From "Objective Correlative" to "Royal Stanza".
A rhetorical device defined by T. S. Eliot as "the only way of expressing emotion in the form of art". An objective correlative is "a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events, which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts [...] are given, the emotion is immediately evoked".
A stanza of eight lines. The eight-line stanza of a sonnet is called octave.
(From Greek: song). A grand lyric poem, usually of some length. An ode includes an elaborate stanza structure, formality and stateliness in tone and lofty sentiments and thoughts. The public ode is used for ceremonial occasions (e.g. A. Tennyson's "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington"). The private ode celebrates personal and subjective occasions (e.g. J. Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale").
(From Greek: name-making). The formation and use of words imitating sounds. A figure of speech in which the sound reflects the sense. E.g. D. H. Lawrence's "The Snake": "He sipped with his straight mouth, / Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body, / Silently".
(From Italian: eighth rhyme). An eight-line iambic stanza rhyming abababcc. E.g G. G. Byron's Don Juan.
(From Greek: pointedly foolish). A figure of speech combining incongruous and apparently contradictory words and meanings for a special effect. E.g. J. Milton's Paradise Lost: "No light, but rather darkness visible".
(From Greek: beside/beyond opinion). An apparently self-contradictory statement which, on closer inspection, proves to contain a truth reconciling the conflicting opposites. E.g. T. S. Eliot's Little Gidding: "Midwinter spring is its own season / Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown, / Suspended in time, between pole and tropic".
(From Greek: alongside one another). A rhetorical device placing phrases or sentences of similar construction and meaning side by side to balance each other. Used e.g. by W. Whitman.
(From Greek: mock song). The imitative use of the words, style, attitude, tone and ideas of an author in such a way as to make them ridiculous. Usually achieved by exaggerating certain traits. A branch of satire.
(From Latin: pertaining to shepherds). A poem concerned with the lives of shepherds. Idealizes the shepherd life. A pastoral includes nostalgia for the past, a yearning for a lost innocence and the search for a simple and uncorrupted life. E.g. W. H. Auden's The Age of Anxiety.
A rhetorical device ascribing human feelings to the inanimate. Defined by J. Ruskin who held pathetic fallacy for a drawback. E.g. S. T. Coleridge's Christabel: "The one red leaf, the last of its clan / That dances as often as dance it can".
(From Greek: sudden change). Defined in Aristotle's Poetics as a reversal of fortune. The sudden change from prosperity to ruin or vice versa. E.g. in Sophocles's Oedipus Rex when the messenger comes to gladden Oedipus and to remove his fears as to his mother, but produces the opposite effect on revealing the secret of Oedipus's birth.
The attribution of human qualities to inanimate objects; the impersonation or embodiment of some quality or abstraction.
(From Greek: superfluity). Redundant use of words, deliberate or involuntary. E.g. "in this day and age" instead of "now".
The plan, design, scheme or pattern of events in a play, poem or a work of fiction. Also the organization of incident and character in such a way as to induce curiosity and suspense. Defined in Aristotle's Poetics as "the imitation of action" as well as the arrangement of incidents. According to Aristotle a plot should be "whole, that is, to have a beginning, a middle and an end" and should have structural unity. E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel defines a plot as "a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality". According to Forster, a plot is distinguished from a story in that the latter is "a narrative of events arranged in their time-sequence". The plot is how a story is told: e.g. "the king died and the queen died of grief" is the plot, while "the king died and the queen died" is the story.
A particular kind of language and its arrangement used by poets. Poetic diction usually denotes the theory and practice of neoclassicism used by the eighteenth century poets. Neoclassicism typically includes periphrasis, personification, Latinism and archaism.
The liberty allowed to the poet to handle the language according to his needs in the use of figurative speech, rhetorical devices etc.
Point of View
Also called viewpoint. The position of the narrator in relation to his story; the outlook from which the events are related. In the omniscient point of view the narrator has full access to thoughts and feelings of all the characters. In the third person point of view the narrator is one of the characters and the field of vision is confined to him or her alone. In the first person point of view the narrator is one of the characters and the story is seen through his eyes. Various combinations and shifts of point of view may be used.
(From Greek: much compounded). The repetition of conjunctions. The opposite of asyndeton.
In general, the term is used to describe the changes, developments and tendencies which are taking place in all aspects of life since 1940s or 1950s. Post-modernism may be thought of as a reaction against modernism. In literature, it is characteristic with its plurality. Some features typical of post-modernism are non-traditional approach, reaction against authority and signification, eclectic approach, use of parody and pastiche and others.
(From Greek: first combatant). The principal character or actor in a play. Equivalent of the hero. Greek drama originally consisted of a Chorus and the leader of the Chorus. It was probably Thespis who added the first actor to give greater variety to the dialogue and action. The second and third actors were added by Aeschylus and Sophocles respectively.
A figure of speech involving a play upon words. Used e.g. in J. Joyce's Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.
Also called "dibrach". A metrical foot comprising two unstressed syllables.
A stanza comprising four lines, rhymed or unrhymed. The most common stanzaic form. Used commonly in long narrative poems. Also used as a poem by itself.
As a literary method originated in France and was prominent in the 1840s to 1890s. Realism portrays life with fidelity, does not render things as beautiful when they are not or present them in any guise as they are not. Aims at the interpretation of the actualities of any aspect of life which would be free from subjective prejudice, idealism or romantic colour.
A minor character within the fictional world through whose eyes the story is seen. E.g. Nick in F. S. Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby.
The repetition of words or groups of words according to a fixed pattern to achieve the effect of euphony, emphasis or other. In literature usually applied to poetry only. E.g. In E. A. Poe's "Raven" the refrain is "nevermore".
(From Medieval Latin: in the Romantic tongue). In Old French either a courtly romance in verse or a popular book. In the thirteenth century an adventure story of chivalry or love. A romance is non-didactic, entertaining and intended for popular taste. A romance usually includes elements of fantasy, improbability, extravagance and naivety, also elements of love, adventure, the marvellous and the mythic. E.g. W. Scott's Marmion, A. Tennyson's The Idylls of the King or N. Hawthorne's The Marble Faun.
Romanticism is associated with imagination, spontaneity and boundlessness, struggles against conventions and demands a greater personal freedom for the individual. In literature, romanticism is concerned with nature and the natural and with primitive and uncivilised way of life. Emphasizes scenery, especially its more untamed and disorderly manifestations. Associates human moods with the moods of nature. Usually preoccupied with death, decay, ruins, graveyards, feelings of melancholy, sentimentality and reflectiveness.
Defined in E. M. Forster's Anatomy of Criticism as a character with realistic, complex personality possessing both positive and negative qualities. A round character develops and at the end he is different from what he was at the beginning. E.g. Scrooge in C. Dickens's A Christmas Carol.
Also called rhyme royal. A stanza form comprising seven lines in iambic pentametre rhyming ababbcc. Constructed either as a tercet and two couplets or as a quatrain and a tercet. Introduced by G. Chaucer (late 14th century). Used in late medieval literature for narrative poems.
Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 7th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers, 1999.
Vodičková, Milena, John Back. An Introduction to Literature. Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého, 2000.