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AP Literary Terms
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1. A work of fiction of roughly 20 -000 to 50 -000 words--longer than a short story - but shorter than a novel
roman a clef
2. A form of understatement in which the negative of the contrary is used to achieve emphasis or intensity. Ex: He's not a bad dancer
3. A sentence containing a deliberate omission of words. In the sentence 'May was hot and June the same -' the verb 'was' is omitted from the second clause
4. The implied meaning that underlies the main meaning of a work of literature
novel of manners
5. A statement that seems self-contradictory but is nevertheless true
6. A structure that provides premise or setting for a narrative
roman a clef
7. Overstatement; gross exaggeration for rhetorical effect
8. A form of literature in which the hero is destroyed by some character flaw and a set of forces that cause the hero considerable anguish
9. A cleansing of the spirit brought about by the pity and terror of a dramatic tragedy
10. A term for the title character of a work of literature
11. A saying or proverb expressing common wisdom or truth
point of view
12. Language that conveys a speaker's attitude or opinion with regard to a particular subject
13. The repetition of two or more consonant sounds in a group of words or a line of poetry
stream of consciousness
14. Faulty reasoning that inappropriately ascribes human feelings to nature or nonhuman objects
15. A poet; in olden times - a performer who told heroic stories to musical accompaniment
16. In contrast to Dionysian - it refers to the most noble - godlike qualities of human nature and behavior
17. The generic name for a figure of speech such as image - symbol - simile - and metaphor
18. An extended narrative poem that tells of the adventures and exploits of a hero that is generally larger than life and is often considered a legendary figure - i.e. Odysseus - Beowulf - Homer's Iliad - Vergil's Aeneid.
19. A version of a text put into simpler - everyday words
20. A rendering of a quotation in which actual words are not stated but only approximated or paraphrased
21. An extended narrative about improbable events and extraordinary people in exotic places
22. Also called 'pen name' or 'nom de plume'; a false name or alias used by writers. Ex: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
23. A sentence that departs from the usual word order of English sentences by expressing its main though only at the end. In other words - the particulars in the sentence are presented before the idea they support.
24. A novel in which supernatural horrors and an atmosphere of unknown terrors pervades the action
25. A four-line poem or a four-line unit of a longer poem
point of view
26. Novels written for mass consumption - often emphasizing exciting and titillating plots
27. A mocking - satirical assault on a person or situation
28. A return to an earlier time in a story or play in order to clarify present action or circumstances.
29. The works considered most important in a national literature or period; works widely read and studied
30. A figure of speech in which objects and animals are given human characteristics
31. A poem or prose selection that laments or mediates on the passing or death of something or someone of value
32. A term often used as a synonym for realism - also a view of experience that is generally characterized as bleak and pessimistic.
33. The resolution that occurs at the end of a play or work of fiction
34. Poetry written in iambic pentameter - the primary meter used in English poetry and the works of Shakespeare and Milton
35. A parody of traditional epic form. It usually treats a frivolous topic with extreme seriousness - using conventions such as invocations to the Muse - action-packed battle scenes - and accounts of heroic exploits.
36. The act of determining the meter of a poetic line.
37. A comparison that points out similarities between two dissimilar things
38. A figure of speech in which a part signifies the whole ('fifty masts' for fifty ships) or the whole signifies the part ('days' for life - as in 'He lived his days in Canada'). Also when the name of the material stands for the thing itself ('pigskin'
39. Also called figure of speech. In contrast to literal language - it implies meanings. Includes metaphors - similes - and personification - among others.
40. A simple narrative verse that tells a story that is sung or recited
41. A comedy that contains an extravagant and nonsensical disregard of seriousness - although it may have a serious - scornful purpose.
42. The language of a work and its style; words - often highly emotional - used to convince or sway an audience
43. Deriving from the orderly qualities of ancient Greek and Roman culture; implies formality - objectivity - simplicity - and restraint
44. Literally - 'seize the day'; enjoy life while you can - a common theme in literature
in medias res
45. The interrelationship among the events in a story; the plot line is the pattern of events - including exposition - rising action - climax - falling action - and resolution.
46. A figure of speech that uses the name of one thing to represent something else with which it is associated. Ex: 'The White House says...'
47. A vagueness of meaning; a conscious lack of clarity meant to evoke multiple meanings and interpretation
48. French term for the world of books - criticism - and literature in general
49. In poetry - the use of successive lines with no punctuation or pause between them
50. A novel focusing on and describing the social customs and habits of a particular social group
novel of manners
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