Create an account
Absurd, Drama of the
A type of drama, allied to comedy, radically nonrealistic in both content and presentation, that emphasizes the absurdity, emptiness, or meaninglessness of life.
In this book, the same as stress. A syllable given more prominence in pronunciation than its neighbors is said to be accented.
The repetition at close intervals of the initial consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words. Important words and accented syllables beginning with vowels may also be said to alliterate with each other inasmuch as they all have the same lack of an initial consonant sound.
Approximate rime (imperfect rime, near rime, slant rime, oblique rime)
A term used for words in a riming pattern that have some kind of sound correspondence but are not perfect rimes. See Rime. Approximate rimes occur occasionally in patterns where most of the rimes are perfect, and sometimes are used systematically in place of perfect rime.
The repetition at close intervals of the vowel sounds of accented syllables or important words.
The repetition at close intervals of the final consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words.
That form of a poem in which the lines follow each other without formal grouping, the only breaks being dictated by units of meaning.
The basic foot of dipodic verse, consisting (when complete) of an unaccented syllable, a lightly accented syllable, an unaccented syllable, and a heavily accented syllable, in that succession. However, dipodic verse accommodates a tremendous amount of variety, as shown by the examples in the text.
A rime in which the repeated vowel is in the second last syllable of the words involved; one form of feminine rime.
A meter in which a majority of the feet contain two syllables. Iambic and trochaic are both duple meters.
English (Shakespearean) sonnet
A sonnet riming ababcdcdefefgg. Its content or structure ideally parallels the rime scheme, falling into three coordinate quatrains and a concluding couplet; but it is often structured, like the Italian sonnet, into octave and sestet, the principle break in thought coming at the end of the eighth line.
A rime in which the repeated accented vowel is in either the second or third last syllable of the words involved.
A form of poem in which the length and pattern are prescribed by previous usage or tradition, such as sonnet, limerick, villanelle, haiku, and so on.
A narrative poem designed to be sung, composed by an anonymous author, and transmitted orally for years or generations before being written down. It has usually undergone modification through the process of oral transmission.
The basic unit used in the scansion or measurement of verse. A foot usually contains one accented syllable and one or two unaccented syllables, but the monosyllabic foot, the spondaic foot (spondee), and the dipodic foot are all modifications of this principle.
Nonmetrical verse. Poetry written in free verse is arranged in lines, may be more or less rhythmical, but has no fixed metrical pattern or expectation.
Grammatical pause (caesura)
A pause introduced into the reading of a line by a mark of punctuation. Grammatical pauses do not affect scansion.
A three-line poem, Japanese in origin, narrowly conceived of as a fixed form in which the lines contain respectively five, seven, and five syllables (in American practice this requirement is frequently dispensed with). Haiku are generally concerned with some aspect of nature and present a single image or two juxtaposed images without comment, relying on suggestion rather than on explicit statement to communicate their meaning.
The actual rhythm of a metrical poem as we hear it when it is read naturally. The heard rhythm mostly conforms to but sometimes departs from or modifies the expected rhythm.
A meter that freely mixes iambs and anapests, and in which it might be difficult to determine which foot prevails without actually counting.
Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet
A sonnet consisting of an octave riming abbaabba and of a sestet using any arrangement of two or three additional rimes, such as cdcdcd or cdecde.
A fixed form consisting of five lines of anapestic meter, the first two trimeter, the next two dimeter, the last line trimeter, riming aabba; used exclusively for humorous or nonsense verse.
Masculine rime (single rime)
A rime in which the repeated accented vowel sound is in the final syllable of the words involved.
A type of drama related to tragedy but featuring sensational incidents, emphasizing plot at the expense of characterization, relying on cruder conflicts (virtuous protagonist versus villainous antagonist), and having a happy ending in which good triumphs over evil.
Regularized rhythm; an arrangement of language in which the accents occur at apparently equal intervals in time.
A pause that supplies the place of an expected accented syllable. Unlike grammatical and rhetorical pauses, metrical pauses affect scansion.
Drama that, in content, presentation, or both, departs markedly from fidelity to the outward appearances of life.
(1) An eight-line stanza. (2) The first eight lines of a sonnet, especially one structured in the manner of an Italian sonnet.
A restatement of the content of a poem designed to make its prose meaning as clear as possible.
A word whose sound, by an obscure process, to some degree suggests its meaning. As differentiated from onomatopoetic words, the meanings of phonetic intensives do not refer to sounds.
Writing that uses immoderately heightened or distended language to sway the reader's feelings.
That part of a poem's total meaning that can be separated out and expressed through paraphrase.
Usually a short composition having the intentions of poetry but written in prose rather than verse.
(1) A four-line stanza. (2) A four-line division of a sonnet marked off by its rime scheme.
A repeated word, phrase, line, or group of lines, normally at some fixed position in a poem written in stanzaic form.
Rhetorical pause (caesura)
A natural pause, unmarked by punctuation, introduced into the reading of a line by its phrasing or syntax. Rhetorical pauses do not affect scansion.
Poetry using artificially eloquent language, that is, language too high-flown for its occasion and unfaithful to the full complexity of human experience.
The repetition of the accented vowel sound and all succeeding sounds in important or importantly positioned words. The above definition applies to perfect rime and assumes that the accented vowel sounds involved are preceded by differing consonant sounds. If the preceding consonant sound is the same, or if there is no preceding consonant sound in either word, or if the same word is repeated in the riming position, the words are called identical rimes. Both perfect rimes and identical rimes are to be distinguished from approximate rimes.
A type of comedy whose likable and sensible main characters are placed in difficulties from which they are rescued at the end of the play, either attaining their ends or having their good fortunes restored.
A line which has no natural speech pause at its end, allowing the sense to flow uninterruptedly into the succeeding line.
The process of measuring verse, that is, of marking accented and unaccented syllables, dividing the lines into feet, identifying the metrical pattern, and noting significant variations from that pattern.
A type of comedy whose main purpose is to expose and ridicule human folly, vanity, or hypocrisy.
Unmerited or contrived tender feeling; that quality in a story that elicits or seeks to elicit tears through an oversimplification or falsification of reality.
Poetry aimed primarily at stimulating the emotions rather than at communicating experience honestly and freshly.
A fixed form of fourteen lines, normally iambic pentameter, with a rime scheme conforming to or approximating one of two main types—the Italian or the English.
A group of lines whose metrical pattern (and usually its rime scheme as well) is repeated throughout a poem.
The form taken by a poem when it is written in a series of units having the same number of lines and usually other characteristics in common, such as metrical pattern or rime scheme.
Stream of consciousness
Narrative which presents the private thoughts of a character without commentary or interpretation by the author.
Verse measured by the number of syllables rather than the number of feet per line. Also see Haiku.
The total experience communicated by a poem. It includes all those dimensions of experience by which a poem communicates—sensuous, emotional, imaginative, and intellectual—and it can be communicated in no other words than those of the poem itself.
A meter in which a majority of the feet contain three syllables. (Actually, if more that 25 percent of the feet in a poem are triple, its effect is more triple than duple, and it ought perhaps to be referred to as triple meter.) Anapestic and dactylic are both triple meters.
A rime in which the repeated accented vowel sound is in the third last syllable of the words involved; one form of feminine rime.
A poem of fixed form, usually of a pastoral or lyric nature, consisting normally of five three-lined stanzas and a final quatrain, with only two rhymes throughout. The first and third lines of the first stanza are repeated alternately in the succeeding stanzas as a refrain, and form a final couplet in the quatrain.
Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.
Having trouble? Click here for help.
We can’t access your microphone!
Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again
Reload the page to try again!Reload
Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom
Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom
It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.
Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.
For more help, see our troubleshooting page.
Your microphone is muted
For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.
Star this term
You can study starred terms together