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Literature 21 Vocabulary


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1. Those books of the Bible that the Christian Church accepts as being Holy Scripture (noncanonical books are apocryphal)
2. Refers to Saint's Canon, a group of people officially recognized by the Catholic Church as being saints
3. A body of works attributed to a particular author
4. Literary works which are considered classics
Old English period
400's-1066??; refers to heavily inflected language system of these peoples; once they were separated from their Germain roots(Frisians, Jutes, Saxons, Angles)
the idea that there are distinct periods or ages within the literature of a nation or a culture; writers within a given historical era have more in common in terms of themes, styles, and structures of works than writers of different time frames
a literary genre that uses irony, wit, and sarcasm to expose humanity's vices and fiobles, giving impetus to change or reform through ridicule; essentially has a moral purpose
frame story
a story that contains another story or stories, the frame story may be extremely sketchy or fairly well developed. the interior are likely to be fully developed tales
the repetition of sounds in a sequence of words; when the letter is s it is called sibilant; used to establish rhythm and structure of poetic lines
A pause in a line of poetry; dictated by natural speaking rhythm
an embellished figurative phrase is used in place of a simpler or more common term
referring to the chief character of the work
short verse narrative; satiric purpose, but designed to entertain; human characters; ridicule of middle and lower class people
indirect reference to a person, event, statement, or theme; used to enrich meaning or broaden the impact of a statement
explication; elucidation of a passage by a close reading of the text; aims to reveal the meaning of a work first through close analysis of its language
medieval romance
a narrative, written in prose or verse and concerned with adventure, courtly love, and chivalry; written in praise of chivalric and religious ideals (courage, manners, piety, loyalty...)
courtly love
philosophy of love prevalent in medieval literature that purported to describe certain codes of behavior between aristocratic men and women; sometimes adultery
type of allegory (a story that, though generally presumed to be true, is told to validate a general moral point)
Seven Deadly Sins
The seven capital or cardinal sins that the medieval Christian church believed entailed spiritual death; pride, anger, envy, greed, lust, sloth, gluttony
a narrative account typically written by an individual that purports to depict his or her life and character; written expressly for a public audience
the belief that some knowledge can only be acquired through extrasensory means (intuition, insight); speculative and pragmatic; frequently has an explicitly spiritual or religious character
mystery play
medieval religious drama that recounted a story from the Old Testament or New Testament (Jesus life or death/resurrection)
presentation of an abstract idea through more concrete means; usually a narrative; has at least 2 levels of meaning; either historical/political, or representing abstract themes; extended metaphor
long and formal narrative poem written in an elevated style that recounts the adventures of a hero of almost mythic proportions; usually embodies bravery and wisdom
epic simile
extended or elaborate simile in which the vehicle is itself described at such length that it nearly obscures the tenor
in medias res
technique of beginning a narrative in the middle of the action; usually uses flashbacks to catch up; associated with the epic
Spenserian stanza
9 lines with the rhyme scheme ababbcbcc; 1-8 are iambic pentameter, 9 is iambic hexameter; complex stanzaic form developed by Spenser for his long narrative poem The Faerie Queen
protagonist who does not exhibit the qualities of the traditional hero; may be ordinary, petty, or dishonest
blank verse
unrhymed verse; unrhymed iambic pentameter; credit to Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Milton for making it the preferred English verse form
morality play
medieval drama using allegory to make a moral point; protagonist represents humanity; medieval religious drama and allegory
pokes fun at the author or style of the work being parodied; used to make a satiric or political point
serious and somber drama, written in prose or verse, that typically ends in disaster and focuses on a character who undergoes unexpected personal reversals
lyric poem that usually has 14 lines; two types: Italian and Shakespearean; follows one of several rhyming schemes; theme of love is most common; Shakes. has 3 quatrains and 1 couplet
sonnet cycle
series or group of sonnets interconnected by theme and written by one poet; usually has a theme of love and poet's changing attitudes towards it
Shakespearean sonnet
14 line sonnet consisting of 3 quatrains with the rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef, followed by a couplet rhyming gg
a figure of speech in which the speaker directly and often emotionally adresses a person who is dead or not physically present, an imaginary person or entity, an ideal, place, or concept; speaks as if the apostrophe were present and capable of understanding and responding
brief melodic and imaginative poem characterized by the fervent but structured expression of private thoughts and emotions by a single speaker (in 1st person); subjective expression of thought and emotion, melodic tone, indiv and imag focus
Platonic love
Idea of love from Plato that we should progress from comptemplating physical to mental to conceptual to spiritual beauty until we have attained a vision of beuaty at the highest level - the eternal and true Ideal Beauty from which the soul is normally separated and next to which all worldly beauty pales
elaborate and often surprising comparison between 2 apparently dissimilar things; ingenuity; extended metaphor; 2 types: Metaphysical - uses commonplace objects, Petrarchan - analogy, hyperbole, or oxymoron
metaphysical conceit
an extended figure of speech most commonly associated with metaphysical poetry; uses paradox, images, and a complex comparison between 2 highly dissimilar things
metaphysical poetry
any poetry that deals with philosophical or spiritual matters; John Donne and Andrew Marvell; elements: analytical, colloquial lang, rhythmic patterns, metaphysical conceit
carpe diem
"seize the day"; age-old literary theme that we should enjoy the moment before it is gone, before youth passes away
Cavalier poets
lyricists associated with the reign of Charles I of England (1625-49); wrote graceful, polished, witty, even brazen poems exalting love, women, and gallant actions; also the Caroline poets or Sons of Ben; followed example of Jonson and Donne; Ex: Herrick
an adjective or phrase applied to a noun to accentuate a certain characteristic; Ex: pious Aeneas
The Canturbury Tales:
"General Prologue", "The Miller's Tale", "Wife of Bath's Tale", "Pardoner's Tale"
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
anonymous (Pearl Poet, Gawain Poet)
The Book of Margery Kempe
"Noah's Flood"
"A Letter of the Authors"
Fairie Queen
Dr. Faustus
Astrophel and Stella
"Defence of Poetry"
"The Canonization"
"The Flea"
"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"
"The Sun Rising"
Holy Sonnets
"To The Virgins"
"Eve's Apology"
"To His Coy Mistress"
"Still To Be Neat"
Paradise Lost

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