place in the text that treats a certain term can be found by clicking
on the term in the glossary. If a term is treated in more than one section,
discussions can be found via the links to the relevant section (BASICS,
PROSE, DRAMA, POETRY).
ab ovo beginning: the narrative or play
starts at the beginning of the story and provides all necessary background
metre: see metre.
‘to the spectators’: type of utterance in drama where the
actor directly addresses the audience.
an iambic hexameter.
effect / estrangement effect:
the audience is distanced from the action presented on stage (by the
introduction of narrative elements for instance), the aim is to impede
audience involvement in and identification with the characters and conflicts
of the story.
allegory: a narrative, whether
in prose or in verse, in which characters and actions, and sometimes
the setting as well, are contrived by the author to make coherent sense
on the ‘literal’/primary level of significance and at the
same time to signify a second, correlated order of signification.
alliteration: the same sound
is repeated at the beginning of several words or stressed syllables
in words that are in close proximity BASIC
rhyme pattern abab.
type of theatre or stage, typical for example for theatre performance
in classical antiquity (Greece and Rome), amphitheatres had a round
stage almost entirely surrounded by the audience.
non-chronological presentation of events on discourse level.
/ reduplicatio: (Greek
for ”doubling back”) the word or phrase that concludes one
line or clause is repeated at the beginning of the next.
which start in ultimas res.
a word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive phrases,
clauses or lines.
antagonist: the (influential)
opponent of the protagonist PROSE
opposition, or contrast of ideas or words in a parallel sentence construction.
the speaker fails to complete his sentence, (seemingly) overpowered
by his emotions.
addressing an absent person, a god or a personified abstraction.
apron is that part of the stage which projects beyond the proscenium
arch; any stage which consists primarily or entirely of an apron and
on which the action is not seen as framed within the proscenium; the
apron stage was used in the Elizabethan theatre.
a type of utterance in drama where the actor speaks away from other
characters, either to himself, secretly to other characters or ad spectatores.
assonance: the repetition of
the same or similar vowel sounds in the stressed syllables of words
that are in close proximity while the consonants differ BASIC
the omission of conjunctions to coordinate phrases, clauses,
or words where normally conjunctions would be used (opposite of polysyndeton).
authorial characterisation: characterisation
by the narrator in narratives or in the secondary text of a play PROSE
part of the terminology introduced by the critic Franz Stanzel
to denote a narrative situation where the narrator is not a character
in the story but who knows everything about it.
part of the terminology introduced by the critic Gérard Genette
to denote a narration where the narrator tells his or her own story.
a form of folk poetry or derived from folk poetry, a poem or
song which tells a story.
stanza / chevy chase stanza:
usually a four-line stanza which alternates tetrameter and trimeter
and rhymes abxb.
(novel of education):
a type of novel which depicts the development of the protagonist’s
mind and character from childhood to maturity and the acceptance of
his or her identity and role in society.
a theoretical approach to literature which focuses on the author’s
biography to explicate the text.
an explicit characterisation given in a block, usually when a character
a pause that occurs within a line of poetry.
a mixed metaphor.
in Gustav Freytag’s terminology the final stage of development
in a tragedy usually involving the death of the protagonist.
the way words are linked in pronunciation.
in Aristotle’s terms the cleansing emotional effect achieved by
drama as a result of the audience’s emotional involvement in the
plot and the feelings of the characters in the play.
pattern aba bcb cdc...
character: the agents in narrative,
narrative poetry or drama PROSE
from the shape of the Greek letter ‘chi’ (X); sequence of
two phrases or clauses which are parallel in syntax but reverse the
order of the corresponding words (a-b, b-a).
a group of people situated on stage and commenting throughout the play
on events and the characters’ actions.
/ gradatio (Greek for “ladder”):
arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of ascending power.
critical practice which closely investigates the composition of texts
with regard to their unifying principles.
closed structure/ form: the
individual acts of a play are tightly connected and logically built
on one another, finally leading to a clear resolution of the plot PROSE
a dramatic work in which the materials are selected and managed primarily
in order to amuse the audience and make it laugh; the ending is by convention
good and resolves previous problems, sub-categories of comedy are, for
instance, the comedy of manners, the comedy of humours, romantic comedy
or satiric comedy.
a narrative mode where the narrator explicitly or implicitly
evaluates events or characters in the story.
communication model: a
model developed by the linguist and critic Roman Jakobson which describes
literary communication as a process involving six elements: sender,
message, receiver, channel (or contact), context and code. BASIC
CONCEPTS, specifically for prose narrative see PROSE,
for drama see DRAMA,
for poetry see POETRY.
a close friend of the protagonist in whom he/she can confide and thus
disclose his/her innermost thoughts.
the sequential presentation of different characters together on stage.
two or more consonants are repeated, but the adjacent vowels differ.
overall structure of the groups of characters within a play
or a narrative.
see portmanteau word.
sequence of the same rhymes: aaaaaa...
a unit of two lines of verse, usually linked by rhyme.
a narrative situation where the personality of the narrator is hardly
noticeable (opposite: overt).
a poststructuralist approach to literature which owes its development
to the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Deconstructive
theory claims the basic instability of all meaning and it explores the
heterogeneity of meaning in literature.
the diction, theme or action which are thought appropriate in literary
texts or theatre performances, concepts of decorum change over time.
an effect of literary (‘poetic’) texts: ‘deviations’
from ordinary language use (foregrounded properties/artistic devices)
disrupt the modes of everyday perception and renew the reader’s
capacity for fresh sensation.
solution at the end of the plot.
a narrative mode that represents things that can be seen, heard or felt
in some way. One distinguishes between the description of place, the
description of time and the description of character.
utterance in drama or narrative which involves two or more characters
the choice and use of words in a text.
the verbal representation of events.
the level of transmission, HOW a story is told.
discourse-time: the time it
takes to tell the story PROSE
drama: the form of composition
designed for performance in the theatre, in which actors take the roles
of the characters, perform the indicated action, and speak the written
involves a situation in a play or narrative in which the audience or
reader shares with the author or narrator knowledge of present or future
circumstances of which a character is ignorant. In that situation, the
character unknowingly acts in a way we recognise to be grossly inappropriate
to the actual circumstances, or expects the opposite of what we know
fate holds in store, or says something that anticipates the actual outcome,
but not at all in the way that the character intends.
a type of poem consisting of the speech of a single character which,
often unintentionally, reveals the speaker’s character or thoughts.
the characters in a play.
duration: a category in the
analysis of the relation between story-time and discourse time. There
are five possible relations: summary, scene, pause, ellipsis, stretch.
dynamic character: a character
that undergoes a development throughout the narrative or play PROSE
a poem which presents a sustained meditation on a solemn theme, usually
unstressed syllables are not pronounced in a particular line in order
to make the line fit the metre.
a word or phrase in a sentence is omitted though implied by the context.
Also a category in the analysis of the relation between story time and
discourse time when discourse skips to a later part in story time PROSE
rhyme pattern abba.
rhyme at the end of a line.
line: a syntactical
unit comes to a close at the end of the line.
a long narrative, usually in verse, which deals with an event of major
national or cultural importance written in a sublime style.
a theatrical movement originating with Bertolt Brecht which developed
in reaction against realistic theatrical traditions and attempts to
prevent the audience’s emotional involvement and identification
with characters or plot using effects (alienation or estrangement effects)
such as a narrator for instance to constantly emphasise the ‘artificial’
(i.e. non-realistic) nature of the theatre event.
see loose plot.
type of novel where the narrative is conveyed entirely by an exchange
a word or expression is repeated at the end of successive phrases, clauses
a poem celebrating a wedding.
name of the protagonist is also the title of the narrative or play.
substitution of an agreeable or at least non-offensive expression for
one whose plainer meaning might be harsh or unpleasant.
something that happens in the story (with a discernable agent: action,
without agent: happening).
a character in a story or the setting.
syllables that are usually unpronounced are pronounced in a particular
line of poetry in order to make the line fit the metre.
a homodiegetic narrative situation the narrator’s perception of
events at the time of their occurence (compare narrating
explicit characterisation: a
characterisation which is made directly either by the narrator or another
the beginning of a play, in this part the audience is informed about
the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’
and ‘why’ of the events that follow.
fourth part in Gustav Freytag’s model to describe the overall
structure of plays, in this part new tension is created through further
events that delay the final catastrophe or dénouement.
sub-genre of comedy that presents highly exaggerated and caricatured
types of characters and often an unlikely plot.
figural characterisation: characterisation
made by characters in the narrative or play PROSE
the term introduced by the critic Franz Stanzel to denote the narrative
situation of heterodiegetic narrator and internal focalisation.
person narrative situation:
the term used by the critic Franz Stanzel to denote a narrative situation
where the narrator is also a character in the story and refers to him-
or herself using the first person pronoun (equivalent to Genette’s
flashback (analepsis): an event
is presented later than it would take place in a natural chronology
of the story PROSE
flashforward / prolepsis:
future events of the story are anticipated at the discourse level, an
event is made present at discourse level earlier than it would take
place in the assumed chronology of the story. PROSE
flat character: a character who
has only few character traits and does not develop or change during
the play; term introduced by the writer and critic E.M. Forster PROSE
an aspect of narration which deals with the question ‘who sees’,
‘whose perspective is adopted?’ External focalisation has
the centre of perception outside the story and thus this type of focaliser
is also called narrator focaliser, in internal focalisation the focus
of perception of a character in the story is adopted. This type of focaliser
is thus also called character focaliser.
foil character: a character who
represents a sharp contrast to the protagonist and thus serves to stress
and highlight the protagnost’s distinctive temperament. PROSE
the single unit of stress and non-stress in any given metre.
discourse see interior
verse: type of verse using irregular patterns of
stress and numbers of syllables.
frequency: the aspect of time
analysis that relates to the frequency of references which are made
at discourse level to any given event on the story level PROSE
Pyramid the model to describe the overall structure
of plays developed by Gustav Freytag.
type of rhyme where the sound of the rhyme words is identical from the
last stressed syllable onwards.
the repetition of the same words immediately next to each other.
approach in literary analysis which scrutinises gender roles and gendered
perspectives in literary text.
types or classes of literature, its members share many resemblance in
form, types of character, topic, structure, etc.
present tense used for generic statements that claim general validity.
of the novel which flourished in the late 18th and during the 19th century,
usually set in the medieval period, the plots in gothic novels develop
an atmosphere of gloom or even terror, they make liberal use of mystery,
desolate castles with secret passages, sensational or supernatural occurrences.
a form of syllabic verse originating in Japan. The traditional Haiku
has three lines, the first line has five, the second has seven and the
third has five syllables.
a rhyme where only the consonants (consonance) or the vowels (assonance)
or the spelling (eye-rhyme) is identical.
tragic flaw of a character which causes the downfall of this character.
a narrative which is told by a narrator who is not a character in the
story, terminology introduced by the critic Gérard Genette.
a type of comedy that appeals to the audience’s intellect and
has a serious purpose.
a sub-genre of the novel which takes its setting and some of the (main)
characters and events from history.
narration: a narrative which is
told by a narrator who is also a character in the story, terminology
introduced by the critic Gérard Genette.
words with the same pronunciation and / or spelling but with different
(see also inversion)
(Greek for ”stepping over”):
a figure of syntactic dislocation where phrase or words that belong
together are separated.
obvious exaggeration for emphasis or for rhetorical effect.
clauses and sentences are arranged with subordination, usually longer
sentence constructions (opposite of parataxis).
a homodiegetic narrator who witnesses and reports the events that are
narrated but who is not the protagonist.
rhyme which repeats the same words.
a characterisation which is made indirectly through description of action
or appearance of a character or other characters’ attitudes to
medias res beginning
: the narrative or play begins in the middle of the story,
when developments are already well under way without a preceding introduction
or exposition to characters and situation.
in ultimas res beginning :
beginning the discourse of the narrative or play begins at the actual
outcome or ending of the story and then proceeds to relate preceding
events in non-chronological order PROSE
a narrative mode in which direct speech is reported rather than reproduced
by another character or the narrator.
character’s consciousness is recreated apparently without any
interfering agency: (i.e. narrator) who tries to put
it into well-turned English. The character’s thoughts are presented
directly, imitating as much as possible the character’s mind style.
words within a line rhyme with each other or with the end of the line.
See also leonine rhyme.
the tension between the abstract metrical grid and the actual linguistic
and metrical realisation of verse, the term was introduced by the critics
W.K. Wimsatt and M.C. Beardsley.
the usual word order is rearranged, often for the effect of emphasis
or to maintain the meter (a type of hyperbaton).
a discrepancy between the expression of something and the intended meaning;
the words say one thing but mean another.
a concept introduced by the critic A.J. Greimas to denote a sequence
of expressions or forms joined by a common ‘semantic denominator’.
iterative reference: an aspect
of frequency in time analysis: an event takes place several times and
is referred to only once PROSE
internal rhyme where the middle of the line rhymes with the end of the
a stanza form used mainly for nonsense verse, commonly five lines rhyming
a set of ‘important’ or ‘major’ literary works
agreed by convention to be of a higher quality than other texts.
the ability to produce and understand literary texts.
plot : a
plot where there is little emphasis on the causal connections between
events in the narrative, episodes might be linked by a common character
or a common theme, also called episodic plot (opposite: tight plot).
emphasis is placed on situation comedy, slapstick and farce.
comparatively short, non-narrative poetry in which a single speaker
presents a state of mind or an emotional state.
major characters: characters
who are central to the plot and who appear frequently in the play or
an approach to literature under Marxist premises.
a one-syllable rhyme.
the principle which suggests that among possible interpretations of
any given line of verse the one that maximises the regularity of metre
for the entire poem should be chosen (i.e. the one that requires the
smallest number of irregularities), the term was introduced by the critic
rhetorical trope where an idea is deliberately expressed as being less
important than it actually is; a special case of understatement is litotes,
which denies the opposite of the thing that is being affirmed (sometimes
used synonymously with meiosis).
a type of fiction (usually a novel) which takes the writing process
as its topic.
a figure of similarity, a word or phrase is replaced by an expression
denoting an analogous circumstance in a different semantic field. The
comparison adds a new dimension of meaning to the original expression.
Unlike in simile, the comparison is not made explicit ( ‘like’
or ‘as’ are not used).
set of analytical tools used to investigate systematically a certain
a figure of contiguity, one word is substituted for another
on the basis of some material, causal, or conceptual relation.
the measured arrangement of accents and syllables in poetry. One distinguishes
metre, which counts the number of accents in each line, syllabic
metre, which counts the number of syllables in each line
metre, which counts both the number of accents and the number
of syllables in each line. In accentual-syllabic metre each single unit
of stress and non-stress is called foot. The most important foot measures
a metrical measurement of two syllables where the first syllable is
unstressed and the second syllable is stressed. (da-DUM); trochee,
a metrical measurement of two syllables where the first syllable is
stressed and the second syllable is unstressed. (DUM-da); dactyl,
a metrical measurement of three syllables where the first syllable is
stressed and the next two syllables are unstressed. (DUM-da-da);
anapaest, a metrical measurement
of three syllables where the first two syllables are unstressed and
the third syllable is stressed. (da-da-DUM) and spondee,
a metrical measurement of two syllables where both syllables are stressed.
grid: the metrical pattern that
is established as an abstract expectation in the head of the reader
on the basis of the maximisation principle, i.e. the reader or listener
expects the metrical pattern to continue as it started.
English Period: literary
mimesis: the direct presentation
or reflection of the world in art PROSE
style: the way
in which one expects the character to use language in his/her own mind.
minor characters: characters who
are not that important for the plot and appear infrequently PROSE
a type of text (narrative prose or verse) which uses the conventions
of epic for insignificant occurrences.
period from 1914 onwards.
mono-dimensional character: a
character who is presented with only a few or even just one characteristic,
mainly minor characters PROSE
a type of utterance in drama, narrative prose or poetry where one character
speaks for a lengthy period of time while other characters are present
though they do not speak.
of medieval drama which presented allegories of man’s life and
search for salvation.
the frequent repetition of one significant phrase or image
within one work or a type of situation or formula that occurs frequently
in literature, see also topos.
a character with a number of defining characteristics, which are sometimes
even conflicting, usually major characters PROSE
several plot lines in one narrative or play.
type of medieval drama based on the Bible; 'mystery' is used in the
archaic sense of the 'trade' conducted by each of the medieval guilds
who sponsored these plays.
the term used by Aristotle to denote the material (the story) on which
a literary text is based.
a technique for the representation of a character's consciousness: the
character’s thoughts are reproduced in a way one would imagine
the character to think, though the narrator continues to talk of the
character in the third person. The voices of the narrator and the character
are momentarily merged, they become a ‘dual voice’, also
called free indirect
the imaginary reader or character who is the recipient of the narrative
in the text.
a homodiegetic narrative situation the narrator’s person and perception
of events at the time of narration (compare experiencing
the kinds of utterance through which a narrative is conveyed.
past tense used to tell a narrative.
poetry that gives a verbal representation of a sequence of connected
the present tense used to tell a narrative.
narrator: the one who tells
us what is going on in the story-world.
a writing style practised especially from the second half of the nineteenth
century onwards, following the French writer Émile Zola, it typically
aims for scientific objectivity, elaborate documentation; characters
who exhibit strong animal drives such as greed and sexual desires, and
who are helpless victims both of glandular secretions within and of
sociological pressures without; the end of the naturalistic novel is
usually 'tragic' because the protagonist, a pawn to multiple compulsions,
usually disintegrates, or is wiped out.
literary period 1660-1785.
a textimmanent approach to literature.
historicism / cultural materialism:
an approach to literature which regards the literary text as
part and expression of the culture it is embedded in, influenced by
Marxist criticism, analysis of the text focuses on the discovery of
an extended piece of prose fiction.
traditional little poems for children, often nonsense-verse.
that was composed for a specific occasion.
eight lines (usually of a sonnet) marked as separate entity by the rhyme
pattern (for example: abba abba).
a long lyric poem with a serious subject written in an elevated style.
Poetry written during the Old English Period typically using accentual
onomatopoeia: the sound of the
word imitates the sound of the thing which that word denotes BASIC
open end: the difficulties of
the plot are not resolved into order or a preliminary conclusion PROSE
open structure/ form: the
scenes of a play or individual parts of the narrative only loosely hang
together (and are even exchangeable at times), the ending does not really
bring about any conclusive solution or result see also loose structure
order: an aspect of time analysis
referring to the order in which events are presented on discourse level
rima: an eight
line stanza rhyming abababcc.
a term deriving from formalist and structuralist theories indicating
a greater use of phonological, morphological, syntactic or structural
patterns in literary texts, especially poetry, than in other types of
a narrative situation where narrator is present as a distinct
overt narrator: a narrator
with a distinct personality who makes his or her opinion known (opposite:
(Greek for “sharp-dull”):
a paradoxical utterance that conjoins two terms that in ordinary usage
a daring statement which unites seemingly contradictory words but which
on closer examination proves to have unexpected meaning and truth.
the repetition of identical or similar syntactic elements (word or word
type, phrase, clause).
clauses or sentences are arranged in a series without subordination,
usually shorter sentence constructions (opposite of hypotaxis).
wordplay, using words with the same or similar sounds or spelling but
different meanings, usually for comic or satirical effect.
pause: an aspect of duration in
time analysis: story-time comes to a standstill while discourse-time
the use of words with disparaging connotations.
the turn of fortune at the climax of the plot, usually in the third
act, in Gustav Freytag’s structural model of a play.
a descriptive word or phrase is used instead of a proper name; or, conversely,
the use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated
animals, ideas, abstractions or inanimate objects are endowed with human
an early form of the novel, some critics call it a precursor of the
novel, originating in Spain, which tells of the escapades of a lighthearted
rogue or rascal, usually episodic in structure.
frame stage (also proscenium stage):
the modern stage form which places the audience in front of the stage
(as opposed to around the stage) giving the audience a view of the stage
as though it were looking at a picture, the ‘picture’ being
revealed by opening a curtain; dramatic conventions associated with
this type of stage often involve the illusion of looking into a room
through an invisible ‘fourth wall’.
see story time.
it takes to stage a play, see also discourse
a play is staged within a play as part of its story, typical feature
of revenge drama.
plot lines: different elaborations
of parts of the plot which are combined to form the entire plot PROSE
plot: the way events are causally
and logically connected PROSE
poetic function: the element
of a text which draws attention to itself as verbal message, term originated
with the linguist Roman Jakobson and refers to one of the six functions
of literary communication as schematised in the communication model.
poetic justice: signifies
the distribution, at the end of a literary work, of earthly rewards
and punishments in proportion to the virtue or vice of the various characters
the licence that is allowed a poet to deviate from common usages of
of attack: the
place in the story where the narrative’s discourse begins.
one word is repeated in different grammatical or syntactical (inflected)
forms. A special case of polyptoton is the figura etymologica which
repeats two or more words of the same stem.
the unusual repetition of the same conjunction (opposite of asyndeton)
in order to join words, phrases or sentences.
word (blend, contaminatio):
word formed by blending two words into one.
approaches to literary criticism influenced by postcolonial theories
which investigates, for example, aspects of national identities, hybrid
cultures, the significance of indigenous cultures, etc.
approaches to literary criticism influenced by poststructuralist philosophy,
one of its chief tenets is the denial of the existence of universal
principles which create meaning and coherence.
pragmatic function of language:
the function of language that refers to the mere transmission of information,
the term refers to one of the six functions of literary communication
as schematised by the linguist Roman Jakobson BASIC
speech/ text spoken by the characters of a play.
one of the three elements of a verbal comparison: the original item
that is to be described by the help of an image, in a metaphor the primum
comparandum is not necessarily mentioned explicitly. See also secundum
comparatum and tertium
proscenium arch frame: the
front of the stage, the structure separating the main acting area from
the auditorium; it usually forms a rectangular ‘picture frame’.
see picture frame
the systematic study of versification, i.e. the principles and practice
of metre, rhyme and stanza forms, sometimes the term “prosody”
is extended to include also the study of sound effects such as alliteration,
assonance, or onomatopoeia.
protagonist: the central
character of a narrative or play PROSE
an approach to literary criticism influenced by the work of Sigmund
Freud which attempts to interpret literary texts with regard to the
author’s psychological state or the psychology of the text itself.
a type of representation of consciousness: the narrator reports the
character’s thoughts in his or her (the narrator’s) language,
the level of mediation remains noticeable.
a stanza of four lines.
response theory / reception theory:
approaches to the analysis of literature which focus on the relation
between reader and text.
/ epanalepsis (framing):
a syntactic unit or verse line is framed by the same element at the
beginning and at the end.
(Early Modern Period):
literary period 1500-1660.
quick response given in order to top remarks of another speaker or to
use them to one's own advantage.
repetitive reference: an aspect
of frequency in time analysis: when an event takes place once but is
referred to or presented repeatedly PROSE
a narrative mode where speech, thought or action are rendered indirectly
thus creating a distance between the event, the utterance and the reader’s
perception of it, in most cases it informs about events in the story.
type of tragedy which focuses on the revenge for an injustice to the
protagonist or his family.
major character in revenge tragedies who seeks revenge for some injustice
done to him or his family (usually the death of a beloved person or
a family member).
departure from what speakers of a particular language apprehend to be
the standard meaning of words, or the standard order of words used to
achieve some special meaning or effect, rhetorical devices can be divided
into rhetorical schemes (or figures) and rhetorical tropes.
describe the arrangement of individual sounds (phonological schemes),
words (morphological schemes) or sentence structure (syntactical schemes).
a device of figurative language which represents a deviation from the
common or main significance of a word or phrase (semantic figures) or
include specific appeals to the audience (pragmatic figures).
a seven-line stanza in iambic pentameter rhyming ababbcc used,
among others, by James I of Scotland.
two words that have the same sound (phonemes) from the last stressed
vowel onwards (full rhyme).
a series of alternations of speed and emphasis through linguistic and
formal devices tending towards regularity.
two rhyme words with the same sound (phonemes) from the least stressed
vowel onwards and the same consonant preceding the last stressed vowel.
a fictional narrative (prose, poetry or drama) which represents
a chivalric theme or relates improbable adventures of idealised characters
in some remote or enchanted setting. Characters are usually sharply
discriminated as heroes or villains, masters or victims. The protagonist
is often solitary and isolated from a social context, the plot emphasises
adventure, and is often cast in the form of a quest for an ideal or
the pursuit of an enemy.
type of comedy which usually presents a pair of lovers and their struggle
to be united.
round character: a character
who displays several character traits and tends to develop throughout
the plot, term introduced by the writer E.M. Forster PROSE
(enjambment): a syntactical unit carries over into the next verse line.
a theory which considers literary language as deviant from everyday
language and postulates the concept of poetic function of literary texts.
type of comedy that has a critical purpose, usually attacking philosophical
notions or political practices as well as general deviations from social
norms through ridicule.
the visual representation of the distribution of stress and non-stress
scene: an aspect of duration in
time analysis: story-time and discourse-time are equal PROSE
a form of (prose) fiction which explores the positive or disastrous
effects of future scientific discovery.
those parts of the dramatic text which are not spoken on stage: stage
directions, description of setting, etc.
one of the three elements of a verbal comparison: the actual image that
is used to describe an object/person, also called vehicle. See also
and tertium comparationis.
self-characterisation: a character
characterises himself/ herself PROSE
semantic field: groups
of words and phrases that express similar ideas or concepts.
a type of tragedy modelled on the tragedies written by the Roman poet
Seneca entailing a five-act-structure, a complex plot and an elevated
style of dialogue.
a stanza of six lines or the last six lines in a sonnet linked by the
setting: the general locale,
historical time and social circumstances in which the action occurs;
the particular physical location in which the story of a narrative or
dramatic work is set PROSE
a short piece of prose fiction organised into a plot and with a kind
of dénouement at the end.
the direct (mimetic) presentation of speech or action (opposite: telling).
the concept which a sound image (signifier) denotes, signified and signifier
are inseparable like the two sides of a coin, taken together they are
the sign which refers to an object in reality (referent).
the sound image used to refer to a concept (signified), signified and
signifier are inseparable like the two sides of a coin, taken together
they are the sign which refers to an object in reality (referent).
two things are openly compared with each other, using by ‘like’
narratives or plays with only one plot line.
singulative reference: an
aspect of frequency in time analysis: an event takes place once and
is referred to once on discourse level. PROSE
stretch: an aspect of duration
in time analysis where discourse-time is longer than story-time PROSE
also industrial novel or Condition of England novel, associated with
the development of nineteenth-century realism gives a portrait of society,
especially of lower parts of society, dealing with and criticising the
living conditions created by industrial development or by a particular
sociolect: linguistic style which
reveals a speaker’s social background and origin. BASIC
a form of monologue, where no other person is present on stage beside
the speaker, usually reveals the speaker’s thoughts or feelings.
a lyric poem consisting of a single stanza of 14 lines linked by an
intricate rhyme scheme.
the most mimetic narrative mode, since it seems to give an almost unmediated
representation of 'actual' speech events.
summary: an aspect of duration
in time analysis: discourse-time is shorter than story-time. PROSE
nine-line stanza rhyming ababbcbcc, the first eight lines are
iambic pentameters, the last line is an alexandrine.
type of syllabic metre introduced by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins
where the number of stresses in a line are counted, the number of syllables
between the stresses vary.
stage conventions: conventions
concerning the actual performance of plays.
properties (i.e. objects) used on stage.
a sub-unit into which the sequence of lines which make up a poem is
static character: a character
who shows little or no development throughout the narrative or play,
mainly minor characters PROSE
continuous run of lines of the same length and the same metre, no subdivision
a special turn allocation where the speakers’ alternating turns
are of one line each.
story time: the temporal span
of the sequence of events which is described in the narrative or play
story: the chronological sequence
of events and actions involving characters. PROSE
[story vs. discourse] DRAMA
[story vs. plot]
of consciousness: a
concept developed in psychology by William James which denotes the idea
that one’s thoughts are not orderly and well-formulated but more
of a jumbled-up sequence of associations, these are not necessarily
verbal but also include other sensual perceptions.
an approach to literary analysis influenced by semiotics and
structural linguistics, structuralist analysis focuses on the discovery
of structures and their functions in literary texts.
the way in which language is used. Two major aspects have to be regarded
when examining the style of a text: diction and syntax.
plot which is less important than and separate from the main plot though
usually linked to it.
one metrical foot from a regular pattern is replaced by another
one, this does not change the overall metrical pattern.
the tension that the reader or audience experiences when the outcome
of events or the cause for certain results in a narrative or play are
metrical pattern in which each line has a prescribed number of syllables
but the number of stresses varies.
an object or event representing an abstract concept.
symbolic space spaces which point towards secondary
levels of meaning in the text PROSE
a combination of anaphora and epistrophe, so that one word or phrase
is repeated at the beginning and another word or phrase is repeated
at the end of successive phrases, clauses or sentences.
the description of one kind of sensual perception in terms of another.
a figure of contiguity (form of metonymy), the use of a part
for the whole, or the whole for the part: ‘pars pro toto’
or ‘totum pro parte’.
use of words with the same or similar meanings.
rhyme pattern aab ccb where b is the tail rhyme.
the same idea or concept is repeatedly expressed through additional
words, phrases, or sentences.
a form of presentation where the mediator is very noticeable.
telling name: explicit characterisation
of a character through his/her name PROSE
with the question 'in what time / when does the action take place?'
the meaning of an image, term introduced by the critic I.A. Richards
who distinguishes between tenor and vehicle (the actual image used).
a three-line stanza.
element of similarity in a metaphor or simile, which provides the common
ground between the two parts of the image. See also
primum comparandum and secundum
rima: a sequence
of three-line stanzas rhyming aba bcb cdc etc.
the abstract topic which a literary text represents to the reader or
the 16th and 17th centuries, critics of the drama in Italy and France
added to Aristotle's ‘unity of action’ two other unities,
to constitute one of the rules of drama known as ‘the three unities’;
on the assumption that the achievement of an illusion of reality in
the audience of a stage play (verisimilitude) requires that the action
represented by a play approximate the actual conditions of the staging
of the play, they imposed the ‘unity of place’ (that the
action represented be limited to a single location) and the requirement
of the ‘unity of time’ (that the time represented be limited
to the two or three hours it takes to act the play, or at most to a
single day of either 12 or 24 hours).
plot: a type
of plot where everything happens for a reason or a purpose and one event
is the consequence of another (opposite: loose or episodic plot).
a commonplace, an older term for motif deriving from classical rhetoric
and denoting recurring formulas or types of situation in literary texts.
dramatic sub-genre marked by representations of serious actions which
end in disaster for the protagonist.
a sub-genre of tragedy which intermingles conventions derived from both
comedy and tragedy, usually with a tragic ending.
rhyme: a rhyme
on three syllables.
the number of lines in a character’s speech in a play.
type: representatives of a single
and stereotyped character category PROSE
unity of place, unity
of plot, unity of time:
see three unities.
a narration where there is reason to mistrust the truthfulness or penetration
of the narrator's version of events.
the image which conveys the meaning in a metaphor or simile, terminology
introduced by the critic I.A. Richards who distinguishes between tenor
(the meaning that is conveyed by the image) and vehicle.
literary period 1832-1901.
a stanza form originating in France with an intricate verse and rhyme
brief verbal expression which is intentionally contrived to create a
comic surprise and combines humour and intellect.
rhetorically created setting in a play.
the creation of vivid images of scenery and atmosphere in the
viewer’s mind by means of rhetorical devices .
(Greek for ”yoking”):
one verb controls two or more objects that have different syntactic
and semantic relations to it.