Allegory. A figurative work in which a surface narrative carries a secondary, symbolic or metaphorical meaning. In The Faerie Queene, for example, Red Cross Knight is a heroic knight in the literal narrative, but also a figure representing Everyman in the Christian journey. Many works contain allegories or are allegorical in part, but not many are entirely allegorical.
Apologue. A moral fable, usually featuring personified animals or inanimate objects which act like people to allow the author to comment on the human condition. Often, the apologue highlights the irrationality of mankind. The beast fable, and the fables of Aesop are examples. Some critics have called Samuel Johnson's Rasselas an apologue rather than a novel because it is more concerned with moral philosophy than with character or plot.
Autobiographical novel. A novel based on the author's life experience. Many novelists include in their books people and events from their own lives because remembrance is easier than creation from scratch.
Burlesque. A work designed to ridicule a style, literary form, or subject matter either by treating the exalted in a trivial way or by discussing the trivial in exalted terms (that is, with mock dignity). Burlesque concentrates on derisive imitation, usually in exaggerated terms. Literary genres (like the tragic drama) can be burlesqued, as can styles of sculpture, philosophical movements, schools of art, and so forth. See Parody, Travesty.
Caesura. A pause, metrical or rhetorical, occurring somewhere in a line of poetry. The pause may or may not be typographically indicated (usually with a comma). An example from George Herbert's "Redemption":
At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth
Of theeves and murderers: there I him espied,
Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died.
Canon. In relation to literature, this term is... [continues]
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