33 votes
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What is the opposite of deus ex machina?

The terms Chekhov's gun and foreshadowing may fit the bill. In the above example, you could say the eventual solution of the problem had been foreshadowed throughout the story, or that it was set up ...
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  • 453
30 votes
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What's it called when a short quote appears at the beginning of a chapter?

As Spagirl commented, it is an epigraph. As the great and powerful Oz Google puts it (borrowing from dictionary.com, which in turn borrows from Oxford dictionary), an epigraph is a short ...
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  • 4,506
21 votes
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How are graphic novels different from comic books?

Graphic novel is a sub-category of comic books (which are, in turn, as subset of comics). For me (and hopefully for some other people out there), graphic novels represent a more coherent, complete, ...
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  • 8,017
20 votes
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What is a Byronic Hero?

Byronic heroes were based off of Lord Byron's epic poem Child Harold's Pilgrimage. According to Lord Macaulay in Rupert Christiansen's Romantic Affinities: Portraits From an Age, 1780- 1830, this is a ...
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18 votes
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What is the difference between a Novelette, Novella and Novel?

(Thanks to @Standback for making edits) It's to do with how much content there is. A novelette is longer than a short story, but shorter than a novella. The word count is usually between 7,500 words ...
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16 votes

What is an epic and why is there “only one epic in English Language so far”?

Since Milton is often discussed in the context of Renaissance literature, I'll quote the definition of "epic" from The Renaissance (edited by Marion Wynne-Davies, Bloomsbury Guides to ...
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14 votes

What is a Byronic Hero?

It's complicated, but a Byronic hero tends to be rebellious, a loner, darkly romantic, and often an antihero. Shmoop's literature glossary has a short description: Cooked up by the "mad, bad, ...
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14 votes

What is the distinction between Imagism and Symbolism as poetic movements?

Symbolism was largely a European movement in the late 19th century, associated with such poets as Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, and Verlaine. They believed that artistic truth could not be depicted ...
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14 votes
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Is there an equivalent to Orientalism in Eastern scholarship of the West?

The counterpart to the term "orientalism" is, rather unsurprisingly, occidentalism, which Wikipedia defines as follows: Occidentalism refers to and identifies representations of the Western ...
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13 votes
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Terminology and examples for what George Orwell calls "good bad poetry"?

TL;DR: Orwell’s ‘good bad’ poetry is ‘bad’ because it is superficial (lacking in aesthetic, intellectual, psychological or moral depth), but ‘good’ because it is skilfully written and enjoyable to ...
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  • 39.1k
12 votes

In musical theatre, what does "book by" mean?

The book the element of the musical that consists of plot, characters, and spoken dialogue. The book writer is the person who develops the plot, characters, and dialogue for the stage. These can be ...
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  • 15.3k
11 votes

What is pp in books?

The "pp" refers to a page range, e.g. "pp. 3-6" means page three through page six. I'm not entirely sure what citation style you're using, but this convention is used in the MLA citation style, as ...
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  • 119
11 votes
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Is there a term for epic poetry’s detailed, successive introductions of multiple characters?

Such introductions and descriptions are called epic catalogues. Barbarians are sometimes known to refer to them as epic catalogs. The term catalogue is not restricted to characters. Lists of armies, ...
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10 votes
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What is the meaning of "Director's Cut" in the context of comics?

It does apply to comics, although comics really have no direct correlation to a film director. The term is applied to any comic that is a reprint of any particular issue with added commentary by the ...
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10 votes

Terminology and examples for what George Orwell calls "good bad poetry"?

I believe "good bad poem" is a description specific to Orwell. The more common term for critically disdained poetry is doggerel. This can either mean a poem in verse that is structurally flawed (...
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10 votes

What is the opposite of deus ex machina?

The closest literary term for this is most likely anagnorisis. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms by Chris Baldick (Second edition. Oxford University Press, 2001) defines the term as ...
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9 votes

What is Hubbard's definition of "pure science fiction"?

Let me start with this paragraph where Hubbard speaks of "imaginative fiction": When you mix science fiction with fantasy you do not have a pure genre. The two are, to a professional, separate ...
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  • 6,624
9 votes

How is 'flash fiction' a distinctive genre?

You might think of flash fiction as a very short story (it is sometimes also referred to as a short short story). Most magazines that specialize solely in flash fiction don't accept fiction that is ...
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  • 1,167
9 votes
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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?

Dr. L. Kip Wheeler's glossary of literary terms defines alliteration as Repeating a consonant sound in close proximity to others, or beginning several words with the same vowel sound. The glossary ...
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  • 38.2k
9 votes

Terminology and examples for what George Orwell calls "good bad poetry"?

Orwell's original essay is primarily about Rudyard Kipling, and I don't believe he ever worked out a full theory of "good bad poetry". He cites other examples: There is a great deal of good bad ...
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  • 4,888
8 votes
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What's the defining difference between a fairy tale and a fable?

From the dictionary definition of a fable: A short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral Oxford Dictionaries: "Fable" Merriam Webster defines Fairy tale as: a story (...
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  • 389
8 votes
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What makes something a literary or poetic movement?

In many cases a Movement is simply a label applied to a group of writers, who are producing works of a similar style or theme, by a reviewer. It will start as just a way of describing the similarity ...
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  • 2,068
8 votes

What is a Byronic Hero?

Reference has a pretty good explanation: (emphasis mine to highlight key traits) The Byronic hero is characterized as being arrogant, violent, reckless, seductive, traumatized and self-serving. ...
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  • 4,197
8 votes
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A figure of speech combining two phrases

In German, this type of phrase is known as a "Wendesatz". (Unfortunately, I couldn't find an online dictionary that explains the term, let alone a translation.) Below are a few examples. Some of them ...
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8 votes
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What is the narrative device that involves using inconsequential elements in the story?

I think what you are looking for is Literary Naturalism. This began as a reaction to the prevailing mode of Romanticism (and later aestheticism and Decadence) of the nineteenth-century period and was ...
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  • 2,114
8 votes
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What qualifies something as "Lovecraftian"?

To quote Wikipedia: Lovecraftian horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that emphasizes the cosmic horror of the unknown (and in some cases, unknowable) more than gore or other elements of shock, ...
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