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Superglossary - Literature
Category: General > Literature
Date & country: 11/12/2013, US
Words: 1725

Ab Ovo
(Latin, 'from the egg') This phrase refers to a narrative that starts 'at the beginning' of the plot

Abbey Theatre
The center of the Irish Dramatic movment founded in 1899 by W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, built with

Jacob Grimm's term for the way in which Old English strong verbs formed their preterites by a vowel

Abolitionist Literature
Literature, poetry, pamphlets, or propaganda written in the nineteenth century for the express purpo

Abstract Diction - Abstract Imagery
Language that describes qualities that cannot be perceived with the five senses. For instance, calli

Abstract Poem
Verse that makes little sense grammatically or syntactically but which relies on auditory patterns c

A type of catachresis known as the 'mixed metaphor.' The term is often used in a derogatory manner.

A 'normal' line of poetry with the expected number of syllables in each line, as opposed to a catale

The use of acatalectic lines in poetry--see discussion under catalectic.

(1) A recognizable manner of pronouncing words--often associated with a class, caste, ethnic group,

From Greek 'headless,' acephalous lines are lines in normal iambic pentameter that contain only nine

(From Greek acron + onyma, 'tip or end of a name') A word formed from the initial letters in a phras

The act of using or creating acronyms. (See above.)

A poem in which the first or last letters of each line vertically form a word, phrase, or sentence.

A major division in a play. Often, individual acts are divided into smaller units (scenes') that all

A real or fictional event or series of such events comprising the subject of a novel, story, narrati

Acute Accent
A diacritical mark indicating primary stress.

Additive Monster
In contrast with the composite monster, mythologists and folklorists use the label additive monster

The adekah is a section of Genesis including Genesis 22:1-19, of foundational importance in the thre

Advanced Pronunciation
In linguistics, John Algeo defines this as an early instance of a historical sound change in progres

Adventure Novel
Any novel in which exciting events and fast paced actions are more important than character developm

(also called ash in Anglo-Saxon) A letter in the Old Norse runic alphabet indicating the sound /æ

Aesthetic Distance
An effect of tone, diction, and presentation in poetry creating a sense of an experience removed fro

James Algeo defines an affix as 'a morpheme added to a baseor stem to modify its meaning' (311). If

Making words by adding an affix to a previously existing base word or stem. For instance, the affix

A sound stop with a fricative release. Affricatives involve a stop plus a movment through a fricativ

A family of languages separate from Indo-European languages. The two main branches of Afro-Asiatic a

(from Latin, 'glued to') In a now outdated linguistic classification, an agglutinative language was

Agrarian Idealism
The conviction that farming is an especially virtuous occupation in comparison with trade, craftsman

Having different parts of a sentence agree with each other in grammatical number, gender, case, mood


The Greek term for the great shame felt by a hero after failure.

A stock character in Greek drama, the alazon is a stupid braggart who is easily tricked by the cleve

(Provençal 'dawn') A medieval lyric or morning serenade about the coming of dawn. The alba's refr

A stanza written in alcaics is written in the meter created by the Greek poet Alcaeus. This stanza-f

The medieval and Renaissance precursor to modern chemistry, characterized by mystical philosophy and

A twelve-syllable line written in iambic hexameter. Alexandrines were especially popular in French p

The act of reading a story as an allegory.

The word derives from the Greek allegoria (speaking otherwise'). The term loosely describes any writ

While presenting a reader with only two alternatives may result in the logical fallacy known as fals

Repeating a consonant sound in close proximity to others, or beginning several words with the same v

Alliterative Prose
Many texts of Old English and Middle English prose use the same techniques as alliterative verse. Ae

Alliterative Revival
The general increase or surge in alliterative poetry composed in the second half of the 14th century

Alliterative Verse
A traditional form of Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse poetry in which each line has at least four stressed

A different pronunciation of a morpheme. For instance, consider the -s plural morpheme. The standard

A predictable change in the articulation of a phoneme. For example, the letter t in the word top is

A casual reference in literature to a person, place, event, or another passage of literature, often

Alphabet Poem
An acrostic poem of thirteen lines in which each line consists of two words, each word beginning wit

The adjective alphabetic refers to any writing system in which each unit or letter represents a sing

A word formed from the initial letters of other words (or syllables) pronounced with the letters of

(from the Altai mountains) A non-Indo-European language family including Turkish, Tungusic, and Mong

Alter Ego
A literary character or narrator who is a thinly disguised representation of the author, poet, or pl

The closest approximation the Icelandic Vikings had to a government/court system/police--a gathering

This adjective refers to any sound made by the tongue's approaching the gum ridge. Examples include

This adjective refers to any sound made by the tongue's approaching the gum ridge and the hard palat

Amalgamated Compound
A word originally formed from a compound, but whose form is no longer clearly connected to its origi

(from Latin, ab manus, 'by hand', plural amanuenses) A servant, slave, secretary, or scribe who take

Loosely the term is equivalent to atmosphere or mood, but more specifically, ambiance is the atmosph

In common conversation, ambiguity is a negative term applied to a vague or equivocal expression when

A semantic change in which a word gains increasingly favorable connotation. For instance, the Middle

American Dream
A theme in American literature, film, and art that expresses optimistic desires for self-improvement

American English
The English language as it developed in North America, especially in terms of its diction and the sp

An expression that is characteristic of the U.S.A. or one which first developed in America.

American Sign Language--a language composed of hand-signs for the deaf.

In classical poetry, a three-syllable poetic foot consisting of a light stress, heavy stress, and a

A three-syllable foot consisting of a heavy, light, and heavy stress. Poetry written in amphimacers

Amphisbaenic Rhyme
A poetic structure invented by Edmund Wilson in which final words in strategic lines do not rhyme in

An open-air theater, especially the unroofed public playhouses in the suburbs of London. Shakespeare

Placing an event, person, item, or verbal expression in the wrong historical period. In Shakespeare'

Poetry or song-verse modeled on the poetry of the Greek poet Anacreon--i.e., carpe diem poetry prais

The addition of an extra unstressed syllable or two at the start of a line of verse--but these addit

(Greek 'doubling') Repeating the last word of a clause at the beginning of the next clause. As Nietz

(Greek for 'recognition')

In fourfold interpretation, the anagogical reading is the fourth type of interpretation in which one

(Greekwriting back or anew)

(also spelled analog) A story that contains similar characters, situations, settings, or verbal echo

A language is analytic if it requires a certain word order to make grammatical sense--often this req

Analytical Comparison
Comparison using more and most instead of -er and -est.

Analyzed Rhyme
Another term for inexact rhyme. See below.

A foot or unit of poetry consisting of two light syllables followed by a single stressed syllable. S

(Greek, 'carried again,' also called epanaphora) The intentional repetition of beginning clauses in

Deliberately creating a sentence fragment by the omission of a clause

In linguistics, anaptyxis is the appearance of an intrusive vowel sound between two consonants when

Inverted order of words or events as a rhetorical scheme. Anastrophe is specifically a type of hyper

A branch of Indo-European languages spoken in Asia Minor, including Hittite.

A female anchorite. These women were eremites or hermits in the medieval period who would request pe

In medieval times, an enclosure in the wall of a church where an anchorite or anchoress would be sea

An eremite or hermit in the medieval period who requests permission from the local pastor to be seal

Ancillary Characters
(Latin ancillahelper or 'maid')

A short narrative account of an amusing, unusual, revealing, or interesting event. A good anecdote h

The dialects of Old English spoken in Mercia and Northumbria. Not to be confused with the word Angli

Anglican Church
The Protestant Church in England that originated when King Henry VIII broke his ties to the Vatican

The sub-branch of West Germanic including English and Frisian.

The dialect of Norman French that developed in England after William the First conquered England. Sc

(1) Historically, the term refers to a group of Teutonic tribes who invaded England in the fifth and

Animal Communication
The exchange of information among animals, especially as contrasted with human language and meta-lan

The belief that animals, plants, and objects have their own souls or spirits inhabiting them, as in

Another term for a chronicle, a brief year-by-year account of events.

Artfully using a different part of speech to act as another in violation of the normal rules of gram

(from Grk. Anther+logos, 'flower-words') Literally implying a collection of flowers, the term anthol