Glossary of Terms for the Analysis of Literature
ACROSTIC - Usually verse arranged in such a way as to present names or phrases or sentences when certain letters selected according to an orderly sequence are brought together to form an alphabet, a name (often that of the author, a patron, or a loved one), or some other concealed message. AESTHETICS – Philosophical investigation into the nature of beauty and the perception of beauty, especially the arts; the theory of art or of artistic tastes. AFFLATUS – a Latin term for poetic inspiration.
ALLEGORY - A story or visual image with a second distinct meaning partially hidden behind its literal or visible meaning. The characters in an allegory often represent abstract concepts, such as faith, innocence, or evil. An allegory may be conceived as a METAPHOR that is extended into a structured system. E.g. George Orwell's Animal Farm is an allegory of totalitarian (specifically Communistic) states. ALLITERATION - Repetition of the same sound beginning several words in sequence. *Let us go forth to lead the land we love. J. F. Kennedy, Inaugural *Viri validis cum viribus luctant. Ennius
*Veni, vidi, vici. Julius Caesar
ALLUSION - An explicit or implicit reference to a fictional, mythological, or historical person, place, or event, outside the story. The narrator does not explain the nature and relevance of the allusion but relies on the reader's familiarity with the reference. Allusions enrich a story by suggesting similarities to comparable circumstances in another time or place. Explicit allusions are signaled openly by the narrator, "As Vergil said.." Such allusions are rare in the highly literate aesthetic of antiquity. Allusions can include a citation (verbatim reference to another text) or an evocation (picks up on certain words, phrases, or ideas). AMBIGUITY - Either a faulty, vague expression, or a poetic device which deliberately uses a word or expression to signify two or more distinct references, attitudes or feelings. The word has both connotations (secondary or associated significations) and denotations (primary signification or reference). AMOEBEAN VERSE - a poetic form in which two characters chant alternate lines, couplets, or stanzas, in competition or debate with one another.
ANACHRONISM - False assignment of an event, person, scene or language to a time when the event or thing or person did not exist.
ANACHRONY - Used to denote a discrepancy between the order in which events of the story occur and the order in which they are presented to the reader in the PLOT. ANACOLUTHON - Lack of grammatical sequence; a change in the grammatical construction within the same sentence, leaving the first part broken or unfinished.
ANADIPLOSIS - ("doubling back") the rhetorical repetition of one or several words; specifically, repetition of a word that ends one clause at the beginning of the next. ANALEPSIS - a form of ANACHRONY by which some of the events of a story are related at a point in the narrative after later story-events have already been recounted. AKA Flashback; Retrospection.
ANALOGY - A comparison that demonstrates the similarity or similarities between two things or concepts.
ANAPHORA - The repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses or lines. ANASTROPHE - Transposition of normal word order; most often found in Latin in the case of prepositions and the words they control. Anastrophe is a form of hyperbaton. ANTECEDENT SCENARIO - The pre-existing situation assumed at the start of a narrative. In poetry, this is almost always re-constructed by the reader from fragmentary evidence in the narrative. ANTICLIMAX - An abrupt lapse from growing intensity to triviality. Where the effect is unintentionally feeble or ridiculous it is termed BATHOS.
ANTIPHRASIS - When a single word is used in a sense directly opposite to its usual meaning; the briefest form of irony.
ANTISTROPHE - Repetition of the same word or phrase at the end...
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