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


Boethian
Having to do with the philosophy of Boethius, i.e., a philosophy of predestination suggesting all ev

Border
In medieval manuscripts, a border is, as Kathleen Scott puts it, 'A type of book decoration placed a

Borrowing
As Simon Horobin defines it, 'The process by which words are adopted into one language from another'

Bound Morpheme
A morpheme used exclusively as part of a larger word rather than one that can stand alone and retain

Bourgeoisie
(French, 'city-dwelling') The French term bourgeoisie is a noun referring to the non-aristocratic mi

Boustrophedon
(Greek, 'as the ox turns while plowing') A method of writing in which the text is read alternately f

Bow-Wow Theory
In linguistics, the idea that language began when humans imitated animal noises or other natural sou

Bowdlerization
A later editor's censorship of sexuality, profanity, and political sentiment of an earlier author's

Bowdlerize
To censor or alter an earlier writer's work. See discussion under bowdlerization, above.

Box Set
A theatrical structure common to modern drama in which the stage consists of a single room setting i

Bradshaw Shift
Not to be confused with the Great Vowel Shift, the Bradshaw Shift is a suggested alteration to the o

Branch
One of the four groupings of Welsh tales in The Mabinogion. Tradition divides The Mabinogion into a

Breton
A Celtic language spoken in the northwestern part of France. Not to be confused with a Briton with a

Breton Lai
(also spelled Breton lay) Another term for a lai. See lai.

Bretons
The Celtic inhabitants of Brittany (Little Britain') in northeast France who speak the Breton langua

Breve
A mark in the shape of a bowl-like half circle that indicates a light stress or an unaccented syllab

Briticism
An expression or word that developed in Britain after the American colonies separated politically fr

British English
The English language in the British isles, especially in contrast with Canadian, Australian, or U.S.

Briton
An inhabitant of Britain--especially a Celtic one. Do not confuse it with a Breton, a Celtic inhabit

Broad Transcription
Imprecise phonetic transcription for general comparative purposes.

Brothers-In-Arms
Individuals in medieval warfare who have sworn a military partnership with each other, agreeing to r

Brythonic
(also spelled Brittanic) One of the two branches of the Celtic family of languages descended from Pr

Burlesque
A work that ridicules a topic by treating something exalted as if it were trivial or vice-versa. See

Business
(also called stage business) The gestures, expressions, and general activity (beyond blocking) of ac

Buskins
Originally called kothorni in Greek, the word buskins is a Renaissance term for the elegantly laced

Byronic Hero
An antihero who is a romanticized but wicked character. Conventionally, the figure is a young and at

Cacophony
(Greek, 'bad sound') The term in poetry refers to the use of words that combine sharp, harsh, hissin

Cadel
(Dutch cadel and/or French cadeau, meaning 'a gift, a little something extra') A small addition or '

Cadence
The melodic pattern just before the end of a sentence or phrase--for instance an interrogation or an

Caesura
(pluralcaesurae)

Calligraphic Work
In medieval manuscripts, this is (as Kathleen Scott states), 'Decorative work, usually developing fr

Calque
An expression formed by individually translating parts of a longer foreign expression and then combi

Cancel
A bibliographical term referring to a leaf which is substituted for one removed by the printers beca

Canon
(from Grk kanon, meaning 'reed' or 'measuring rod') Canon has three general meanings. (1) An approve

Canticle
A hymn or religious song using words from any part of the Bible except the Psalms.

Canto
A sub-division of an epic or narrative poem comparable to a chapter in a novel. Examples include the

Canzone
In general, the term has three meanings. (1) It refers generally to the words of a Provençal or I

Captivity Narrative
A narrative, usually autobiographical in origin, concerning colonials or settlers who are captured b

Cardinal Virtues
(also called the Four Pagan Virtues) In contrast to the three spiritual or Christian virtues of fide

Carpe Diem
Literally, the phrase is Latin for 'seize the day,' from carpere (to pluck, harvest, or grab) and th

Case
The inflectional form of a noun, pronoun, or (in some languages) adjective that shows how the word r

Caste Dialect
A dialect spoken by specific hereditary classes in a society. Often the use of caste dialect marks t

Catachresis
(Grk. 'misuse') A completely impossible figure of speech or an implied metaphor that results from co

Catalectic
In poetry, a catalectic line is a truncated line in which one or more unstressed syllables have been

Catalexis
In poetry, a catalectic line is shortened or truncated so that unstressed syllables drop from a line

Cataloging
Creating long lists for poetic or rhetorical effect. The technique is common in epic literature, whe

Catastrophe
The 'turning downward' of the plot in a classical tragedy. By tradition, the catastrophe occurs in t

Catchword
This phrase comes from printing, it refers to a trick printers would use to keep pages in their prop

Catharsis
An emotional discharge that brings about a moral or spiritual renewal or welcome relief from tension

Caudate Rhyme
Another term for tail-rhyme or rime couée. See discussion under tail-rhyme.

Cavalier
A follower of Charles I of England (ruled c. 1625-49) in his struggles with the Puritan-dominated pa

Cavalier Drama
A form of English drama comprising court plays that the Queen gave patronage to in the 1630s. Most c

Cavalier Poets
A group of Cavalier English lyric poets who supported King Charles I and wrote during his reign. The

Cedilla
A diacritical mark used in several languages, such as the ç in French.

Cellerage
The hollow area beneath a Renaissance stage--known in Renaissance slang as 'hell' and entered throug

Celtic
A branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Celtic includes Welsh and Breton. Celtic language

Celtic Revival
A literary movement involving increased interest in Welsh, Scottish, and Irish culture, myths, legen

Cenotaph
A carving on a tombstone or monument, often in the form of a verse poem, biblical passage, or litera

Censorship
The act of hiding, removing, altering or destroying copies of art or writing so that general public

Censorship Ordinance Of 1559
This law under Queen Elizabeth required the political censorship of public plays and all printed mat

Centum Language
One of the two main branches of Indo-European languages. These centum languages are generally associ

Ch
Another term for trochee. See trochee.

Chain Of Being
An elaborate cosmological model of the universe common in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The G

Chanson
(French, 'song to people') Old French songs or poems in dialogue form. Common subjects include quarr

Chanson De Geste
(French, 'song of deeds') These chansons are lengthy Old French poems written between the eleventh a

Character
Any representation of an individual being presented in a dramatic or narrative work through extended

Characterization
An author or poet's use of description, dialogue, dialect, and action to create in the reader an emo

Charactonym
An evocative or symbolic name given to a character that conveys his or her inner psychology or alleg

Chaucerism
In the Renaissance, experimental revivals and new word formations that were consciously designed to

Cheke System
As summarized by Baugh, a proposed method for indicating long vowels and standardizing spelling firs

Chiasm
A specific example of chiasmus, see below.

Chiasmus
(from Greek, 'cross' or 'x') A literary scheme in which the author introduces words or concepts in a

Chicano - Chicana Literature
Twentieth- and twenty-first-century writings and poetry by Mexican-American immigrants or their chil

Chivalric Romance
Another term for medieval romance. See also chivalry, below.

Chivalry
An idealized code of military and social behavior for the aristocracy in the late medieval period. T

Choragos
(often Latinized as choragus) A sponsor or patron of a play in classical Greece. Often this sponsor

Choric Figure
Any character in any type of narrative literature that serves the same purpose as a chorus in drama

Chorus
(1) A group of singers who stand alongside or off stage from the principal performers in a dramatic

Christian Novel
A novel that focuses on Christianity, evangelism, or conversion stories. Sometimes the plots are ove

Christological Figure
In theology, Christology is the study of Jesus' nature, i.e., whether Christ had both a human and di

Chronicle
A history or a record of events. It refers to any systematic account or narration of events that mak

Chronology
(Greeklogic of time)

Chthonic
Related to the dead, the grave, the underworld, or the fertility of the earth. In Greek mythology, t

Church Summoner
Medieval law courts were divided into civil courts that tried public offenses and ecclesiastical cou

Cinquain
A five-line stanza with varied meter and rhyme scheme, possibly of medieval origin but definitely in

Circular Structure
A type of artistic structure in which a sense of completeness or closure does not originate in comin

Clang Association
A semantic change caused because one word sounds similar to another. For instance, the word fruition

Classical
The term in Western culture is usually used in reference to the art, architecture, drama, philosophy

Classical Haiku
Another term for the hokku, the predecessor of the modern haiku. See hokku and haiku.

Clause
In grammatical terminology, a clause is any word-construction containing a nominative and a predicat

Clerihew
In light verse, a funny poem of closed-form with four lines rhyming ABAB in irregular meter, usually

Clich
A hackneyed or trite phrase that has become overused. Clichés are considered bad writing and bad

Clich
Cliché rhymes are rhymes that are considered trite or predictable. They include love and dove, mo

Click
A sound common in some non-Indo-European languages in Polynesia made by clucking the tongue or drawi

Cliffhanger
A melodramatic narrative (especially in films, magazines, or serially published novels) in which eac

Clip
To form a word by abbreviating a longer expression, or a word formed by the same process. For instan

Close Reading
Reading a piece of literature carefully, bit by bit, in order to analyze the significance of every i

Closed Poetic Form
Poetry written in a a specific or traditional pattern according to the required rhyme, meter, line l

Closure
(Latin clausura, 'a closing') Closure has two common meanings. First, it means a sense of completion

Clown
(1) A fool or rural bumpkin in Shakespearean vocabulary. Examples of this type of clown include Lanc