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Superglossary - Literature
Category: General > Literature
Date & country: 11/12/2013, US
Words: 1716

Anti-Fraternal Satire
Medieval satire that points out (in humor or anger) the failings and hypocrisies of bad monks, friar

Anti-Semitic Literature
Literature that vilifies Jews or encourages racist attitudes toward them. Much of the religious lite

(also called bathos) a drop, often sudden and unexpected, from a dignified or important idea or situ

Antifeminist Tradition
While some women writers like Christine de Pisan and Margery Kempe advocated that women should have

A protagonist who is a non-hero or the antithesis of a traditional hero. While the traditional hero

(Greek, 'turning about') A rhetorical scheme involving repetition in reverse order


A figure, event, or symbol in the New Testament thought to be prefigured by a different figure, even

(also spelled apheresis, pluralaphaeareses, adj. Apheretic)

Linguistically, the omission of an unaccented syllable from the front of a word. Contrast with the m

From the Greek word apocalypsis (unveiling'), an apocalypse originally referred to a mystical revela

Apocopated Rhyme And Meter
Poetic use of apocope to create a rhyming word at the end of a line or to balance the number of syll

Deleting a syllable or letter from the end of a word. In The Merchant of Venice, one character says,

Another term for a moral fable--especially a beast fable.

Denying one's intention to talk or write about a subject, but making the denial in such a way that t


Breaking off as if unable to continue, stopping suddenly in the midst of a sentence, or leaving a st

Not to be confused with the punctuation mark, apostrophe is the act of addressing some abstraction o

Designed to ward off evil influence or malevolent spirits by frightening these forces away. In many

Apron Stage
A stage that projects out into the auditorium area. This enlarges the square footage available for a

The Greek term arête implies a humble and constant striving for perfection and self-improvement c

The Oxford Companion to the Bible discusses Chaldean Aramaic as a Northwest Semitic language closely

A word, expression, spelling, or phrase that is out of date in the common speech of an era, but stil

Archetypal Criticism
The analysis of a piece of literature through the examination of archetypes and archetypal patterns

An original model or pattern from which other later copies are made, especially a character, an acti

Arena Stage
A theater arrangement in which viewers sit encircling the stage completely. The actors enter and exi

(Greek, 'Hill of Ares.') (1) Also known as 'Mars Hill,' this location near the Acropolis served in c

A statement of a poem's major point--usually appearing in the introduction of the poem. Spenser pres

In Renaissance drama, a hanging tapestry or a curtain that covered a part of the frons scenae. It hi

In classical metrical analysis, Greeks referred to the stressed syllable in a metrical foot as a the

Artificial Language
Not to be confused with what linguists call grammatically synthetic (inflected) languages, artificia

The Enlightenment's desire for and obsession with standardization and regulation of the English lang

(also spelled aesc or asc when referring to runes) The letter used in Old English to indicate the so

In drama, a few words or a short passage spoken by one character to the audience while the other act

Asimovs Three Laws Of Robotics
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov originally posited Asimov's three laws in his short stories coll

Ask Word
In linguistics, Algeo defines this as any of the words whose historical /æ/ sound becomes the vow

(adjective form, aspirated) A puff of breath made along with a consonant sound while vocalizing.

Algeo defines linguistic assimilation as 'The process by which two sounds become more alike' (313).

Repeating identical or similar vowels (especially in stressed syllabes) in nearby words. Assonance i

A sub-category of puns. See discussion under pun.

A typographical symbol (*) that linguists use to show a hypothetical, abnormal, or nonoccurring form

The artistic elimination of conjunctions in a sentence to create a particular effect. See schemes fo

Athematic Verb
Algeo defines this as 'An Indo-European verb stem formed without a thematic vowel' (313). The letter

(Also called mood) The emotional feelings inspired by a work. The term is borrowed from meteorology

(also called a dawn song) A genre of poetry in which a short poem's subject is about the dawn or the

A dawn-song or aubade, but specifically one sung by a friend watching over a pair of lovers until da

Auctor - Auctoritas
The Latin word auctor is the source for the modern English word author, but the medieval word carrie

The person(s) reading a text, listening to a speaker, or observing a performance.

Auditory Imagery
Descriptive language that evokes noise, music, or other sounds. See imagery.

The German term for the philosophical movement called in English 'the Enlightenment' or the Neoclass

This adjective has two meanings, the second of which is most pertinent to English students. (1) Clas

Aureate Diction
(alias AUREATE TERMS) As Simon Horobin puts it, 'An elevated rhetorical style of writing characteriz

A family of Pacific and Indian ocean languages separate from the Indo-European family. These include

Authorial Voice
The voices or speakers used by authors when they seemingly speak for themselves in a book. (In poetr

Auto Sacramental
(Sacramental Act') A drama of one act symbolizing the sacrament of Eucharist in Spanish literature b

(Portuguese, 'act of faith'--equivalent to Span. Auto-de-fe) The late medieval church's ceremonial e

Autobiographical Novel
In contrast with the autobiography, an autobiographical novel is a semi-fictional narrative based in

A non-fictional account of a person's life--usually a celebrity, an important historical figure, or

While fans and collectors in pop culture uses the term to refer to a celebrity's signature of his or

Another term for rhetorical climax. See climax, rhetorical, below.

(from Middle Welsh odl) The term in Welsh poetry has come to acquire several meanings. In its earlie

A fanciful monster, silly creature, or a leering face drawn in the margins of a medieval manuscript.

Bachic Foot
A three-syllable foot of poetry consisting of a light stress followed by two heavy stresses. This ve

Bachic Meter
Poetry in which each foot is a three-syllable foot consisting of three heavy stresses. It is rare in

Another term for a bachic foot.

Back Vowel
A vowel made with the topmost portion of the tongue in the back of the oral cavity. These include th

(1) The process of creating a new word when speakers (often mistakenly) remove an affix or other mor

Bad Quarto
In the jargon of Shakespearean scholars, a 'bad quarto' is a copy of the play that a disloyal actor

In common parlance, song hits, folk music, and folktales or any song that tells a story are loosely

Ballad Measure
Traditionally, ballad measure consists of a four-line stanza or a quatrain containing alternating fo

Ballad Opera
An eighteenth-century comic drama featuring lyrics set to existing popular tunes. The term originate

A French verse form consisting most often of three eight-line stanzas having the same rhyme pattern,

An east-European branch of the Indo-European language family--usually grouped with the Slavic langua

A branch of Indo-European including the Slavic and Baltic languages.

(Welsh Bardd, Irish Bard) (1) An ancient Celtic poet, singer and harpist who recited heroic poems by

Base Morpheme
A free or bound morpheme, to which other meaningful sounds can be added to form words. Examples of b

(Grk, 'depth') Not to be confused with pathos, bathos is a descent in literature in which a poet or

Battle Of Hastings
This battle in 1066 CE marks the rough boundary between the end of the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) per

Beast Fable
A short, simple narrative with speaking animals as characters designed to teach a moral or social tr

Beasts Of Battle
A motif common in medieval Germanic literature (including Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and continental Ge

A heavy stress or accent in a line of poetry. The number of beats or stresses in a line usually dete

The term for a recurring folklore motif in which circumstances cause two characters in a story to en

Beheading Game
A motif from Celtic literature that appears in diverse works such as the Middle Irish Briciu's Feast

Bel Inconnu
(The Fair Unknown,' from Breton French le bel inconnu) A motif common to fairy tales, folklore and m

(Anglo-Saxonvow, becomes Modern English 'boast')

(Hebrew, 'in the beginning') (1) The opening words of the Torah (or the first five books of the Tana

(Old Norse Ber-sirk, 'bear-skin', becomes Modern English 'berserk') The Icelandic, Scandinavian, and

A typical protagonist or anti-hero from the science fiction stories of Alfred Bester, such as Ben Re

A medieval treatise listing, naming, and describing various animals and their attributes, often usin

In phonetics, a sound such as /p/, /b/, or /m/ that requires both the upper and lower lip to articul

(Germ. 'formation novel') The German term for a coming-of-age story. Also called an Erziehungsroman.

Biographical Fallacy
The error of believing, as George Kane phrases it in Chaucer studies, that 'speculative lives' of na

(Greek, bios+graphe 'life writing') A non-fictional account of a person's life--usually a celebrity,

Black Vernacular
The ethnic dialect associated with Americans of African ancestry is often called black vernacular or

Blank Verse
(also called unrhymed iambic pentameter) Unrhymed lines of ten syllables each with the even-numbered

Making a neologism by taking two or more existing expressions and shortening at least one of them. E

The spatial grouping and movement of characters on stage. Typically, good blocking ensures that all

Blocking Agent
A person, circumstance, or mentality that prevents two potential lovers from being together romantic

(OE fae∂u) The custom among certain Germanic tribes like the Anglo-Saxons or the Vikings of se

A metrical devise in some alliterative-verse poetry, especially that of the Pearl Poet and that of f