cool flame; leisurely haste; stupid brilliance.
Authors use *** precisely because they are contradictory. Their illogical nature trips up a reader's brain enough to focus the reader's attention on the paradoxical nature of a narrative situation or state of mind.
refers to a grammatical or structural similarity between sentences or parts of a sentence. It involves an arrangement of words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs so that elements of equal importance are equally developed and similarly phrased: e.g., He was walking, running, and jumping for joy.
A humorous, mocking imitation of a literary work, sometimes sarcastic, but often playful and even respectful in its playful imitation. Examples include Bob McKenty's parody of Frost's "Dust of Snow" and Kenneth Koch's parody of Williams's "This is Just to Say."
From the Latin **, "shepherd" - this is literally the poetry or songs of shepherds. Part of the * ideal is otium — leisure — which distinguishes it from the other important kind of rural poetry, georgic. One of the most famous examples of the genre in English, Milton's Lycidas, is properly a * elegy. Other well-known English * poems from the Renaissance are Spenser's Shepheardes Calender and Sidney's Arcadia. As Arcadia suggests, although the * is traditionally lyric poetry, it needn't be. Shakespeare's As You Like It includes * elements, and Arcadia is sometimes considered a * romance. Other terms often used as synonyms for pastoral are idyll, eclogue, and bucolic poetry. The georgic often shares many characteristics with **, but it's worth keeping them separate.
A sentence in which the main clause comes last, so that the basic idea remains unclear until the sentence ends. ** * make sense only when the end of the sentence is reached, e.g., "That morning, after a turbulent flight and some exciting experiences, we reached Edmonton." * ** are more formal than loose sentences.
The sudden reversal of fortune in a story, play, or any narrative in which there is an observable change in direction. In tragedy, this is often a change from stability and happiness toward the destruction or downfall of the protagonist. Also known as reversal.
a type of metaphor in which a non-human thing or quality is talked about as if it were human.
As with point of view, ** is a term used to reference how a narrator regulates information. Many different variations of *, as with point of view, are possible which govern the way a story is told. Multiple * are also a frequent occurrence in narratives, allowing for a more complete picture of a story. In a general sense, ** in a story is aligned with the thoughts and feelings of one character at a time, filtering the story through the lens of that character's interpretation.
Swashbucking adventure stories with a scrappy, ne'er-do-well scamp of a protagonist are a beloved narrative staple. A popular example is Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
the episodes in a narrative or dramatic work - that is, what happens - or the particular arrangement (sequence) of these episodes.
The operation of justice in a play with fair distribution of rewards for good deeds and punishment for wrong doing
Point of view
(e.g. 1st/3rd person) the way the events of a story are conveyed to the reader, it is the "vantage point" from which the narrative is passed from author to the reader. The point of view can vary from work to work.
Is the deliberate use of many conjunctions for special emphasis - to highlight quantity or mass of detail. Example: During the summer the students had to write World Literature I, and World Literature II, and the Extended Essay, and all the other assignments.
The main character in a story, the one with whom the reader is meant to identify. The person is not necessarily "good" by any conventional moral standard, but he/she is the person in whose plight the reader is most invested.
Any word or phrase that qualifies an otherwise absolute statement: "Usually a sweeping statement must be slightly altered or modified in the interest of truth" or "Most people are inherently good."
A four-line stanza in a poem, the first four lines and the second four lines in a Petrachan sonnet. A Shakespearean sonnet contains three *** followed by a couplet.
French word meaning "reason for being", it is the reason behind the character's words or actions.
A ** is a repeated part of a poem, particularly when it comes either at the end of a stanza or between two stanzas. Sebastian Barker's 'The Uncut Stone' has a traditional *, consisting of two rhymed sentences that never change at the end of each stanza; James Fenton uses a slightly looser type of * in 'In Paris With You', where the title returns at the end of almost every stanza, but with slight additions so that it continues the sentence of which it is a part. To use this term say something like "In 'Lord Neptune', Judith Nicholls has a four-line ** that adds a mythological dimension to the seaside visit of the poem."
The term for the literary period comes from English history, and requires a little background. After a decade of civil wars, rebels executed King Charles I in 1649. For the next ten years or so, known as the Interregnum or Protectorate, England was ruled not by a king but by Oliver Cromwell, "the Protector" (and then his son). In 1660, however, the executed king's son, Charles II, was brought back to England and "**ed" to the throne. The era following Charles II's * to the throne is known, therefore, as the Restoration. The term sometimes extends until 1688 or 1689 (when Charles II's brother, James II, was expelled from England in the Glorious Revolution), and sometimes through 1700, when the eighteenth century begins. The most important ** authors in most accounts are John Bunyan, Aphra Behn, William Congreve, and John Dryden. Although John Milton's Paradise Lost appeared in 1667, it is usually studied along with works of the Renaissance.
is a sentence fragment used deliberately for a persuasive purpose or to create a desired effect.
a question that expects no answer. It is used to draw attention to a point that is generally stronger than a direct statement: e.g., If Mr. Ferchoff is always fair, as you have said, why did he refuse to listen to Mrs. Baldwin's arguments?
The matching of final vowel or consonant sounds in two or more words. The following stanza of "Richard Cory" employs alternate end-rhyme (which means the rhyme occurs at the end of every other line, with the third line rhyming with the first and the fourth with the second: "Whenever Richard Cory went down town, / We people on the pavement looked at him; / He was a gentleman from sole to crown / Clean favored and imperially slim." Rhyme can also happen within a line, where it is known as internal rhyme. A rhyme on a stressed syllable, as in the examples above, is sometimes referred to as 'masculine rhyme'; its counterpart, feminine rhyme, is made up of a stressed syllable followed by one or more unstressed syllables, such as "fishes" and "wishes". Rhyme can be used purely for its own sake, because it sounds good, but there may also be further reasons; for example, the form of terza rima has overlapping rhymes that give the poem forward motion, as in George Szirtes' 'Preston North End', each stanza's middle line giving the rhyme for the outer two lines of the next stanza. The "breath" / "death" rhyme, noted above, is not only nice in the ears but resonates because these two concepts are linked, as they are in the poem. To use this term say something like "The poem utilizes a mix between end-rhyme and internal rhyme, providing a sing-songy pace that matches the lighthearted subject of the poem."
A set of conflicts and crises that constitute the part of a play's or story's plot leading up to the climax.
Linguists group a number of modern European languages — French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, as well as the less well-known Romanian, Catalan, Provençal, and so on — together as ** ** because of their shared parent, Latin. Although they differ on the surface, many words in their vocabularies are cognate, and their grammatical structures tend to be similar. See also Indo-European.
There's been endless (and often fruitless) debate over exactly what "**" means — whether it's simply a periodic designation, whether it refers to a movement, or to shared characteristics. English * is sometimes held to have begun in the mid-to-late eighteenth century, although some use the date of the publication of Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads in 1798 as a convenient starting point. A popular ending point is 1832, the date of the passage of the Reform Bill, although some extend it through the beginning of Victoria's reign in 1837. The traditional canon of the six major * poets consists of William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Older studies, in fact, tend to treat these six male poets as the only writers of the ** period worth reading. In recent years, though, critical attention has turned to long-neglected authors, especially women authors, such as Charlotte Smith, Anna Letitia Barbauld, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Mary Robinson, and Joanna Baillie. The focus on the "big six" has also put nearly all the attention on lyric poetry; again, critics have recently been looking at other modes and genres. The major novelists of the period are Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen; other major prose writers include Hazlitt, Lamb, and De Quincey. Don't be caught using "Romantic" as if it had much to do with modern romance novels. There's a long, complicated (and interesting) history that can explain why they share a term, but don't assume that Coleridge's poems or Hazlitt's essays have anything to do with heaving bosoms and Fabio.
The principles and ideals of the Romantic movement in literature and the arts during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. ***, which was a reaction to the classicism of the early 18th century, favoured feeling over reason and placed great emphasis on the subjective, or personal, experience of the individual. Nature was also a major theme. The great English Romantic poets include Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats.
A line which has no natural speech pause at its end, allowing the sense to flow into the succeeding line - similar to enjambment
the act of saying one thing but meaning another. It can be related to a character's speech, and narrator's or writer's tone.
A literary work that ridicules its subject through the use of techniques such as exaggeration, reversal, incongruity, and/or parody in order to make a comment or criticism about it
The analysis of a poem's meter. This is usually done by marking the stressed and unstressed syllables in each line and then, based on the pattern of the stresses, dividing the line into feet.
Refers to so-called "potty-humor"--jokes or stories dealing with feces designed to elicit either laughter or disgust.
A six-line unit of verse constituting a stanza or section of a poem; the last six lines of an Italian sonnet. Examples - Petrarch's "If it is not love, then what is it that I feel," and Frost's "Design."
the time, place, physical details, and circumstances in which a situation occurs. *** include the background, atmosphere or environment in which characters live and move, and usually include physical characteristics of the surroundings.
figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things, in which one thing becomes another thing, using the words like, or as.
A sentence consisting of just one independent clause. Either the subject or the verb or both may be compound in a ** **: "John and Mary were engaged last month." (<John and Mary> are a compound subject, <were engaged> is the verb, and < last month> modifies the action to provide a context for the sentence.
Literally, two hinged wooden slats attached to a handle. When the device strikes a person, a loud smack is heard. The term refers to any comedy that features physical, often abusive, pranks.
a dramatic form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or reveals his thoughts without addressing a listener.
A lyric poem that is 14 lines long. Italian (or Petrarchan) ** are divided into two quatrains and a six-line "sestet," with the rhyme scheme abba abba cdecde (or cdcdcd). English (or Shakespearean) * are composed of three quatrains and a final couplet, with a rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg. English ** are written generally in iambic pentameter.
A playwright's descriptive or interpretive comments that provide readers (and actors) with information about the dialogue, setting, and action of a play.
The spectacle a play presents in performance, including the position of actors on stage, the scenic background, the props and costumes, and the lighting and sound effects.
an arrangement of a certain number of lines, usually four or more, sometimes having a fixed length, meter, or rhyme scheme, forming a division of a poem such as the couplet (two line **), tercet (three line *), quatrain (four line *), quintet (five line *), sestet or sextet (six line *), septet (seven line *), octave (eight line stanza), or sonnet (fourteen line **)
is built around a single idea or quality and unchanging over the course of the narrative
a character who exemplifies cultural stereotypes and that is identifiable (as a type) in many different narratives. A good example is the old maid or the buffoon neighbor.
Stream of consciousness
Writing in which a character's perceptions, thoughts, and memories are presented in an apparently random form, without regard for logical sequence, chronology, or syntax. Often such writing makes no distinction between various levels of reality--such as dreams, memories, imaginative thoughts or real sensory perception. ** * ** writing often lacks "correct" punctuation or syntax, favoring a looser, more incomplete style.
A clause that cannot stand on its own as a sentence, but must be connected to an independent clause, often by a subordinating conjunction. Dependent clauses may function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs.
Suspension of disbelief
The audience's willingness to accept the illusion of conventions of a theatre performance.
a form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion; for example, All humans are mortal, the major premise, I am a human, the minor premise, therefore, I am mortal, the conclusion
is the use of an object, a person, or a event that functions as itself but also stands for something more than itself.
A figure of speech in which a part is substituted for the whole. An example: "Lend me a hand." See Metonymy.
a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color.
a device in which words, sounds, and ideas are used more than once to enhance rhythm and create emphasis: e.g., "...government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" ("Address at Gettysburg" by Abraham Lincoln)
Theatre of the Absurd
A convention defined by contemporary critic Martin Esslin as "striving to express its sense of the senselessness of the human condition and the inadequacy of the rational approach by the open abandonment of rational devices and discursive thought." Plays in the absurdist tradition attempt to show the irrational and illogical aspects of life through absurd characters, dialogue, and situations.
Third-person point of view
In this case the events are related by someone who is outside of the story. There are two types of **-* narration: *-* limited; *-** omniscient.
the writer, speaker, or narrator's attitude towards his subject. *** is determined through the diction, imagery, and the connotation within the text.
a serious play showing the protagonist moving from good fortune to bad and ending in death or a deathlike state.
A weakness or limitation of character, resulting in the fall of the tragic hero. Othello's jealousy and too trusting nature is one example. See Tragedy and Tragic hero.
A privileged, exalted character of high repute, who, by virtue of a tragic flaw and fate, suffers a fall from glory into suffering.
a mixture of tragedy and comedy, usually a play with serious happenings that expose the characters to the threat of death but that ends happily.
***s actually have a few definitions, but are frequently used to refer to familiar literary devices, events and archetypes.
derived from a passage in Aristotle's Poetics, this is a term given to the notion of a ** of time, space and action. In the 1500s A good play, according to this doctrine, must have three traits: * of action (realistic events following a single plotline and a limited number of characters encompassed by a sense of verisimilitude), * of time (meaning that the events should be limited to the two or three hours it takes to view the play, or at most to a single day of twelve or twenty-four hours compressed into those two or three hours), and ** of space (meaning the play must take place in a single setting or location).
The opposite of a reliable narrator, an ** * typically displays characteristics or tendencies that indicate a lack of credibility or understanding of the story. Whether due to age, mental disability or personal involvement, an * * provides the reader with either incomplete or inaccurate information as a result of these conditions. Lack of alignment with the "tastes, judgments, [and] moral sense" (Prince 103) of the implied author is a determining factor in a narrator's **. Most notably done by William Faulkner in his novels, the use of a main character with a mental disability or a skewed perspective is indicative of unreliability as well as the under-developed perspective of a child narrator.
The sense that what one reads is "real," or at least realistic and believable. For instance, the reader possesses a sense of ** when reading a story in which a character cuts his finger, and the finger bleeds. If the character's cut finger had produced sparks of fire rather than blood, the story would not possess verisimilitude. Note that even fantasy novels and science fiction stories that discuss impossible events can have ** if the reader is able to read them with suspended disbelief.
This period in English history ran from 1837, when Queen Victoria took the throne, to 1901, when she died. Since regnal years rarely coincide perfectly with literary periods, sometimes people refer to the period from roughly 1832 (when the Reform Bill was passed, a major event in nineteenth-century British history) until around 1900. The major British authors of the ** era include the novelists Charles Dickens, the three Brontë sisters, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, Thackeray, and Hardy; the poets Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, ???; and more miscellaneous writers like Lewis Carroll, G. K. Chesterton, John Ruskin, Carlyle, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Morris, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde. Avoid the vulgar error of calling Jane Austen a ** novelist: she died in 1817, two years before Victoria was born and fully twenty years before she took the throne. If you have to call her anything, she's Romantic; you might feel safer with a less contentious designation, like "early nineteenth-century."