A Glossary of Literary Terms

Topics: Literary genres, Jane Austen, Novel Pages: 6 (1564 words) Published: December 19, 2013
A Glossary Of Literary Terms

Layal Ayoub
8053

Social Novel:

The Social novel, also known as the social problem (or social protest) novel, is a "work of fiction in which a prevailing social problem, such as gender, race, or class prejudice, is dramatized through its effect on the characters of a novel". More specific examples of social problems that are addressed in such works, include poverty, conditions in factories and mines, the plight of child labour, violence against women, rising criminality, and epidemics because of over-crowding, and poor sanitation in cities.

Terms like Thesis novel, Propaganda novel, Industrial Novel Working-class novel and Problem novel are also used to describe this type of novel; a recent development in this genre is the young adult problem novel. It is also referred to as the sociological novel. The social protest novel is a form of social novel which places an emphasis on the idea of social change, while early examples are found in 18th century England; social novels have been written throughout Europe and the United States.

Although this sub-genre of the novel is usually seen as having its origins in the 19th century, there were precursors in 18th century, like Amelia by Henry Fielding.

Epistolary Novel:

An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. The word epistolary is derived from Latin meaning a letter.

The epistolary form can add greater realism to a story, because it mimics the workings of real life. It is thus able to demonstrate differing points of view without recourse to the device of a wise narrator. Starting in the 18th century, the epistolary form was subject to much ridicule, resulting in a number of savage burlesques. The most notable example of these was Henry Fielding's Shamela (1741), written as a parody of Pamela. In it, the female narrator can be found wielding a pen and scribbling her diary entries under the most dramatic and unlikely of circumstances.

The epistolary novel slowly fell out of use in the late 18th century. Although Jane Austen tried her hand at the epistolary in juvenile writings and her novella Lady Susan, she abandoned this structure for her later work. It is thought that her lost novel First Impressions, which was redrafted to become Pride and Prejudice, may have been epistolary: Pride and Prejudice contains an unusual number of letters quoted in full and some play a critical role in the plot.

Gothic Novel:

The Gothic novel took shape mostly in England from 1790 to 1830 and falls within the category of Romantic literature. It acts, however, as a reaction against the rigidity and formality of other forms of Romantic literature. The Gothic is far from limited to this set time period, as it takes its roots from former terrorizing writing that dates back to the Middle Ages.

The setting is greatly influential in Gothic novels. It not only evokes the atmosphere of horror and dread, but also portrays the deterioration of its world. The decaying, ruined scenery implies that at one time there was a thriving world. At one time the abbey, castle, or landscape was something treasured and appreciated. Now, all that lasts is the decaying shell of a once thriving dwelling. The Gothic hero becomes a sort of archetype as we find that there is a pattern to their characterization. There is always the protagonist, usually isolated either voluntarily or involuntarily. Then there is the villain, who is the epitome of evil, either by his (usually a man) own fall from grace, or by some implied wickedness. The Wanderer, found in many Gothic tales, is the epitome of isolation as he wanders the earth in continuous exile, usually as a form of divine punishment....
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