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


Code-Switching
In bilingual or multilingual speech, rapidly changing from the vocabulary, grammar, and patterns of

Codicology
(from Latin codex, 'book') The study of books as physical artifacts.

Cognate
Cognates are words that (1) match each other to some degree in sound and meaning, (2) come from a co

Collective Pronoun Collective Noun
A noun such as team or pair that technically refers to a collective group of individuals or individu

Collective Unconscious
In twentieth-century Jungian Psychology, this term refers to a shared group of archetypes (atavistic

Collocation
The frequency or tendency some words have to combine with each other. For instance, Algeo notes that

Colloquialism
A word or phrase used everyday in plain and relaxed speech, but rarely found in formal writing. (Com

Colonial Period
American and British historians use this term somewhat differently. American scholars usually use th

Colonialism
The term refers broadly and generally to the habit of powerful civilizations to 'colonize' less powe

Comedy
(from Greekkomos, 'songs of merrimakers')

Comedy Of Humors
A Renaissance drama in which numerous characters appear as the embodiment of stereotypical 'types' o

Comedy Of Innocence
(1) In anthropological terms, a comedy of innocence is a ritualized symbolic behavior (or set of suc

Comedy Of Manners
A comic drama consisting of five or three acts in which the attitudes and customs of a society are c

Comedy Of The Absurd
A modern form of comedy dramatizing the meaninglessness, uncertainty, and pointless absurdity of hum

Comic Opera
An outgrowth of the eighteenth-century ballad operas, in which new or original music is composed spe

Comic Relief
A humorous scene, incident, character, or bit of dialogue occurring after some serious or tragic mom

Coming-Of-Age Story
A novel in which an adolescent protagonist comes to adulthood by a process of experience and disillu

Comitatus
(Latin

Commedia Dellarte
A genre of Italian farce from the sixteenth-century characterized by stock characters, stock situati

Common Measure
Also called common meter, common measure consists of closed poetic quatrains rhyming ABAB or ABCB, i

Common Meter
Another term for common measure (see above).

Commonization
The linguistic term for an eponym--a common word that is derived from the proper name of a person or

Compert
(pluralcomperta)

Completeness
The second aspect of Aristotle's requirements for a tragedy. By completeness, Aristotle emphasizes t

Composite Monster
(in architecture, often called a chimera after the Greek monster) The term is one mythologists use t

Compositor
A typesetter in a Renaissance print shop. To speed the printing process, most of Shakespeare's plays

Compounding
A term from linguistics used to describe the creation of a new word (neologism') that comes about by

Compurgation
In addition to trial by ordeal, compurgation was the medieval law practice among Christianized Anglo

Conceit
(also called a metaphysical conceit) An elaborate or unusual comparison--especially one using unlike

Concrete Diction - Concrete Imagery
Language that describes qualities that can be perceived with the five senses as opposed to using abs

Concrete Poetry
Poetry that draws much of its power from the way the text appears situated on the page. The actual s

Conflation
In its more restricted literary sense, a conflation is a version of a play or narrative that later e

Conflict
The opposition between two characters (such as a protagonist and an antagonist), between two large g

Confucian Classics
Five ancient Chinese writings commonly attributed to Confucius, though it is likely they are actuall

Connotation
The extra tinge or taint of meaning each word carries beyond the minimal, strict definition found in

Consonance
A special type of alliteration in which the repeated pattern of consonants is marked by changes in t

Consonant
A speech sound that is not a vowel. To download a PDF file listing consonants and their symbols in t

Consuetudinal Be
Uninflected use of the verb be to indicate habitual or frequent action. This grammatical structure i

Contemporary Literature
Literature written 'at the present moment.' Although the writers in every century would consider the

Contextual Symbol
A unique or original symbol an author creates within the context of an individual work or an author'

Contraction
The squeezing together of sounds or words--especially when one word blurs into another--during fast

Contrapassio
(counter-suffering) A thematic principle involving situational irony in which a punishment's nature

Contrastive Pair
Another term for a minimal pair.

Control Text
A specific text upon which a modern edition is based. For instance, there are at least three dominan

Convention
A common feature that has become traditional or expected within a specific genre (category) of liter

Conventional
A conventional linguistic trait is an arbitrary one learned from others, not one determined by some

Corpus Christi Play
A religious play performed outdoors in the medieval period that enacts an event from the Bible, such

Correspondences
An integral part of the medieval and Renaissance model of the universe known as the 'Chain of Being.

Cosmic Irony
Another term for situational irony--especially situational irony connected to a fatalistic or pessim

Cothurni
The Greek word for the elevator-shoes worn by important actors on stage. See discussion under buskin

Cotton Nero A.X
The Middle English manuscript that includes Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Kni

Cotton Vitellius A.Xv
The Old English manuscript that includes The Passion of Saint Christopher, The Wonders of the East,

Counting
A technique of determining stylistic qualities of a piece of writing by counting the numbers of word

Couplet
Two lines--the second line immediately following the first--of the same metrical length that end in

Court Of Love
In medieval convention, a court of love is an assemblage of women presided over by a queen or noblew

Courtly Love
(Medieval Frenchfin amour or amour courtois)

Cradle Trick
A sub-category of the 'bed-trick,' this is a folk motif in which the position of a cradle in a dark

Creole
A native language combining the traits of multiple languages, i.e., an advanced and fully developed

Crescendo
Another term for rhetorical climax. See climax, rhetorical, above.

Crisis
(pluralcrises)

Critical Reading
Careful analysis of an essay's structure and logic in order to determine the validity of an argument

Crossed Rhyme
In long couplets, especially hexameter lines, sufficient room in the line allows a poet to use rhyme

Crossed-D
Another term for the capital letter eth.

Cthulhu Mythos
(also spelled Cthulu and Kutulu, pronounced various ways) Strongly influential in pulp science ficti

Cultural Symbol
A symbol widely or generally accepted as meaning something specific within an entire culture or soci

Cyberpunk Movement
(1) A loose school of science fiction authors including William Gibson, Bruce Stirling, Rudy Rucker,

Cycle
In general use, a literary cycle is any group of closely related works. We speak of the Scandinavian

Cyfarwydd
A Welsh professional storyteller. The equivalent Irish term is an ollamh. Cf. Bard and sceop.

Cyhydedd Hir
A syllabic verse form in ancient Welsh poetry. The octave stanza consists two quatrains of four line

Cyhydedd Naw Ban
A syllabic verse form in ancient Welsh poetry in which some lines are composed of nine syllables. Th

Cynghanedd
(pronounced kun HAN neth, lit. Welsh for 'symphony') A Welsh term that loosely denotes sound similar

Cyning
A king, another term for an Anglo-Saxon hlaford.

Cyrch A Chwta
A Welsh verse form consisting of an octave stanza of six rhyming or alliterating seven-syllable line

Cyrillic
The alphabet used to write Russian, Serbian, and Bulgarian. The name comes from the Greek missionary

Cywdd Deuair Hirion
In Welsh prosody, the term refers to a form of light verse consisting of a single couplet with seven

Cywydd
(plural, cywyddau) A fourteenth-century metrical form of Welsh lyric poetry consisting of rhyming co

Cywydd Llosgyrnog
A type of Welsh verse consisting of a sestet stanza in which the syllable count is eight, eight, sev

Dactyl
A three-syllable foot consisting of a heavy stress and two light stresses. Examples of words in Engl

Danegeld
The practice of paying extortion money to Vikings to make them go away, often associated in particul

Danelaw
(Anglo-Saxon, Dena lagu) The region of northeast England up to the southern part of Scotland that wa

Dans Macabre
(French, 'morbid dance') A gruesome motif or trend that spread through late medieval Europe's visual

Dark Lady Sonnets
Sonnets 127-147 of the Shakespearean collection published in 1609 are known loosely as the 'Dark Lad

Dawn Song
(also called an aubade) A genre of poetry common to Europe in which the poem is about the dawn or co

Dead Language
In linguistics, a dead language is one that does not change any more over time--it is 'frozen' histo

Declined Language
Also called a synthetic language, or an inflected language, a declined language is one in which word

Deconstruction
An interpretive movement in literary theory that reached its apex in the 1970s. Deconstruction rejec

Decorated Initial
In medieval manuscripts, this term refers to an introductory letter of a text division, embellished

Decorum
The requirement that individual characters, the characters' actions, and the style of speech should

Deduction
The process of logic in which a thinker takes a rule for a large, general category and assumes that

Deep Structure
In Noam Chomsky's transformational grammar, the biological 'hardwiring' in the brain that gives chil

Defamiliarization
The literary theoretical term 'defamiliarization' is an English translation for Viktor Shklovsky's R

Deism
(From Latin Deus, 'God') An intellectual religious movement en vogue through the late seventeenth ce

Demesure
(French, 'lack of measure') In French chivalric literature, the equivalent of Latin immoderatio--exc

Denotation
The minimal, strict definition of a word as found in a dictionary, disregarding any historical or em

Denouement
A French word meaning 'unknotting' or 'unwinding,' denouement refers to the outcome or result of a c

Dental Suffix
A -d or -t ending typically added to English weak verbs (i.e, 'regular verbs') in the past tense and

Descartean Reasoning
Logic of the sort championed by French philosopher René Descarte (1596-1650). This logic involves

Descent Into The Underworld
An archetype or motif in folklore, religion, mythology, or literature in which the protagonist must

Descriptivist
A grammatical treatise or dictionary is said to be descriptivist if it has the goal of describing no

Detective Novel
A mystery novel focusing on a brilliant investigator--often a detective--solving a crime. See myster