AS and A Level English Literature

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Literary terms A guide for students,Literary terms A guide for students. Introduction 2,Frequently misused words 3,General terms 4. Analytic vocabulary 10,Analytic Terms 12,Analytic Terms 14. Literary terms A guide for students,Introduction, The terminology below may be used support your reading and response to literature It. will also help you access any critical reading on your specified literary texts alongside. any specific glossaries that have been provided in Edexcel s support materials. To produce high quality analytical writing you need the tools to do so and the ability to. use them precisely Skilled writers of literary analysis use subject specific terminology to. construct coherent accurate arguments The terms below should not be used as an. exercise in feature spotting in a literary text The writer uses a metaphor for example. offers no analysis of how and why Good literary analysis should consider the writer s. particular choices in constructing a literary text and the precise effects of these using. appropriate terminology The list below is by no means exhaustive whole books have. been written on the subject However these materials will give you a broad range of. terms used to analyse English Literature and some general guidance about how to use. When writing about English Literature you are likely to be confronted by three different. types of complexity in the vocabulary you use The first is words which are difficult in. themselves or describe difficult concepts such as alienation effect The second is. words whose meaning has changed over time such as sentimental The third is words. whose popular meaning differs significantly from their academic or root meaning This. guide mostly concerns the first two categories but begins with a list of frequently. misused words,Literary terms A guide for students,Frequently misused words.
Literary terms Explanation, Incredible Literally means cannot be believed You might use it. academically to say that the events in Angela Carter s The Magic. Toyshop 1967 range from the credible to the incredible you. wouldn t use it as a word of praise Angela Carter is incredible. Ironic Often used to mean unfortunate but should mean turning out. against expectation or in the case of human expressions. sarcastic instead of sympathetic An ironic smile is mocking not. friendly Irony is the essence of poetic justice, Figurative Figurative language should introduce a comparison such as a. simile or metaphor, Literal Literal language has no metaphorical intent. Massive Only use this word about objects that have mass A mountain. range can be massive popular opinion cannot be Words like. extensive or significant or widespread are often more. Pathetic Used to mean useless instead of inspiring pathos Pathos. means appealing to the emotions, Radical Popular culture is used to this word being shouted by. skateboarders or mutant turtles to mean great It is actually. from the Latin word radix root A Radical MP in 19th century. Britain was one who wanted to make changes to fundamental. aspects of society in other words to go to the root of a problem. Literary terms A guide for students,General terms,Literary terms Explanation.
Allegory Allegory is a rhetorical device that creates a close one to one. comparison An allegorical comparison of 21st century Britain. to a hive might point out that Britain and the hive have queens. workers and soldiers,Burlesque Satire that uses caricature. Colloquial Colloquial language is the informal language of conversation. Denouement The culmination or result of an action plan or plot. Diatribe An impassioned rant or angry speech of denunciation. Empiricism As a philosophy empiricism means basing knowledge on direct. sensory perceptions of the world Empirical means seeking out. facts established by experience not theory,Foreground To emphasise or make prominent. Form The type of literary expression chosen by an author. Genre A more precise definition of the different literary forms There. are general categories such as poetry drama prose There are. specific categories within these larger divisions so a. sonnet is a specific genre within the larger genre of poetry. Hype Possibly derived from hyperbole but usually used to indicate an. attempt to deceive the public by over rating the value of a. commodity or experience, Hyperbole The use of exaggeration for effect The most daring prodigious. death defying feat attempted by man or woman in all human. Intertextuality A term describing the many ways in which texts can be. interrelated ranging from direct quotation or echoing to. Ludic From the Latin word ludo a game A text that plays games. with readers expectations and or the expectations aroused by. the text itself Tom Stoppard s The Real Inspector Hound. 1968 is both a parody of Agatha Christie s murder mystery. play The Mousetrap 1952 and a ludic text that arouses. audience expectations there will be a plot and a mystery to solve. but provides no solution Here the audience is first enticed then. teased and finally frustrated,Literary terms A guide for students. Meta From the Greek meaning above or beyond Metaphysics is. above or beyond physics Meta is often used in compound. words metatext metatheatre etc These words usually. describe moments when a text goes beyond its own fictionality. or makes readers audience aware of the conventions of its. fiction An aside could be described as a metatheatrical. event The audience offstage hear words the audience onstage. cannot hear Brecht s alienation effect, Verfremdungseffekt where a character suddenly addresses.
the audience directly breaking the convention that the. characters on stage do not notice the audience during a play is. a metatheatrical effect, Metaphor A comparison that creates a direct correspondence society is a. hive unlike a simile, Modernism The name given to experiments carried out in poetry prose and. art from around 1920 1939 The relationship of Modernism with. tradition is frequently complex but the appearance of a. Modernist work is usually aggressively different to that of an. older text Often spelt with a capital Modernism, Modernity to distinguish the word from modern meaning up. Narrator narrative A narrator or a narrative voice conveys a story Sometimes. voice the narrator s presence is emphasised as in the Dear Reader. convention employed by Charlotte Bronte s Villette 1853 This. is called a first person narrative Sometimes the story is told. by an unseen author as in George Orwell s 1984 1949 This. is called a third person narrative, Some stories are told by an unreliable narrator In these tales. readers are expected to work out that the person who tells the. story is biased partial or mistaken in the views they put. forward The narrator of Kazuo Ishiguro s The Remains of the. Day 1989 is a narrator of this kind By contrast the. omniscient narrator maintains a god like view of the story in. order to provide shaping and commentary This is the. viewpoint usually adopted by George Eliot 1819 80 in her. Oxymoron Language device where two opposite words or meanings are. used side by side e g sour sweet, Parody The reducing of another text to ridicule by hostile imitation.
Pathetic Fallacy The use of setting scenery or weather to mirror the mood of a. human activity Two people having an argument whilst a storm. breaks out is an example The technique is used to make sure. the feelings of readers or audience are moved,See pathetic. Literary terms A guide for students, Poetic Justice A literary version of the saying hoist with his own petard The. trapper is caught by the trap in an example of ironic but apt. justice Despite the word poetic examples usually turn up in. texts which are narrative and not necessarily poems. Point of These words look as though they should be interchangeable but. View viewpoint this is not always the case A point of view is an opinion a. viewpoint can also be the foundation on which an opinion is. based or literally a place from which a view can be enjoyed. Postmodernism A complex term Postmodern texts tend to be aware of their. own artifice be filled with intertextual allusions and ironic. rather than sincere, Reportage Literally means reporting news but in literary criticism the word. often means the inclusion of documentary material or material. which purports to be documentary in a text Mrs Gaskell s Mary. Barton 1848 contains documentary details about life in the. Manchester slums that Mrs Gaskell observed first hand. Satire A destructive reduction of an idea image concept or text It. can employ exaggeration mimicry irony or tone,Semantics The study of how words create meaning. Semantic field The area of language from which a text draws most of its. Signifier Signified According to Ferdinand de Saussure 1857 1913 meaning is. created by the partnership of signifier the indicator and. signified the indicated Together they make up a sign Later. semanticists and Postmodernists have questioned if the sign. is as simple as Saussure s ideas imply, Simile A comparison introduced with like or as society is like a hive.
Stream of The removal of conventional sentence structures and grammar. Consciousness in an attempt to imitate the free flow of thoughts Virginia. Woolf s Mrs Dalloway 1925 and To the Light House 1927 are. Symbol A symbol is more independent than a metaphor and less. specific than an allegory Where both metaphors and. allegories have precise meanings or are ways of explaining a. complex concept symbols are often elusive in their exact. meaning The lighthouse of Virginia Wolf s To the Lighthouse. 1927 is frequently seen as symbolic but opinions differ as to. what it might represent, Symbolism The process of creating or detecting symbols within a work. Sometimes critics will talk of a text symbolising a larger. Literary terms A guide for students, concept or idea irrespective of the author s intention. Many critics have interpreted T S Elliot s The Waste Land. 1922 as symbolising post WWI Britain though Elliot always. discouraged such an interpretation, Text A Postmodernist concept designed to eradicate distinction. between literary genres Some forms of Postmodernism. collapse all types of human experience including history into. Transgressive The crossing of a boundary of culture or taste usually with a. subversive intention Vladimir Nabakov s Lolita 1955 can be. described as a transgressive text that, challenges assumptions about sex love the age of consent and. Trope Any of the devices metaphors similes rhyme etc whereby. art language differentiates itself from functional language. Valorise To invest with value, Writing Back A term which describes the appropriation of a text or genre and.
a rewriting in response This is a technique frequently employed. by Post colonial writers or feminist writers Rastafarianism. reinterprets the Bible as text of black liberation Margaret. Atwood s The Handmaid s Tale 1985 rewrites the Bible to. expose its anti feminist implications,Literary terms A guide for students. Poetry and song may well be the oldest form of human literary activity The epic poems. of Homer The Iliad and The Odyssey were regarded as the foundational works of. Western culture by the Romans and the Western civilisations that followed the Romans. Literary terms Explanation, Ballad A word that has changed in meaning Now it signifies an. emotive song that usually involves large production and. projection In the literary world to folklorists a ballad is a song. that tells a story whereas to poets the ballad verse form is a. simple AB AB rhyme structure with simple rhythms It was. associated with oral culture and carried little cultural prestige. Wordsworth and Coleridges Lyrical Ballads 1798 contains both. types of literary ballad, Classical or Neo Movements that believe all writing or art should imitate. classical precedents and genres created by the writers or artists of the. classical civilisations of Greece and Rome In Britain the late. 17th to early 18th century from Dryden to Johnson and Pope. was dominated by this belief, Effusion A word meaning a spontaneous expression It was a concept. valued by the Romantic poets Wordsworth uses the word in his. Extempore Effusion upon the Death of James Hogg 1835. Elegy A poem lamenting a dead person or persons The term elegiac. meaning mournful or conveying loss derives from this genre. Epic A long poem concerned with large events of conflict An epic is. frequently seen as displaying and testing the values of the. civilisation that produced it Consequently it has high cultural. prestige Virgil s Aeneid 19 BC consciously tries to define. what is distinctive and significant about Rome and its civilisation. Milton s Paradise Lost 1674 is the most famous English. example though this moves beyond England to discuss the. relationship between god and man,Epithalamium A poem celebrating a wedding.
Mock epic A poem employing the devices of an epic to create a parody of. the epic s grandeur Alexander Pope s The Rape of the Lock. 1712 is a powerful 18th century example,Ode A lyric address originally sung to music See. http www poets org poetsorg text poetic form ode,Literary terms A guide for students. Pastoral An idealised depiction of rural life sometimes set in Arcadia an. Literary terms A guide for students 3 Frequently misused words Literary terms Explanation Incredible Literally means cannot be believed You might use it academically to say that the events in Angela Carter s The Magic Toyshop 1967 range from the credible to the incredible you wouldn t use it as a word of praise Angela Carter is incredible

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