AS and A level English Literature – Literary Terms
A rhetorical device that creates a close comparison.
The repeating of an initial letter for aesthetic effect
The repeating of vowel sounds for aesthetic effect
Language that is the informal language of conversation
The flowing of a line of poetry so there is no pause at the end of the line
Figurative language should introduce a comparison, such as a simile or metaphor.
The type of literary expression chosen by an author
The use of exaggeration for effect
Turning out against expectation
A comparison that creates a direct correspondence unlike a simile
Language device where two opposite words or meanings are used side by side
The reducing of another text to ridicule by hostile imitation
The use of setting, scenery or weather to mirror the mood of human activity
A destructive reduction of an idea, image, concept or text
The study of how words create meaning
The area of language from which a text draws most of its tropes.
The aesthetic use of the hissing ‘s’ sound
A comparison introduced with like or as
The process of creating or detecting symbols within a work.
Satire that uses caricature
The culmination or result of an action, plan or plot.
An impassioned rant or angry speech of denunciation
As a philosophy, empiricism means basing knowledge on direct, sensory perceptions of the world.
Seeking out facts established by experience not theory
The emphasize or make prominent
A more precise definition of the different literary forms
Used to indicate an attempt to deceive the public by over-rating the value of a commodity or experience
A term describing the many ways in which texts can be interrelated.
Literal language has no metaphorical intent
A text that plays games with readers’ expectations and/or the expectations aroused by the text itself.
Above or beyond. Used to describe moments when a text goes beyond its own fictionality or makes readers aware of the conventions of its fiction.
The name given to experiments carried out in poetry, prose and art. Usually aggressively difference to that of an older text.
Conveys a story.
The trapper is caught by the trap, Ironic but apt justice
Point of view
To go to the root of a problem
Literally meaning reporting news. Literary – the inclusion of documentary material or material which purports to be documentary
Tends to be aware of their own artifice, be filled with inter textual allusions and ironic rather than sincere.
Partnership of the indicator and the indicated
Stream of consciousness
the removal of conventional sentence structure and grammar
More independent than a metaphor and less specific than allegory. Often elusive in their exact meaning
A postmodernist concept designed to eradicate distinction between literary genres.
The crossing of a boundary of culture or taste, usually with a subversive intention.
Any of the devices whereby art language differentiates itself from functional language
To invest with value
Foundation on which an opinion is based
A term which describes the appropriation of a text or genre and a rewriting in response.
A word that has changed in meaning. A song that tells a story.
Classical or Neo Classical
Movements that believe all writing or art should imitate precedents and genres created by the writers or artists of the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome.
A word meaning spontaneous expression
A poem lamenting a dead person or persons
A long poem concerned with large events of conflict.
A poem celebrating a wedding
A poem employing the devices of an epic to create a parody of the epics grandeur
A lyric address, originally sung to music
An idealised depiction of rural life, sometimes set in Arcadia.
An almost impossible to define word, applied to movements from the late 18th C onwards who valued feelings above thought and originality above derivation.
Generally refers to a 14 line poem with a strict rhyme scheme.
Words designed to be sung
In songs a few lines that are repeated at the end of each stanza
The repeating of a single line in a poem, often the last line of a stanza
A recurring word of phrase, not necessarily as formally arranged as a refrain
The divisions of a poem
To refer to poetry in general. The same as a stanza
A list of events. May be in verse. Emphasis on action not inner life.
A novel written in the form of letters
The use of medieval and/or supernatural elements to create a horror story
Novel written in a realistic style which incorporates impossible or unlikely events.
A novel where the protagonist’s travels and encounters are more important than the protagonists character.
A medieval prose or poetry text that tells a story in which barely possible and supernatural events are an essential feature of the action.
A literary genre of the late 18th C.
Story selecting a typical incident in order to reveal the nature of the reality behind a cultural system.
Story that uses fact to present a neutral or subjective world view.