Glossary of Literary Terms
- The philosophy and psychology of beauty in art and nature.
- Affective Fallacy
- The repetition of a word or parallel verbal construction at the beginning
of lines, sentences, or parts of sentences.
- The character or force that opposes the hero (protagonist) in a
- A surprising plot twist that shifts the tone of a narrative away
from the expected climax, often shifting from the serious to the
mundane or absurd. Can be used for comic or satiric effect.
- Beat Generation
- A novel about the education and maturing of a young person. Also
known as a coming of age story.
- Black Comedy
- Blank verse
- Unrhymed iambic pentameter verse.
- A natural pause in the middle of a poetic line. Can be indicated
by punctuation, or not. Caesura adds variety and texture to a poem's rhythm.
- Carpe diem
- "Seize the day". A quote from an ode by Horace. It encapsulates a
philosophy of living in the moment. Carpe diem has
been a theme in literature ever since.
- The therapeutic purging of powerful emotions when experiencing a
literary work, especially tragic drama.
- Close reading
- Concrete poetry
- The engine of most dramatic and fictional art, conflict is the
tension or battle between opposing forces: characters, settings, and psyches.
- A pattern of repeated consonant sounds.
- A pair of rhymed lines.
- Deus ex Machina
- Quoted, overheard conversation between literary characters.
- Dramatic monologue
- A poem written in the voice of a character, as if that character
is speaking a soliloquy.
- Dramatis personae
- The roster of characters in a drama.
- Dynamic character
- A literary character who changes significantly by the end of a narrative.
- A "shining moment of clarity" in a story, wherein a character
suddenly sees the truth in a new light
- A five foot line of verse.