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Questions tagged [terminology]

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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17 votes
1 answer
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Is there a name for books in which the narrator isn't the protagonist but someone who know them well?

Is there a name for books in which the protagonist is only observed through a secondary character's narrative? Often they are in first-person (and the "I" is not the protagonist but another ...
nuggethead's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
110 views

Literary technique in 'for peace comes dropping slow'

In the poem 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree' by W. B. Yeats, what is the literary technique being used in the phrase, 'for peace comes dropping slow'? I'm not sure if it's anthropomorphism, pathetic ...
BadUsername's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
57 views

Is a space within a work of fiction rendered 'off the page' (referred to but unseen/non-existent) part of the work's paratext?

For example, in A Streetcar named Desire Blanche and Stella's family's plantation 'Belle Reve' figures as an important space within the text, but isn't rendered directly in it - it is 'off the page', ...
ohmyfuckingglob's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
169 views

Do we have (non-biblical) literary allusions referring to person as a "χριστός"?

A great starting place for Greek literature is always Perseus Tufts, and the entry for "χριστός" returned these dictionary entries and textual allusions. As expected, we see entries for the ...
Arash Howaida's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
166 views

Is Chain Rhyme an ambiguous term? Or are Chain Rhyme and Chain Verse different things?

Wikipedia's oldest, 2004, version of the article on Chain Rhyme defines it: Chain rhyme is the linking together of stanzas by carrying a rhyme over from one stanza to the next. While older works, ...
Malady's user avatar
  • 696
-1 votes
1 answer
94 views

English teacher may be misunderstanding a sentence from a commencement speech: "there's a good chance this began with your valedictorian also saying" [closed]

In Jason Reynolds's 2018 commencement speech, it has the sentence "In high school there's a good chance this began with your valedictorian also saying, We made it, then tearing into a borderline ...
Hendrix's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
563 views

How to know if "The Importance of Being Earnest" is farce or satire or both?

If farce and satire both use irony and exaggeration to hint at something serious, then why are they different? I am reading the play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. I am getting quite ...
Dia's user avatar
  • 181
3 votes
1 answer
107 views

What is this "flashforward" technique called?

I was reading The Elusive Samurai, a manga by Yusei Matsui, which is set in the XIV century in Japan. The author uses some kind of special "flashforward" in which the characters, mostly ...
10Seconds's user avatar
  • 133
11 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is there a name for the literary device in the expression "Thanks, I hate it."?

"Thanks, I hate it!" is an expression one could use to passive-aggressively indicate a strong dislike for something. What kind of literary device is used in this saying? Can this be ...
user19705's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
161 views

Can plot development analysis (climax, denouement, etc.) apply to smaller segments throughout a work?

I am in a class where we are being taught to analyze the smaller consecutive units of text which make up chapters in the overall work (which is of a biographical-historical narrative genre), where we ...
SeligkeitIstInGott's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
701 views

What is an inciting incident?

I've been struggling to find a clear definition of what exactly an inciting incident is. According to Masterclass, an inciting incident is: The inciting incident of a story is the event that sets the ...
Jude Zambarakji's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
323 views

Is there a term for the short summary at the beginning of a chapter in a novel (or in the table of contents), sometimes facetious? [duplicate]

I understand it was a popular practice in the 16th to 18th century in European fiction, and still appears even today. Example: "Chapter II: Of Mr. Joseph Andrews his Birth, Parentage, Education, ...
Herr Rau's user avatar
  • 133
3 votes
1 answer
161 views

Technical term for "internal inconsistency"

I'm trying to remember a technical term that I encountered in literature class. It's a word probably of Greek origin, but possibly Latin. It describes an error that an author has committed in the ...
Clara Díaz Sanchez's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
396 views

Vergil or Virgil?

My understanding is that the author of the Aeneid can safely be referred to as either "Vergil" or "Virgil." So this question is not about "how should one refer to him." ...
Quuxplusone's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
78 views

Can Tolkien's work be considered as pre-raphaelic art? [closed]

A fellow friend of mine is really interested in Preraphaelites. Is the classification only subject to historic line-up?
glyph42's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
60 views

Term to describe a type of story where symbolism is necessary to understand it

I'll get straight to the point - I'm trying to find if there is a word to describe a property I've noticed. Take a standard narrative - although an understanding of symbolism / metaphor in this ...
Andura's user avatar
  • 21
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the term for a literary reference which is intended to be understood by only one other person?

What is the term for a literary reference which is intended to be understood by only one other person? I came across this term some years ago but did not record it - wrongly assuming I could easily ...
Patrick FitzGerald's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
255 views

Difference between "conte" and "nouvelle" at the time of La Fontaine

One of the works of the French poet Jean de La Fontaine is a collection of stories that's usually known as Contes et nouvelles en vers. It seems to me that this title implies that there was a ...
Charo's user avatar
  • 2,751
0 votes
2 answers
99 views

Is there a term for the final step an author takes when they "prove" a theme by assigning a reward or tragedy on a character?

For example, in the tale of the tortoise and the hare the tortoise's victory and the social acceptance it wins would be the step that proves to the reader that committing to being “slow and steady” is ...
iceninja21's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
112 views

Making trivial things big, and big things trivial

In Sherriff’s play Journey’s End, Sherriff makes a recurring point of soldiers ‘coping’ with the war by making trivial things big and big things small, so much so that deviation from this theme leads ...
Vivaan Daga's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
249 views

What is the term for the last word of each line in rhyme/poem? The word that is actually the rhyming one

If we take this ABAB stanza, for example: The people along the sand All turn and look one way. They turn their back on the land. They look at the sea all day. It's very easy to spot the words that ...
Sarke's user avatar
  • 133
2 votes
3 answers
130 views

Is there a subgenre or style where a work is made of parts that can be considered works themselves?

Typically, a long text is structured into parts, like chapters or sections. These parts have no sense, or a different sense, when they are read apart, independently of the main work. But a writer ...
nightcod3r's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
123 views

Is there a term for contextual "padding" around a character's words?

Is there a technical term for the parts displayed in italics here? He closed his eyes again, "XXXXXXX", he mumbled. The XXXXX was YYYYYY, she noticed exasperated. They don't really ...
Bartholomaios's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
250 views

What's the term for multiple levels of reality in a fictional work?

An increasing number of books nowadays have different levels of reality, as it were, with characters on one level being creations of characters on another. Good examples of this are Sofies verden and ...
In Hoc Signo's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
161 views

Is there a word for the device where an adjective or descriptive verb is applied to a nearby word rather than the word it actually describes?

Eg. "the green and climbing eyesight of a cat" ("Sir, Say No More"); "[the quarry] whose trail soon vanished in the antlered wood" ("Arrowhead Hunting"). The ...
eclarette's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
137 views

Is there a term for an item in a period piece that is used as a stand in for a more modern equivalent?

The most obvious example I could think of, was the Flintstone's "car". Obviously cars didn't exist at the time. (Neither did most of the things in the Flintstone's lives - which I think is ...
Brandon Bratcher's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
204 views

Has the puzzle genre in literary fiction been given a formal name?

I'm not talking about maximalist novels, or experimental literature or metaphysical literature. I'm talking about books where the author is not interested in making it easy for the reader to figure ...
bobsmith76's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
162 views

How do you classify a writer as a ??th century writer?

Is there a common method to adscribe a writer/painter/person as belonging to a certain century? As in "Herman Melville was a 19th century writer who...". Is it only used in such clear cases ...
user2513484's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
333 views

What is the difference between romanticism and existentialism?

It seems existentialism and romanticism are both literary movements which (1) see a man as irrational, and (2) search for meaning in an individual's life. Can we say that these movements are ...
Marina's user avatar
  • 165
2 votes
1 answer
114 views

Expression used when a subplot is the genuine plot

I'm looking for the literary expression that is used when the themes and plot of a subplot are the real plot of a narrative, which is counterpoised to another, more accessible story plot that is only ...
RoDaSm's user avatar
  • 129
5 votes
1 answer
218 views

Term for a story that is a perfect loop

Is there a noun for or an adjective that describes stories that can be read from beginning-to-end repeatedly? That is, the beginning of the story is a seamless continuation from its ending. You could ...
minseong's user avatar
  • 171
5 votes
5 answers
601 views

What exactly makes Lord of the Rings "not a trilogy"?

Yes, I know that Tolkien, the author, originally intended to release it as one single book. But for practical/various reasons, it was instead split up into three ones (confusingly consisting of two &...
S. Ginoza's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
744 views

Is Anna Karenina a modernist novel?

Almost all of Anna Karenina (1878) had a classical flavour to me. For most of the novel, the thought processes of the characters, as described by the omniscient narrator, are very linear, ordered, ...
Qwertuy's user avatar
  • 163
2 votes
1 answer
69 views

What is the word for the kind of story where the protagonist/s become corrupted by the end of the story?

There is a certain story arc that is not uncommon in many stories and real-life events, where the protagonist or essentially a group of people set out with what seems to be a just and noble cause. ...
Attitude12136's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
365 views

What does it mean when the chorus speaks "severally" in "Aias"?

I am reading James Scully's translation of Aias (also known as Ajax), in The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully. Eleven different times, per the search function ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,864
0 votes
1 answer
112 views

What is it called when the true villain of the story is revealed later on?

In Star Wars, the audience is meant to believe Darth Vader is the villain of the story, but later on it becomes apparent that the Emperor is the true villain of the saga. What is this called? I really ...
Jake Jackson's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
86 views

Terminology for the category including all of dialogues, monologues, asides and soliloquies

As far as I can understand, a play's script might include not only conventional dialogue but also monologues, asides and soliloquies along with stage directions. I'm unable to find a single term ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
321 views

Is this free indirect speech in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"?

Does Rowling use the technique of free indirect speech in this piece of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in particular in the bold part? Harry was silent. Judging by the fact that Draco ...
Aegon91's user avatar
  • 31
4 votes
0 answers
119 views

Name for a fictional or mythological character who doesn't suffer personally, but whose family and friends all do?

I feel like this must be a character archetype or mythological figure, but can't find any references to it. In my mind, it's something like Cassandra knowing the future but not being believed; this ...
Kyle Bahr's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
196 views

When did the terms "Mester de Clerecía" and "Mester de Juglaría" start to be used?

Mester de Juglaría was a genre of Spanish literature from the 12th-13th centuries, which was transmitted orally by travelling entertainers (juglares). It was later surpassed by the Mester de Clerecía, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there an equivalent to Orientalism in Eastern scholarship of the West?

Orientalism (1978) is a book by Edward Said that established the concept of "orientalism", which refers to the Western depiction of aspects in the Eastern world. Is there an equivalent to ...
sba222's user avatar
  • 183
1 vote
1 answer
62 views

What is the role of the author in an itihasa?

A number of important Hindu texts, including the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are referred to as itihasa. According to the Wikipedia article about this collection of texts, A story is considered to ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 47.3k
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Who coined the term "omniscient narrator"?

In narrative theory, A third person omniscient narrator conveys information from multiple characters, places, and events of the story, including any given characters' thoughts, and a third person ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 47.3k
3 votes
1 answer
92 views

Literary term for the stagehands on "The Masked Singer"

On the American television singing contest "The Masked Singer", there is a cast of stagehands who play an essential role. They are silent, anonymous, and wear identical dark suits and ...
SlowMagic's user avatar
  • 435
1 vote
2 answers
253 views

One generic word for novels, short stories, poetry etc. as well as non-fictional books

I'm looking for a word that can cover both fictional and non-fictional books as well as short stories, poetry etc. I'm aware of "texts" which normally can cover all written media. "...
Sam's user avatar
  • 11
2 votes
2 answers
298 views

Can all forms of drama be categorised under the four types 'tragedy', 'comedy', 'tragicomedy' and 'melodrama'?

What are the different forms of drama? On searching for the same query on the internet, I found multiple articles that called Comedy, Tragedy, Tragicomedy and Melodrama as the major forms but, there ...
Aaryan Kakkar's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
600 views

Is there a name for the narrative technique of starting at the end and then going back to the beginning? (As in Lord Jim)

I've been reading Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad, which is rife with what I would call non-standard narrative structures. There are obvious narrative peculiarities in the book that have been discussed at ...
Slider345's user avatar
  • 123
28 votes
4 answers
8k views

What is the opposite of deus ex machina?

Deus ex machina is a plot device in which a seemingly unsolvable problem is resolved by a sudden and unexpected external event. For example: "The villain has our hero backed in a corner with no ...
SlowMagic's user avatar
  • 435
2 votes
0 answers
100 views

Name for prosodic pattern in which the last line in a verse is much shorter than all the rest

I noticed this pattern in Auden's poetry where the last line in a verse will be much shorter than preceding lines. Here is one of the earliest examples, taken from Paid on Both Sides: Here a scrum ...
pseudosudo's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
179 views

What is a term for an (occasionally lengthy) passage set between chapters?

In The Forgetting*, there are passages from books (mostly the main character's diaries) set between the chapters. They generally serve to provide exposition about the world or backstory for the main ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,864