English Literature CLEP

Topics: ArtTheater

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Last updated: May 4, 2019

heroic couple
a rhyming pair of iambic-pentameter lines, first used extensively in English by Chaucer and later developed as a syntactically complete unit, esp. by Dryden and Pope (Ex.: “In every work regard the writer’s end, Since none can compass more than they intend”)

terza rima -(tert?s? r??m?)
a verse form of Italian origin, made up of tercets, the second line of each tercet rhyming with the first and third lines of the next one (aba, bcb, cdc, etc.

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blank verse
unrhymed verse; esp., unrhymed verse having five iambic feet per line, as in Elizabethan drama

Iambic pentameter
The most common meter in English verse. It consists of a line ten syllables long that is accented on every second beat (see blank verse). These lines in iambic pentameter are from The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare:?n sóoth,/? knów/n?t whý/? ám/s? sád.

?t wéa/ri?s mé;/y?u sáy/?t wéa/ri?s yóu

Villanelle
a poem of fixed form, French in origin, consisting usually of five three-line stanzas and a final four-line stanza and having only two rhymes throughout

Dramatic Monologue
A literary, usually verse composition in which a speaker reveals his or her character, often in relation to a critical situation or event, in a monologue addressed to the reader or to a presumed listener.

Simile
a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another, dissimilar thing by the use of like, as, etc. (Ex.

: a heart as big as a whale, her tears flowed like wine)

Epic Simile
An extended simile elaborated in great detail. Also called Homeric simile

Irony
a method of humorous or subtly sarcastic expression in which the intended meaning of the words is the direct opposite of their usual sense: the irony of calling a stupid plan “clever”

Dramatic Irony
the contrast, as in a play, between what a character thinks the truth is, as revealed in a speech or action, and what an audience or reader knows the truth

Harangue
a long, blustering, noisy, or scolding speech; tirade

ro•man à clef (r??män nä kl??)
a novel in which real persons appear under fictitious names

Picaresque
designating or characteristic of a kind of fiction that originated in Spain and deals episodically with the adventures of a hero who is or resembles such a vagabond or rogue

Epistolary Novels
written in the form of a series of letters exchanged by the characters, as certain novels of the 18th cent.

Vignette
a short, carefully constructed scene in a film, play, etc.; specif.

, one regarded as subtle, sensitive, etc

Serialized Novels
to put or publish. Published novel

Metaphor
A figure of speech in which an implicit comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common Ex: Her home was a prison.

Hyperbole
is a figure of speech that uses an exaggerated or extravagant statement to create a strong emotional response. As a figure of speech it is not intended to be taken literally.

Hyperbole is frequently used for humour. Examples of hyperbole are: They ran like greased lightning

Rhyming Couplet
A couplet is a pair of lines of verse. It usually consists of two lines that rhyme and have the same meter. While traditionally couplets rhyme, not all do

Abstraction
anything that isn’t tangible. In literature, it can be opposed to imagery, the representation of tangible things

Aestheticism
a movement that took place near the end of the nineteenth century that aimed to free art from conventional Victorian morality

Allegory
an extended metaphor used in a drama or narrative

Alliteration
the repetition of consonant sounds close to each other

Anacoluthon
a sentence that changes its grammatical structure in the middle, often suggest disturbance or excitement.

For example: “we had almost reached the finished line and then the race had to have been fixed from the beginning”

Anadiplosis
repetition at the start of a sentence of the concluding word or phrase in the previous sentence. For example: “There’s only so much exercise you can get on a plane. A air plane is not the greatest place to work out”

Antistrophe
one of three sections of the Greek dramatic chorus and the Pindaric ode, along with the strophe and epode. These forms may be repeated in sequence within a single ode.

Aporia
a term used in deconstruction, absence of meaning and multiplicity of possible meaning within a text

Assonance
the repetition of vowel sounds close to each other

Aubade
a lyric from stemming from the Middle Ages that treats the subject of two lovers waking up together. It may deal with the joy of being together or with the sorrow of having to part.

Bidungsroman
a novel that traces the development of a young person from childhood or adolescence to maturity. It is often written in the form of an autobiography

Canon
an unofficial grouping of works by authors whose importance has become generally recognized by literature scholars.

Chiasmus
a verbal pattern in two parts in which the second part is like a mirror image of the first.

Condition of England novel
a novel concerned with the negative social and economic impacts of industrialism

Connotation
the secondary significance a word acquires through association that goes beyond its literal meaning

Cycle
a collection of works on a common theme such as Charlemagne or the Trojan War. Cycles typically represent the work of several different authors brought together into a group. Cycles are often groups of romance narrative.

Eclogues
pastoral lyrics- pomes that idealize life of shepherds

Enjambment
the continuation of the grammatical flow from one line of verse to the next

Epic
heroic poetry with an important subject of crucial national or cultural significance, together with a grand, lofty tone.

Many epics tell the story of the founding of a nation or race by means of battle or journey

Epistles
letters, usually formal

Epistolary novel
a novel made up of correspondence between characters

Epithalamium
a poem that treats the subject of the couple’s wedding night

Epode
one of three sections of the Greek dramatic chorus and the Pindaric ode, along with the strophe and antistrophe. These forms may be repeated in sequence within a single ode.

Essay
a prose form originated by the French Renaissance humanist Michel de Montaigne as an experimental and skeptical approach to writing

Fashionable novel
focus on the lives of the rich and elegant

First Folio
the 1623 collection of William Shakespeare’s plays published after his death by member of his acting company

Foreshadow
the narrative devise of hinting at events that have yet to unfold

Free indirect discourse
the narrative technique of shifting freely between a first-person and an interior third-person point of view

Free verse
poetry that has no fixed meter, although it has rhythmic lines and line breaks and is therefore presumably composed with rhythmic qualities in mind. It came into vogue during the modern period.

Gothic novels
novels about gruesome doings and supernatural horrors, usually set far away and long ago.

The form emerged during the eighteenth century but gained popularity and respectability in the nineteenth, as the imagination in literature came to be more highly regarded.

Ideology
made up of the ideas, beliefs, and values shared by members of a society. Ideology is shaped by political interests and serves power interests in ways we might not recognize

Imagery
any tangible thing named in a language, regardless of whether that thing is literal or figurative

Marginalization
the complex social process that pushes certain people outside mainstream society, usually because they are perceived as a threat to shared values

Metaphysical poetry
poetry characterized by elaborate, sometimes bizarre use of metaphor; rough, rugged versification; dramatic speakers; and paradoxical reasoning.

Meter
the rhythmic structure of poetry

Mystery plays
plays presented during the Middle Ages by guilds of feast days, They depict important events in Christian history.

Mystification
the process of denying or disguising political values by misrepresenting them as natural, universal, or transcendent ideals.

Neo-Platonism
a philosophy of the Middle Ages and Renaissance that accommodated the thinking of Plato to Christian theology

New Criticism
an important critical movement that took hold in the early decades of the twentieth century. It stresses the importance of paying close attention to the literary text as a way to develop critical intelligence

Panegyric
a poem praising someone for their achievements, stemming from ancient Greece

Personification
the device of presenting abstractions as human characters.

Prosody
refers to the sound and structure of poetry, including meter, rhyme, assonance, and alliteration

Rhyme scheme
the pattern of rhymes in a stanza

Satire
a literary work that exposes evil or folly through the use of irony, ridicule, or derision

Sensation
novel a melodramatic novel devoted to scandalous doings, guilty secrets, and lurid intrigues

Soliloquy
a speech conventionally understood to convey the private thought of the character who delivers it

Stanza
a repeated pattern of lines and rhymes analogous to a verse in a song

Stream-of-consciousness
novel a modernist form that puts a story together by tracing the thoughts and feelings of its characters rather than through the voice of a detached narrator

Strophe
one of the three sections of the Greek dramatic chorus and the Pindaric ode, along with the antistrophe and epode. These forms may be repeated in sequence within a single ode.

Sublime
a characteristic of art or nature that inspires a feeling of grander and mystery. For example: an ancient ruins, a storm swept landscape, of the fall of Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Syllepsis
the use of a single word in two different senses at once.

For example: I just quit smoking and my job.

Tetralogy
a group of four works

Theater of the absurd
the dramatic genre of the 1950s that enacts the idea of existential meaninglessness

Tone
the mood or emotional attitude evoked or reflected in a written work

Trace
in deconstruction, things that are absent from yet suggested by a text. A trace may be the opposite of a written word

Verisimilitude
the semblance of truth, a quality that helps distinguish the early novel from fable and romance

Elegy
a work written to mourn the death and memorialize the life of someone who died

Ode
genre in poetry.

Its formal, meditative, and intense.

Epic
an important narrative form that emerges at the threshold between orality and literacy. They are written down at some point after a period of oral development. Beowulf is considered an epic.

Chivalry
is the idealized code of medieval nobility.

It stressed honesty and integrity in living up to one’s social obligations, courtesy to others, and deference to ladies.

Medieval Period
12th-15th Centuries. Promoted chivalric (knightly) ideals that helped stabilize a social hierarchy based on bloodlines

The Renaissance
(1540-1640) public theaters presented plays that celebrated a semifluid social order governed by absolute power.

These dramas portrayed any unchecked social mobility that might threaten state stability as the result of personal evil, corruption, and perversion.

Augustan Period
(1670-1790) identified literature as a worthy cultural pursuit capable of reconciling respect for classical learning with the evolving interests and tastes of the educated middle class. Translated, imitated, and elucidated the most respectable ancient and modern authors in an outpouring of learning and literacy.

Romantic Period
(1790-1840) poets turned inward for the inspiration to celebrate the powers of nature and the creative spirit of individualism

Victorian Period
(1840-1900) prescribed liberal doses of “English literature” as a means of restoring higher ideals to a society that appeared to grow increasingly crass.

Beowulf
Early Medieval Period; The protagonist of the poem.

Beowulf is a Geatish hero who fights the monster Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a fire-breathing dragon. Beowulf’s exploits prove him to be the strongest, ablest warrior of his time. In his youth, he personifies the values of the heroic culture. In his old age, he proves a wise and effective ruler.

Christopher Marlowe
Renaissance Period; “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” & Doctor Faustus

William Shakespeare
Renaissance Period; Sonnets, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night, Henry IV, and A Midsummer’s Nught Dream.

John Milton
Renaissance Period ; Paradise Lost

Daniel Defoe
Augustan Period; Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders

Alexander Pope
Augustan Period;

Samuel Johnson
Augustan Period

William Wordsworth
Romantic period;

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Romantic Period

Jane Austen
Romantic Period; Pride and Prejudice, Emma

Charles Dickens
Victorian Period; Oliver twist, Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit, Bleak House

Wilfred Owen
Modern Period; “Dulce et Decorum Est”

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