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Abeka English Literature Glossary of Literary Terms– Part 1

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accent
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the stressing of certain syllables or words
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action
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the actual movements and speech of characters performing or “acting out” situations on the stage
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allegory
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a narrative in which the characters, places, and events represent certain abstract qualities or ideas designed to teach some moral lesson or truth
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alliteration
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the repetition of the same consonant sounds
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allusion
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a reference to mythology, history, or a literary work
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analogy
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a comparison of two different things that may share common characteristics (often used to explain or describe something unfamiliar by comparing it to something familiar)
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antagonist
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the opponent or force in conflict with the protagonist
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apostrophe
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words addressed to an inanimate object as if it were alive or to an absent person as if he were present
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aside
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a dramatic effect in which a character directly addresses either the audience or another character to convey his inner feeling or to comment on some action preformed
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Augustan Age
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another name for the Neoclassical Age and the Age of Pope; the first half of the eighteenth century, marked by a return to classical standards
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ballads
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often anonymous works, produced from Anglo-Saxon times until the seventeenth century, through which the common people could be understood
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art ballad
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an imitation by a modern poet of the early English and Scottish popular ballads
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popular ballad
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a short, narrative folk song which tells of a single event in an objective manner
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ballad stanza
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a four-line stanza with four accented iambic syllables in lines one and three, and three accented syllables in lines two and four
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biography
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introduces the facts of another person’s life and orders him in such a way that the reader can develop insight into the person’s character
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blank verse
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unrhymed iambic pentameter (used for the treatment of serious themes by many great poets including Marlowe, Shakespeare, Milton, and Wordsworth)
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Byronic hero
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a unique type of Romantic character developed by Byron and closely associated with him (a rebellious, brooding, and proud hero)
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caesura
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a pause or break in a line of poetry
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carol
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a popular art form which originated in medieval France and spread to other countries in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; originally sung as any joyous song or hymn, but now associated with Christmas carols in particular
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Cavalier poets
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lyricists of a lighthearted nature who emphasized the pleasures of this world and who wrote love songs to or about women, and were loyal to the king
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characterization
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the portrayal of the imaginary persons who carry out the action of the plot in a novel or a story
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direct exposition
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type of characterization that tells the reader directly what a character is like
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indirect revelation
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type of characterization that allows the reader to draw his own conclusions from what the character thinks, or what other characters think about him
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characters
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the people who perform the action of narrative, novel, or play
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dynamic character
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a character who undergoes some change and is different at the end of the story
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static character
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a character who remains essentially the same throughout the story
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comedy
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a play that ends happily; the events are trivial, everyday details of life; the characters are ordinary men rather than kings or nobles; and the themes deal with man’s imperfections, vices, and weaknesses
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comic relief
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a humorous event or speech used to provide temporary relief from the intense drama of the play (used by English playwrights as a comparison to “elevate” or increase the seriousness of the play)
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conceit
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an elaborate comparison of two things which superficially have little in common
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Metaphysical conceit
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points out an unusual parallel between highly dissimilar elements
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conflict
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a struggle between opposing forces
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couplet
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two rhyming lines which express a complete thought
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heroic couplet
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two rhymed lines written in iambic pentameter
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deism
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a belief in an impersonal God, who, after creating the world, left it to run by natural laws and who left man to take care of himself by using his intellect
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denouement
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the outcome or resolution in which all the loose ends are tied up at the end of a play, usually a comedy
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dialogue
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the speeches between two or more characters in a play or all the speeches of a play take collectively