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This is the "Terms & Concepts" page of the "Literature and English Research" guide.
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Last Updated: Nov 15, 2017 URL: http://libguides.warner.edu/literature Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Literary Terms & Concepts

  • Book: Topic Page
    The word book has come to have many meanings, e.g., any collection of sheets of paper, wood, or other material sewn or bound together; a division of a written work (books of the Bible, books of Caesar's Gallic War); and statements of financial accounting (bookkeeping).
  • Commedia dell Arte: Topic Page
    Popular form of comedy employing improvised dialogue and masked characters that flourished in Italy from the 16th to the 18th century.
  • Genre: Topic Page
    Particular kind of work within an art form, differentiated by its structure, content, or style. For instance, the novel is a literary genre and the historical novel is a genre of the novel.
  • Literary criticism: Topic Page
    Assessment and interpretation of literary works. The term ‘criticism’ is often taken to mean exclusively adverse comment, but in fact it refers to all literary assessment, whether positive or negative.
  • Metaphor: Topic Page
    Figure of speech using an analogy or close comparison between two things that are not normally treated as if they had anything in common.
  • Newbery Medal: Topic Page
    The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to US literature for children.
  • Symbolism (Literary Movement): Topic Page
    A term specifically applied to the work of late-19th-century French writers who reacted against the descriptive precision and objectivity of realism and the scientific determinism of naturalism.

Poetry Terms & Concepts

  • Accent: Topic Page
    In speech, emphasis given a particular sound, called prosodic systems.
  • Foot
    From Dictionary of Shakespeare
    A group of two or more syllables in a metric line of verse, one of which is more strongly emphasized or stressed than the others, that forms the basis of the rhythm.
  • Pentameter: Topic Page
    In prosody, a line to be scanned in five feet (see versification). The third line of Thomas Nashe's "Spring" is in pentameter: "Cold doth / not sting, / the pret / ty birds / do sing."
  • Rhyme: Topic Page
    Or rime, the most prominent of the literary artifices used in versification.
  • Scansion
    From The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
    The act of discovery or interp. of the meter (q.v.) of a poem as realized in one of its lines; also the graphic transcription thereof, usually by symbols, numbers, or letters either above the line or alone. S. is a notation system for meter in metrical poetry just as sheet music notates music or writing notates speech.
  • Tanka: Topic Page
    A Japanese verse form consisting of five lines, the first and third having five syllables, the others seven. [C19: from Japanese, from tan short + ka verse].
  • Versification: Topic Page
    Principles of metrical practice in poetry. In different literatures poetic form is achieved in various ways; usually, however, a definite and predictable pattern is evident in the language.
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