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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
3k views

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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
326 views

What is the poetic technique used in "I know why the caged bird sings"?

In Paul Laurence Dunbar's "Sympathy", when comparing the caged bird to suppressed black people in America, is the poet using metaphor or symbol?
2 votes
1 answer
82 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
103 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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
434 views

Why are some metaphors not similes?

This Master Class website says that A simile is a type of metaphor. All similes are metaphors, but not all metaphors are similes. Is this true? Can anyone cite an official textbook? Please explain ...
6 votes
1 answer
291 views

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.
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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
56 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', ...
8 votes
1 answer
164 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
154 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, ...
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, ...
-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 ...
9 votes
2 answers
254 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
488 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
105 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
159 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 ...
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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
695 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 ...
14 votes
3 answers
3k views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
289 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, ...
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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
380 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." ...
0 votes
1 answer
77 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?
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 ...
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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
536 views

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 ...
3 votes
0 answers
94 views

Forms of foregrounding: are recurrence / equivalence the same?

I'm struggling to grasp the difference between the literary devices of recurrence and equivalence. I'm preparing for an exam where we are asked to define these terms. In German, they are referred to ...
0 votes
2 answers
98 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 ...
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 ...
5 votes
5 answers
564 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 &...
2 votes
3 answers
129 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

What does postmodernism mean in terms of literature?

In trying to learn about literature I have frequently encountered the idea of postmodernism. But as I have little humanities experience I have had trouble getting my head around the concept. Can ...
3 votes
1 answer
226 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
122 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
214 views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
269 views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
223 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
330 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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
160 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
159 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
135 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
199 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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
114 views

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), nor ...
3 votes
1 answer
191 views

Categories of narrative focus

I recall that a few years back a friend was explaining how novels can fall into various categories depending on what the focus of the story is. For example, one category he mentioned was where the ...
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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
217 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
9k views

What are the major differences between Russian Formalism and New Criticism?

Where literary criticism is concerned, what are the major differences between Russian Formalism and New Criticism?
5 votes
3 answers
276 views

What is the meaning of "editorial novelist" and "literary dude"?

What is an “editorial novelist”? What do “dude” and “literary dude” mean in the following passages? All are mentioned in the New Yorker article “Easy Writers” by Arthur Krystal (21 May 2012): ...
4 votes
1 answer
318 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

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 ...