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Glossary of literary terms

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❶Alliteration [ change change source ] The repeating of consonant sounds.

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Ultimately, literary terms are words used to describe devices used in literature. For example, we might call the main character of a story the protagonist. Protagonist is the literary term for main character. Similarly, antagonist would be the literary term for the opposing character in a story. As noted in the other answers, there are numerous literary terms. There are many, many literary terms. Literary terms are used to describe how literature works, or how the author constructed the story or novel.

For example, point-of-view is a literary term, meaning the perspective from which the story is written. In addition, narration is a literary term. Symbolism is a literary term. Symbolism refers to another of layer of meaning if a story that is more than the literal meaning. Literary terms are words such as personification, simile, hyperbole, metaphor, and so on. They are used to describe various forms of writing by an author.

The term may also be used more generally for all different figures of speech that transpose the natural word order in sentences. A term where different subordinate clauses are used in a sentence to qualify a single verb or modify it.

A word that's tacked onto a sentence in order to add strong emotion. It's grammatically unrelated to the rest of the sentence. They are usually followed by an exclamation point. Refers to the way in which different works of literature interact with and relate to one another to construct meaning. In Japanese poetry, a seasonal word or phrase required in haiku and renku. In Japanese poetry, a "cutting word" required in haiku and hokku.

Art for art's sake. Level stress even accent. A short poem with a song-like quality, or designed to be set to music; often conveying feelings, emotions, or personal thoughts.

A work that is characterized by extravagant theatricality and by the predominance of plot and physical action over characterization. A multi-lined strophic verse form which flourished in Islamic Spain in the 11th century, written in Arabic or Hebrew. Narrative point of view. A theory or practice in literature emphasizing scientific observation of life without idealization and often including elements of determinism.

The creation of new words, some arising from acronyms, word combinations, direct translations, and the addition of prefixes or suffixes. A genre of fiction that relies on narrative and possesses a considerable length, an expected complexity, and a sequential organization of action into story and plot distinctively.

This genre is flexible in form, although prose is the standard, focuses around one or more characters, and is continuously reshaped and reformed by a speaker. A lyrical poem, sometimes sung, that focuses on the glorification of a single subject and its meaning. Often has an irregular stanza structure. An ottava rima was often used for long narratives, especially epics and mock heroic poems. Combining of various syntactic units, usually prepositions, without the use of conjunctions to form short and simple phrases.

A sequence of two or more words, forming a unit. A verb tense that describes actions just finished or continuing from the past into the present. This can also imply that past actions have present effects.

An interjected scene that takes the narrative forward in time from the current point of the story in literature, film, television and other media. A genre of Japanese collaborative poetry. In Japanese poetry , a form of popular collaborative linked verse formerly known as haikai no renga , or haikai. A form of collaborative poetry pioneered by Makoto Ooka in Japan in the s. A measured pattern of words and phrases arranged by sound, time, or events.

These patterns are [created] in verse or prose by use of stressed and unstressed syllables. A 14 line poem written in iambic pentameter. There are two types of sonnets: Group of lines offset by a space and then continuing with the next group of lines with a set pattern or number of lines.

Adjective describing poetry with lines of the same meter and length throughout, but not organized into regular stanzas. Stream of consciousness writing. A term where an entire idea is expressed by something smaller, such as a phrase or a single word; one part of the idea expresses the whole. This concept can also be reversed.

The study of how words are arranged in a sentence. In Japanese poetry, a tanka where the upper part is composed by one poet, and the lower part by another. A telestich is a poem or other form of writing in which the last letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. The real, direct meaning of a word, like a " dictionary definition".

For example, the word " dog " denotes a mammal from the family Canidae with four legs that is often kept as a pet. Looking at and thinking about opinions or ideas logically, often by questions and answers.

Using material that is not related to the subject of the work. Henry Fielding often used digression in his novels. A story written to be performed by actors. The person who writes the play writes dialogue for the characters to speak and directions for costumes , lighting , setting, and the character's movements. A poem or speech in which an imaginary character speaks to a silent listener. A solemn, formal poem about death , often for a dead person or thing.

It often begins with "In Memory of Ellipses are used often in everyday life as well as in literature. They usually look like this It is usually used in leaving out or not using words. An epic is a long narrative poem. The subject is usually serious, like something that was an important influence to a culture or nation. A piece of writing at the end of a work of literature, especially in drama. It is usually different from the whole work and is used to end it.

A short nonfiction work about a special subject from the writer's point of view. Essay comes from the Old French word essai , meaning "a trial, try, or attempt".

Foreshadowing is a literary device by which an author hints what is to come. It is used to avoid disappointment, and sometimes used to arouse readers. A short poem about simple everyday life, sometimes written in a pastoral about shepherd life or sentimental style.

Irony means to say something while meaning a different, contradictory thing. Kigo is a term Japanese poetry meaning the requirement of using a seasonal word or phrase in haiku and renku. A plot means the events that make up a story. It is important how the events connect to each other. The path of the way the events connect make up the plot of a story or book. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Acrostic [ change change source ] A form of writing where the first letter of each line, paragraph, or verse spells out a word or a message.

Allegory [ change change source ] A story or picture with two or more different meanings — a literal meaning and one or more symbolic meanings. Alliteration [ change change source ] The repeating of consonant sounds. Allusion [ change change source ] A figure of speech which refers indirectly to a situation, and leaves the reader or audience to make the connection. Analogy [ change change source ] New words, ideas, or pronunciations become like the pattern of older or more familiar ones.

Antagonist [ change change source ] The character who the main character has the most conflict with. Anecdote [ change change source ] A short and humorous funny story about a real event or person. Antihero [ change change source ] A protagonist who does not have many heroic qualities. Antonym [ change change source ] A word that is the opposite of another. Archetype [ change change source ] The good example, pattern, blueprint, or model of a type or group. Argumentation [ change change source ] The conversation or discourse in which the writer logically presents an argument.

Aside [ change change source ] In a play, an aside is a speech that the actor says in a way that the other characters are supposed not to hear it. Autobiography [ change change source ] A non-fiction story that describes ones life, written by the person themselves. Audience [ change change source ] A group of people that experience a work of art or literature.


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rows · Literary Terms and Criticism. Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN Edward Quinn. A Dictionary of Literary And Thematic Terms. Checkmark Books, ISBN Lewis Turco. The Book of Literary Terms: The Genres of Fiction, Drama, Nonfiction, Literary Criticism, and Scholarship. Univ. Press of New England, ISBN

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Anastrophe is a form of literary device wherein the order of the noun and the adjective in the sentence is exchanged. In standard parlance and writing the adjective comes before the noun but when one is employing an anastrophe the noun is followed by the adjective.

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Video: Literary Devices: Definition & Examples This lesson studies some of the more common literary devices found in literature. Devices studied include allusion, diction, epigraph, euphemism, foreshadowing, imagery, metaphor/simile, personification, point-of-view and structure. This webpage contains an alphabetical glossary of literary terms and their definitions. It focuses particularly on the material I most frequently teach (classical and medieval literature, the history of the English language, and science fiction narratives).

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Reading and Literature – A Glossary of Literary Terms 3 Character: One of the people (or animals) in a story. Climax: The high point in the action of a story. Conflict: A problem or struggle between two opposing forces in a story. There are four basic conflicts: • . Literary Terms; Poetry Lesson. Genre is an important word in the English class. We teach different genres of literature such as poetry, short stories, myths, plays, non-fiction, novels, mysteries, and so on. When we speak about a kind of literature we are really speaking about a genre of literature.