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Lit. terms for the MA English Comps Brooklyn College

Define Allegory: Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself.
Define Alliteration: Used for poetic effect, a repetition of the initial sounds of several words in a group.
What was the Augustan Age? Term for the 18th Century in Eng. Lit; Term Augustan Age comes from the imitation of original classical writers (Virgil and Horace).
Blank Verse A poem that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. John Berryman's "The Ball Poem" is a good example.
Canon of Literature A body of writings established by scholars as being authentic. Author's works which are accepted as genuine (Shakespeare Canon)
Comedy A Literary work which is amusing and ends happily. May contain lovers, entertaining scoundrels, amusing situations, etc.
Courtly Love Idealized women; lover is stricken by beloved's beauty; places her on pedestal; lover's feelings ennoble him, make him worthy of sovereign mistress. Longs for union to get moral excellence.
Chivalric Romance 12th C. France; narrative form that represents courtly/chivalric age of highly developed manners and civility; tournaments, dragons, monsters slain for damsel's sake; chivalric ideals.
Cultural Studies Represents cross-disciplinary enterprise for analysizing conditions that affect production/reception and cult. significance of institutions; spec. function of social/political forces & power structures; endow them with their social "meanings".
Deconstruction Practice of reading which questions and subverts the assumption that the sys. of language provides grounds adequate to establish boundaries, coherence or unity and determinate meanings of a lit. text. Designed to show conflicting forces in text; Derrida.
Dialogic Criticism Mikhail Bakhtin; lit work is not a text whose meanings are produced by the play of impersonal linguistic or econ. or cult forces; site for the dialogic interaction of mult. voices or modes of discourse; not verbal, social phenomenon.
Dramatic Irony Involves a sit. or play/narrative in which the audience shares with the author knowledge of present or future circumstances of which a character is ignorant.
Dream Vision Widely employed by medieval poets; sit. in which narrator falls asleep and dreams the events he goes on to relate, often he is lead by a guide, human or animal; allegorical in part. Dante's DC.
Elegy Denotes any poem written in elegiac meter, alternating hexameter an d pentameter lines. Ref. to the subject matter of change and loss expressed in elegiac form, esp. complaints re Love. Donne.
Enlightenment Intellectual movement and cultural ambiance dev. in W. Europe during 17th C.; trust in universal and uniform human reason to resolve crucial probs and est. norms in life thru reasoning. Lib. of mankind from self-caused state of minority to maturity.
Epic Simile Formal sustained similes in which the secondary object is elaborated beyond its points of close parallel to the primary subject or tenor; imitated from Homer by Virgil, Milton, etc. enhance ceremonial quality of narr. style.
Feminist Criticism Umbrella term for a number of different crit. approaches that seek to distinguish the human experience from the male exp. FC's draw attn to the ways in which patriarchal social structures have marginalized women and male authors have exploited them.
Formalism Views literature primarily as a specialized use of language and proposes fundamental opp. bet the literary use of language and the ordinary use of language. Placed focus on formal patterns/devices of lit. to excl. of subj. matter/soc. norms.
Frame Story A Preliminary narrative within which characters tell a series of short narratives. Arabian Nights, eg. Chaucer: Canterbury Tales. Dev. frame story of journey, dialogue, interactions of Cant. pilgrims to degree it became organized plot.
Free Verse Printed in short lines; rhythmic pattern not organized into reg. metrical form; irregular line lengths; lacks rhyme or uses it only sporadically. Langston Hughes: Mother to Son.
Gothic Novel Type of Prose Fiction which uses gloomy castles, dungeons, etc. Focused on sufferings imposed on innocent heroine by cruel villain; made use of ghosts, mysterious disappearances, etc. Frankenstein; Northanger Abbey; Jane Eyre.
Great Chain of Being Grounded in ideas about the nature of God, or the first cause; developed by later thinkers into a comprehensive philosophy for origin, types, relationships of all living things in universe.
Harlem Renaissance A period of remarkable creativity in literature, music, dance, painting and sculpture by African-Americans, from the end of the First World War in 1917-1920’s.
Humanism 16th Century term coined to signify one who taught or wrote in the “studia humanitatis” or the humanities. Grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, and moral philosophy , as distinguished from fields less concerned with moral and imaginative aspects.
Irony oot sense of dissembling, or of hiding what is actually the case; not, however, in order to deceive but to achieve special rhetorical or artistic effects.
Marxism critical approaches to literature that draw inspiration from the social and economic theories of Karl Marx. Marx maintained that material production, or economics, ultimately determines the course of history, and in turn influences social structures.
Metaphor a word or expression that in literal usage denotes one kind of thing is applied to a distinctly different kind of thing, without asserting a comparison.
Metaphysical poets 17th C. Poets who employed similar poetic procedures and imagery to indicate common style, fig. language, and way of organizing the meditative proc. of poetic argument.
Meter Recurrence, in units, of a prominent feature in the sequence of speech sounds of lang. Basic rhythmic structure of a verse.
Modernism Modern thought, character, or practice. Encompasses activities/output of those who felt the trad. forms of cultural exp. were becoming outdated in the new economic/social/ political conditions of an emerging industrialized world.
Naturalism a literary movement that seeks to replicate a believable everyday reality, as opposed to such movements as Romanticism or Surrealism, in which subjects may receive highly symbolic, idealistic; heredity and social environment determine one's character.
New Criticism A formalistic approach to literature, once called New Criticism, involves a close reading of the text. Formalistic critics believe that all information essential to the interpretation of a work must be found within the work itself.
New Historicism breaks down distinctions between “literature” and “historical context” by examining the contemporary production and reception of literary texts, including the dominant social, political, and moral movements of the time.
Postcolonial studies Literature by and about people from former European colonies; aims to expand the canon of Western literature & challenge Eurocentric assumptions about literature, especially through examination of questions of otherness, identity, and race.
Postmodernism Postmodern literature is characterized by a disjointed, fragmented pastiche of high and low culture that reflects the absence of tradition and structure in a world driven by technology and consumerism.
Poststructuralism criticized structuralism for its claims to scientific objectivity, including its assumption that the system of signs in which language operates was stable.
Problem play play dealing with a particular social problem in a realistic manner designed to change public opinion; also called a thesis play. Henrik Ibsen's A Doll’s House and George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs Warren’s Profession on prostitution.
Prosody The systematic study of versification, covering the principles of meter, rhyth, rhyme, and stanza forms; or a particular system of versification.
Psychoanalytic criticism critic analyzes the language and symbolism of a text to reverse the process of the dream work and arrive at the underlying latent thoughts.
Psychological criticism the application of psychoanalysis within literature.
Reader-response criticism concerned with how the work is viewed by the audience. In this approach, the reader creates meaning, not the author or the work. RRC analyzes the reader's role in the production of meaning; accounts for strategies used by author to elicit response.
Sonnet A sonnet is a fourteen-line lyric poem in a single stanza, in which lines of iambic pentameter are linked by an elaborate rhyme scheme.
Stream of consciousness Variant of the limited third-person point of vew; the narrator relates only what is experienced by a character's mind from moment to moment, presenting life as thought process, or interior monologue; any lengthy passages of introspection in literature.
Created by: mvg1269



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