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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What is the relationship between the hypotext and the intertext?

I understand a hypotext to be a text (a sort of urtext, or at least foundational text) that influences the hypertext that comes afterwards. For example, the Song of Songs is the hypotext to Elizabeth ...
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Terminology for a novel about writing a novel

Is there a specific term for a novel (or poem, or any other artwork) whose content is concerned with writing or creating a similar art? Some examples of the kind of novels I'm thinking of: Proust's ...
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What is the name of the literary device where successive lines paraphrase each other?

The literary device I'm thinking of is when you say something, then you say it again using different words, or words which are equivalent in meaning. For example, in Psalm 137 If I forget you, ...
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Is the stormy weather an element of Naturalism in The Shining by Stephen King?

In Stephen King's novel The Shining, there seems to me to be a correlation between the weather and the sanity of Jack Torrance. Namely, as the Torrance family becomes more isolated (i.e. people from ...
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Symbolism and romanticism as literary movements

I'm trying to understand the difference between Symbolism and Romanticism as literary movements. As I understand it, the symbolists explicitly wanted to distance themselves from the romantics. But if ...
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“Tragic” vs “Tragedy”

According Owl Purdue's page on structuralism and semiotics, tragics falls under historical criticism and tragedies fall under archetypal criticism. What is the difference between a tragic and a ...
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Name of this lyrical device comparing oneself to something that's described by the same word, but in another sense of the word?

Warning: The examples contain some offensive words, but I believe that is not against the rules here? Lately I've been listening a lot to a certain hip-hop album, in which almost every track uses a ...
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What is the term for substituting a context-specific word into a well-known phrase?

What is the term for substituting a context-specific word into a well-known phrase? For example, there's a saying like "Actions speak louder than words". So I'll, for example, substitute the ...
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Is there a term for stories that act to teach the reader (not the characters) a lesson without the use fantastical elements?

Is there a term for stories that act to teach the reader (not the characters) a lesson without the use fantastical elements? For example, take a Raymond Carver short story. His characters are often ...
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Why are Shakespearean sonnets called Shakespearean sonnets?

The term Shakespearean sonnet is frequently used for sonnets with a particular verse pattern and rhyme scheme, namely ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. But from what I can find with a little reading online, this ...
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Is there a term for the boundaries of expectation as established by a story's narration?

I'd like to put a name to the group of expectations established by the narration of a story, including explicit framing devices, verb tense choices, and the narrator's omniscience. Examples: A story ...
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What is the trope known in Russian as “speaking name” called in English?

There's a trope known in Russian as "говорящее имя", i.e. "speaking name". The point of this trope is that a character's name (or surname) indicates its important, sometimes ...
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Why is the short Vietnamese piece “Learning Late Letters” called a “poem”?

"Learning Late Letters", originally written in Vietnamese by Nguyễn Hoàng Quyên, was one of the winners of the 2020 Words Without Borders Academy of Americans Poets Poems in Translation ...
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Is there a technical term for a work that is based on another, and created by modifying a few words in critical places?

I came across @Randal'Thor's creative "edit summary" ring a ding dillo, hey Puzz, merry Puzz, Work a place illo on this question and it got a chuckle out of me, but also got me thinking ...
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The name of a device by which an author reports the use of coarse language without quoting it?

Don, a soldier sleeping in a hammock, is abruptly awakened some hours earlier than expected and is quite alarmed, thinking the camp may be under attack by the enemy. The company headquarters runner ...
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What is an epic and why is there “only one epic in English Language so far”?

I’m quite familiar with novels and stories, if my personal view is concerned I would say that story is just a compact and summarised form of novel. The level of detail in novels is, obviously, much ...
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What do literary critics mean when they say a text is overdetermined?

In literary criticism one can sometimes read statements such as the following: "Helena’s love therefore is overdetermined to a degree unusual even in Shakespeare" (Michael Delahoyde quoting ...
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name of the phenomenon: accepting accusations and mold of character into the accused one

I am looking for the general name or literature examples of the following common psychological phenomenon, its nomenclature: When someone is accused of something, i.e. prostitution or murder, after a ...
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Meaning of vision du monde in Lucien Goldmann's genetic structuralism

In the 1960s the French philosopher, sociologist and literary theorist Lucien Goldmann developed a theory known as "genetic criticism" (e.g. in Sciences humaines et philosophie. Suivi de ...
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What is the difference between horizon of expectation and expectation?

I'm studying reader-response theory and wonder what is the difference between horizon of expectation and a simple expectation. In my understanding, the horizon of expectation is just expectation. It ...
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Who introduced the term close reading in the context of literature?

The Wikipedia article Close reading discusses the history of the concept and the influence of I. A. Richards and others on the New Criticism: American New Critics in the 1930s and 1940s anchored ...
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What is Proustian prose?

I was reading an article about the late Gene Wolfe which called him "the Proust of Science Fiction". Specifically: His four-volume masterpiece The Book of the New Sun (of which The Shadow of the ...
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Who was the first scholar who used the term Henriad to refer to a subset of Shakespeare's history plays?

A recent chatroom discussion about how to tag the question Portrayal of Henry Bolingbroke through different Shakespeare plays led to the question what "Henriad" actually means. According to ...
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Are there any “literary cycles” that are cyclic?

I'm thinking of a set of stories that forms a literary cycle in the traditional sense but where they are intended to form a coherent story arc regardless of where in the sequence you start? The ...
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Can stream of consciousness have punctuation/structure?

Our English teacher showed us a poem about someone trying to organize thoughts/feelings that haunt them into a list, and revising the list as they go. She claims that this style of writing is stream ...
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What is it called when a thought or idea is given physical traits?

What is it called when a thought or idea is given physical traits? One example of this is from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: For stony limits cannot hold love out In this passage, love is given a ...
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What is the meaning of “editorial novelist” and “literary dude”?

Could someone please answer the following questions? 1- What is an “editorial novelist”? 2- What does “dude” and “literary dude” mean in the following passages: All are mentioned in a New Yorker ...
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What do you call this part of a comic book/graphic novel?

Many comic books and graphic novels contain several pages (usually at the end of the book) which may expand on the lore or may contain biographical information about the authors. Others may contain ...
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Name for genre of stories where the characters are narrative-aware

I've come across several fantasy books and stories where the characters recognize a divine/supernatural force in their world which often referred to as "the narrative" or "the story". In such stories, ...
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Difference between “Ode to” and “Ode on”?

We sometimes see Ode to and sometimes Ode on. Do these both mean a poem written about something? I am a new literature student.
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Is there a formal term for “mispronunciation as a comedic device”?

Mispronunciation can be a comedic device. (Zach Galifianakis has regularly used the device in situational comedy.) I was trying to discuss the device formally, but couldn't recall a formal term ...
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What is the difference between spatial and temporal paratext?

According to Gérard Genette, the paratext is what is beyond a text, e.g.: the cover, the title, the interviews about a novel... Paratext can be devided into two categories: spatial and temporal. The ...
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Is there any technical term for a type of reading that focuses on minor characters in a literary work?

Is there any technical term for a type of reading that focuses on minor characters in a literary work? For example, a type of reading that focuses on the character of Polonius in William Shakespeare's ...
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Name for stories which do not contain names of the characters

Perhaps this is against the canons of literary construction but, is there a name for the style of tales, novels, and books which do not contain names for any of the characters? I can only think of ...
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Are the terms “metatextuality / metareference / metareferentiality” synonyms? Is the following definition correct?

Questions I would like to know if I understood correctly that "metatextuality / metareference / metareferentiality" are synonyms and can be used interchangeably. Finally I summarize what I think the ...
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What is the meaning of 'myopia' in literature studies?

Does the term myopia have a special meaning in the context of literature? Myopia is in its most direct meaning a healthcare condition: relating to, or exhibiting myopia : NEARSIGHTED Myopia or ...
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What do you call a break in rhyming in the middle of a book / poem for dramatic effect

Here's what I'm trying to say. I'm creating a children's book for a school project. I've been tasked to identify some literary devices used throughout the book. There is a section of the book which ...
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Is there a name for poems where each verse is a time period?

I'm having a hard time finding examples of this, but I found one by a man named Darryl Davis, called Almanac of a man, that goes like this: When I was five, I was supreme ruler of a boundless ...
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Is Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five an allegory of what would now be called PTSD?

Is Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five an allegory of what would now be called PTSD? Would ‘allegory’ be the correct terminology here?
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“Returning Traveller” Trope

In the poem “The Ruined Cottage” by William Wordsworth, the narrator listens to an old man sitting outside of an abandoned cottage tell of the family that used to live therein. The man describes how ...
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What is the genre after post-apocalypse?

So a lot of stories happen after a great big disaster. The cold war heated up, environmental change finally hit an abrupt point of no return, plants or the dead walk and hunt, that kind of stuff. The ...
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What would be the name for foreshadowing if it is referencing the past?

In literature, if foreshadowing is reference to future events, what would it be called if it is referencing a past event which the reader does not know?
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How to distinguish between imagery and symbolism?

I know that symbolism and imagery are two powerful devices of modern literature, especially of poetry, but a problem arises when I try to have a clear understanding of these devices. When a word or a ...
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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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What would a biography on an animal be called?

If biography means: an account of someone's life written by someone else. biographies as a branch of literature. a human life in its course. What would a biography based on a particular animal be ...
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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 genre did Arthur Hailey's works belong to?

I'm trying to find fiction works where the world of a story is an organization of certain kind (an airport, a bank, an automobile factory etc.). The most prominent writer in this genre is Arthur ...