British Literature 1 Exam 1

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Last updated: May 2, 2019
a mournful poem that deals with loss, especially the death of a loved one

dream vision
A literary convention, chiefly of the Middle Ages. a story is presented as a literal dream of the narrator. This device was commonly used to teach moral and religious lessons.

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epithet (meh)
a term used to point out a characteristic of a person.

Homeric epithets are often compound adjectives (“swift-footed Achilles”) that become an almost formulaic part of a name. Epithets can be abusive or offensive but are not so by definition. For example, athletes may be proud of given epithets (“The Rocket”).

A device employed in Anglo-Saxon poetry in which the name of a thing is replaced by one of its functions or qualities, as in “ring-giver” for king and “whale-road” for ocean.

A figure of speech in which something is referred to by using the name of something that is associated with it

A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).

use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse

a break or pause (usually for sense) in the middle of a verse line

oral-formulaic poetry
composed and transmitted by reciters; tends to have refrains, description, and word patterns for easy memorization

a grammar construction in which a noun (or noun phrase) is placed with another as an explanation

Breton lai
a short narrative with romantic characteristics. often fairytale or supernatural

medieval romance
a narrative form popular during the medieval period; this form of writing is based primarily on the adventures of knights, kings, or distressed ladies. the themes include love, religious faith, the desired for adventure, and often an involvement with supernatural forces. Often, the main character sets forth on a quest or journey and meets with distracting

courtly love
chivalrously expressed secret love between members of nobility; inspired romantic literature

the practice of good manners

Woman who lives alone usually in a room built on the side of a church.

estates satire
genre that satirizes social types in relations to their occupations; therefore, the English society is arranged according to jobs

framing device
A story in which one or more other stories are told. Examples include the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales and the play at the beginning of the Taming of the Shrew.

incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs

the speaker, voice, or character assumed by the author of a piece of writing

moral instructiveness


the appeal of a text to the credibility and character of the speaker, writer, or narrator





a tale, usually inserted into the text of a sermon, that illustrates a moral principle

greed, desire

love, charity

an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances

alms deeds


blank verse
unrhymed verse (usually in iambic pentameter)

metatheatrical moment

sola scriptura
“Scripture alone.” It is the belief that all man needs for salvation is the Bible. This is a tenet for most Protestants.

sola fide
By faith alone. The grace of God as the only ground of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

reprobate sinner

the art of persuasion

a means for poet & courtier to show off and earn respect, often by using complicated language

a calculated nonchalance, a studied ease or carelessness that seeks to hide the hard work that went into it

Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet
a sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba, followed by a sestet with the rhyme pattern cdecde or cdcdcd

English (Shakespearean) sonnet
consists of 3 quatrains and a couplet, usually rhyming abab cdcd efef gg

Spenserian sonnet
a sonnet consisting of three quatrains and a concluding couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern abab bcbd cdcd ee

a rhythmic group of six lines of verse

the shift or point of dramatic change in a poem

Petrarchan conceit
stock, Italian comparison of a subject like love to a rose, sun, statue, pearl, etc.

rhetorical figures
a departure from what is experienced by the competent users of the standard use of language mainly by the arrangement of their words to achieve special effects

conjoining contradictory terms (as in ‘deafening silence’)

plain style
a way of writing that stresses simplicity and clarity of expression

a French verse form of 10 or 13 lines running on two rhymes

terza rima
an Italian form of iambic verse consisting of eleven-syllable lines arranged in tercets, the middle line of each tercet rhyming with the first and last lines of the following tercet

rhyme royal
A seven-line stanza of iambic pentameter rhymed ababbcc, used by Chaucer and other medieval poets.

a form of the sonnet and particularly the poet’s attitude towards his subject matter (praise of a woman as the perfection of human beauty and object of the highest expression of love)

a verse line having six metrical feet

the official symbols of a family, state, etc.

bob and wheel
bob-stressed line, first Ababa; wheel: those that follow, aBABA

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