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Questions tagged [terminology]

For questions pertaining to terms used in the study of literature, including the names of the genres, tropes, terms used for analysis, and so forth.

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Is there a name for this narrative technique or style?

As I have been recently reading the books and short stories that comprise Eric Flint's 1632/Ring of Fire series, I have noticed a narrative style that I have not seen before. These books are written ...
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“Literary theory”: Genre or field?

I vaguely remember learning that "literary theory," according to some, is theory through which society and other artificial constructs are analyzed as though works of literature or art. I recall ...
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What is a “proem”, and why was this word used in the translation of the Kalevala?

The contents of Crawford's translation of the Kalevala begin, after the frontmatter that's not part of the original text, with something called a "Proem". Here it is. Obvious question: what is a ...
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Writing/Poetry technique - Requiring reader to have prior knowledge

In the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, for the reader to infer the context of the poem - why so much depends on the red wheelbarrow, the reader has to know that William Carlos ...
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What qualifies something as “Lovecraftian”?

I often hear the term "Lovecraftian" used in reference to describe certain elements of horror literature or film. I do understand this to be a reference to H.P. Lovecraft and his style of horror, but ...
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What is the term for a novel that has no chapters or paragraphs?

What is the literary term for a novel that does not have any dividing sections such as chapters or paragraphs? There may still be punctuation. I am thinking of something like Will Self's Phone.
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Style of poetry that plays with typographic rivers

In typography, rivers, or rivers of white, are gaps in typesetting, which appear to run through a paragraph of text, due to a coincidental alignment of spaces. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_(...
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Do authors ever think about the literary devices going into their work, including any political allegories? [closed]

I'm a Judy Blume fan, and I found this article on TV Tropes. I noticed that they listed a lot of common themes and patterns. Are authors aware of these things when they first write their stories, or ...
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What is pp in books?

I have a bibliographical reference: [Author] [book name]-5th ed.,pp.3-6,ch.3. What does the "pp" stand for? I don't recognize this abbreviation.
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What is the correct term for “fine words”?

Usually when writing poems or literature, the authors looks for words that can convey their ideas faithfully. The same thing happens to the readers, when suddenly they understand the problem so clear. ...
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1answer
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Is there an official definition for alliteration? [duplicate]

There is confusion about the definition of Alliteration and Rhyme. Some people define alliteration as the repetition of consonants, while others restrict alliteration to only the case when two ...
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Terminology and examples for what George Orwell calls “good bad poetry”?

Recently I bumped into an article where "The Poetry Foundation’s president, John Barr, takes a look at what separates “serious” poetry from the rest". Poetry being an art form, obviously no such ...
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The proper way to count “edition” numbering

Let's assume there is some John Doe, who is an author of Some Book. This book was published by Some Publisher in 1800, in 2 volumes. Then, it was published again in 1805, by the same publisher, with ...
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What makes a poem a Grook?

I recently learned, while listening to the flow of wisdom, music, and monologue that flows from lauir, that there's a type of poem called a 'Grook'. Quoting from the Wikipedia page: The grooks are ...
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What is the narrative device that involves using inconsequential elements in the story?

I’m looking for the narrative device that, as opposed to Chekhov’s gun, involves purposely including accounts of events or things in the narrative that are inconsequential to the main story. This ...
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Is alliteration adjacent words and/or close together words starting with the same letter? If words between are permitted then how many?

OK, I know this question isn't about literary analysis or anything but I posted this on ELU and it was put on hold (as off-topic) and I was advised to post it here. Is alliteration exclusively ...
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What's the name of the literary device used by Sheymov to refer to himself in 3rd person?

In the introduction, the author explains that he'll use third person to refer to himself: After much thought, I decided to write this book as a third-person account. For me it is a natural form of ...
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How does the Nobel committee define literature?

As you probably know, Bob Dylan, a musician, was awarded the Nobel prize. He was the first musician to receive the Nobel prize. The Nobel committee, notably, seemed to avoid the word music when ...
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What are chapter summary phrases called?

Is there a name for the literary technique of opening a chapter with a series of summary phrases? An example from Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome: Chapter II Plans discussed.—...
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What do people mean when they refer to a work as “Dostoevskian”?

I hear this term thrown around a lot, in connection to a variety of different works. They don't all share the same central themes, though - at least not necessarily. But they do all tend to be ...
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Is there a term/example for the danger in translating an idiomatic term by a loanword which exists in the language from which one is translating?

What is a technical term, used by professional translators, and are there 'notorious' instructive examples for the following danger when translating a text: I have to translate a text T from language ...
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1answer
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What is the origin of epigraphs?

What are the origins of putting epigraphs in a work? Wikipedia has this example from 1700, but no explanation on when or why epigraphs came into vogue. Facsimile of the original title page for ...
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What's it called when a short quote appears at the beginning of a chapter?

I've read several novels (Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy springs to mind, for example) in which each chapter is associated with a quote from some other piece of literature, which is usually somehow ...
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Can 'peripeteia' be a positive change too?

Peripeteia is an unexpected reversal of circumstances or a turning point. In tragedy, this sudden change of circumstances is usually a negative one. Is it possible for peripeteia to be a positive one ...
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Does literary theory have a technical term for a writer publishing the first version of one of their works in a foreign language?

Does literary theory know a technical term for the following: An accomplished writer intentionally publishes the first version of one of their texts in a language which they neither know (well), ...
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A figure of speech combining two phrases

I have read somewhere that it is typical of poems such as Nibelungenlied to use a figure of speech which in fact merges two phrases into one by the mean of a common word. An example could be the ...
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Type of book written by L.M Alcott

Somewhere or other, many years ago, I read that there was a name for the type of book written by the likes of L.M. Alcott. That they were a backlash against the novels of the time and meant to teach ...
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What is this phenomenon called?

Whenever I read a book, I create an image of how the character would look like, from the author's description, in my mind. And this image mostly would be different from person to person. However, ...
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1answer
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Terms for structural analysis of a non-linear narrative

I'm struggling to identify established terms for analyzing non-linear narratives. If the narrative chronology is the order in which events are narrated, what is the standard term for the "internal" ...
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1answer
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What is the name of the writing style in “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens? Why is that style used?

In Bleak House by Charles Dickens, the viewpoint frequently changes from Esther Summerson, or first-person, to third person. What is this style known as? Also, why did Dickens place such a important ...
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1answer
349 views

What does post-modernism mean in terms of literature?

In trying to learn about literature I have frequently encountered the idea of post-modernism. But as I have little humanities experience I have had trouble getting my head around the concept. Can ...
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What is the difference between a 'metaphor' and an 'allegory'?

What is the difference between a 'metaphor' and an 'allegory'? Their dictionary meanings are too close to distinguish. Explanation with examples will be useful. The definitions I've come across ...
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What is the difference between a philosophical novel and a novel of ideas?

Wikipedia calls the novel of ideas a subgenre of philosophical fiction, without defining the first term. The Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory (2010) uses the terms "novel of ideas" and "...
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Why is “Ode on Melancholy” an Ode?

What features of Keats's "Ode on Melancholy" make it an ode? This is a question that seems to be important in our English class, yet I don't have a comprehensive answer. Merriam-Webster defines "ode" ...
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What is Hubbard's definition of “pure science fiction”?

In his 1980 introduction to Battlefield Earth, L. Ron Hubbard claims that the novel is a work of "pure science fiction" and then sets out to define that term. However... Hubbard spends more time ...
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What is close reading?

What exactly is "close reading"? How does it relate to the study of literature? Are there any instructions about how to do a close reading of a text/passage?
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How is 'flash fiction' a distinctive genre?

"Flash Fiction" is an umbrella term used to describe any fictional work of extreme brevity, including the Six-Word Story, 140-character stories (also known as 'twitterature'), the dribble (50 words), ...
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What makes something a literary or poetic movement?

I have recently been reading about the various poetic and literary movements that occurred prior to the 21st century, and one thing that I don't understand is how they become a movement. Most of them ...
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What is the distinction between Imagism and Symbolism as poetic movements?

I have recently been reading about symbolism and imagism and they seem to me to be connected in that they were in some ways the opposite of each other, one being the movement to add greater symbolic ...
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What's the defining difference between a fairy tale and a fable?

In Is a moral lesson a requirement for fairy tales?, the commenting crowd has pressed for clear distinguishment between whether fables or fairy tales are being discussed. How do fables and fairy ...
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How are graphic novels different from comic books?

I always get confused between the terms comic-book and graphic novel. What makes a comic-book be referred to as Graphic novel? What is the difference between both of the terms?
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What is the meaning of “Director's Cut” in the context of comics?

I have noticed that a few comic titles are also referred to as Director's Cut like DC's Final Crisis 1: Director's Cut. I know what a Director's Cut is in the context of film, as discussed here on our ...
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What is the difference between a Novelette, Novella and Novel?

What are the main differences between a novelette, a novella, and a novel? As they sound fairly similar.
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What is a Byronic Hero?

I just saw this post: Was Heathcliff intentionally made a Byronic Hero? Not being familiar with literary terminology, I have no idea what a Byronic Hero is. I had read Wuthering Heights long ago (it ...
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Where does the word “diegesis” come from, and to what elements of a story, specifically, does it refer?

I've noticed that the word "diegesis" is an important term when discussing literature and literary value. Where does it come from, and what does it mean?
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Is there a name for a comic relief character that temporarily becomes highly capable?

This is a trope that I've seen sometimes in comic books. I haven't seen it in prose fiction yet. Sometimes, we see a character who provides comic relief become highly capable for a single issue or ...