List of literary terms

The following is a list of literary terms; that is, those words used in discussion, classification, criticism, and analysis of literature.

:"See also: Glossary of poetry terms, Literary criticism, Literary theory"

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A

*Abecedarius
*Academic drama
*Acatalectic
*Accent
*Accentual verse
*Acrostic
*Allegory
*Alliteration
*Allusion
*Allution
*Anachronism
*Analects
*Analogue
*Analogy
*Anapest
*Anaphora
*Anastrophe
*Anecdote
*Angry Young Men
*Annal
*Annotation
*Antagonist
*Antepenult
*Anthology
*Anticlimax
*Anti-hero
*Anti-masque
*Anti-romance
*Antinovel
*Antistrophe
*Antithesis
*Antonym
*Aphorism
*Apocope
*Apocrypha
*Apollonian and Dionysian
*Apologue
*Apology
*Apothegm
*Aposiopesis
*Apostrophe
*Apron stage
*Arcadia
*Archaism
*Archetype
*Aristeia
*Argument
*Arsis
*Art for art's sake
*Asemic
*Aside
*Assonance
*Atmosphere
*Attitude
*Aube
*Aubade
*Audience
*Autobiography
*Autotelic
*Avant-garde

B

*Ballad
*Ballade
*Ballad stanza
*Bard
*Baroque
*Bathos
*Beast epic
*Beast poetry
*Beat Generation
*Beginning rhyme
*Belles-lettres
*Bestiary
*Beta reader
*Bibliography
*Bildungsroman
*Biography
*Black humor
*Blank verse
*Bloomsbury Group
*Body
*Bombast
*Boulevard drama
*Bourgeosis drama
*Bouts-rimés
*Bowdlerize
*Breviloquence
*Broadside
*Burlesque
*Burletta
*Burns stanza
*Buskin
*Byronic hero

C

*Caca
*Cadence
*Caesura
*Calligram
*Canon
*canso
*Canticum
*Canto
*Canzone
*"Capa y espada"
*Captivity narrative
*Caricature
*"Carmen figuratum"
*"Carpe diem"
*Catachresis
*Catalectic
*Catalexis
*Catastrophe
*Catharsis
*Caudate sonnet
*Cavalier drama
*Cavalier poetry
*Celtic Renaissance
*Celtic Twilight
*Cesura
*Chain of Being
*Chain verse
*"Chanson de geste"
*Chansonnier
*Chant royal
*Chantey
*Chanty
*Chapbook
*Character
*Characterization
*Charactonym
*Chaucerian stanza
*Chiasmus
*Chivalric romance
*Choriamb
*Choriambus
*Chorus
*Chronicle
*Chronical play
*Cinquain
*Classicism
*Classification (literature)
*Classification of rhymes (Peter Dale)
*Clerihew
*Cliché
*Climax
*Cloak-and-sword play
*Closed heroic couplet
*Closet drama
*"Comédie larmoyante"
*Comedy
*Comedy of errors
*Comedy of humors
*Comedy of intrigue
*Comedy of manners
*Comedic relief
*"Commedia dell'arte"
*Comic relief
*Common measure
*Commonplace book
*Common rhyme
*"Comoedia erudate"
*Comparative linguistics
*Compensation
*Complaint
*Conceit
*Concordance
*Concrete universal
*Confessional literature
*Confidant/confidante
*Conflict
*Connotation
*Consistency
*Consonance
*Contradiction
*Contrast
*Convention
*Copyright
*Counterplot
*"Coup de théâtre"
*Couplet
*Courtesy book
*Courtly love
*Cowleyan ode
*Cradle books
*Craft cycle
*Crisis
*Criticism
*Cross acrostic
*Crown of sonnets
*Curtain raiser
*Curtal sonnet

D

*Dactyl
*Dada
*Dale's classification of rhymes
*Dandyism
*"Débat"
*Decadence
*Decasyllabic verse
*Decorum
*Denotation
*Denouement
*Description
*Descriptive lingustics
*Detective story
*"Deus ex machina"
*Deuteragonist
*Dialect
*Dialogue
*Dibrach
*Diction
*Didactic
*Digest
*Digression
*Dime novel
*Diameter
*Dipody
*Dirge
*Dissociation of sensibility
*Dissonance
*Distich
*Distributed Stress
*Dithyramb
*Diverbium
*Divine afflatus
*Doggerel
*"Dolce stil nuove"
*Domestic tragedy
*"Donnée"
*"Doppelgänger"
*Double
*Double rhyme
*Drama
*Drama of sensibility
*Dramatic character
*Dramatic irony
*Dramatic lyric
*Dramatic monologue
*Dramatic proverb
*"Dramatis personae"
*Dramatugy
*Dream allegory
*Dream vision
*Droll
*Dumb show
*Duodecimo
*Duologue
*Duple meter/duple rhythm
*Dystopia

E

*Echo verse
*Eclogue
*Edition
*Elegiac couplet
*Elegiac meter
*Elegy
*Elision
*Emblem
*Emblem book
*Emendation
*Emotive language
*Encomiastic verse
*End rhyme
*End-stopped line
*English sonnet
*Enjambment
*Entr'acte
*Envoy/envoi
*"Èpater le bourgeois"
*Epic poetry
*Epic simile
*Epic Theater
*Epigram
*Epigraph
*Epilogue
*Epiphany
*Episode
*Epistle
*Epistolary novel
*Epistrophe
*Epitaph
*Epithalamion
*Epithet
*Epizeuxis
*Epode
*Eponymous author
*Equivalence
*"Erziehungsroman"
*Essay
*Ethos
*Eulogy
*Euphony
*Euphuism
*Evidence
*Exegesis
*Exemplum
*Existentialism
*Exordium
*Experimental novel
*"Explication de texte"
*Exposition
*Expressionism
*Extended metaphor
*Extension
*Extrametrical verse
*Extravaganza
*Eye rhyme

F

*Fable
*Fabliau
*Falling action
*Falling rhythm
*Fancy and imagination
*Fantasy
*Farce
*Feeling
*Feminine ending
*Feminine rhyme
*Fiction
*Figurative language
*Figure of speech
*"Fin de siècle"
*Flashback
*Flat character
*Fleshly school
*Foil
*Folio
*Folk drama
*Folklore
*Folk tale
*Foot
*Foreshadowing
*Form
*Four levels of meaning
*Four meanings of a poem
*Fourteener
*Frame story
*Free verse
*French forms
*Freytag's pyramid
*Fugitives and Agrarians
*Fustian
*Futurism

G

*Gallows humor
*Gamebooks
*Gathering
*Genetic fallacy
*Genius and talent
*Genre
*Georgian poetry
*Georgic
*Gesta
*Gloss
*Gnomic verse
*Golden line
*Goliardic verse
*Gongorism
*Gonzo journalism
*Gothic novel
*Grand Guignol
*Graveyard poetry
*Graveyard school
*Greek tragedy
*Grub Street
*Grundyism
*Guignol

H

*Hagiography
*Hagiology
*Haikai
*Haikai no renga
*Haiku
*Half rhyme
*Hamartia
*Handwaving
*Headless line
*Head rhyme
*Hebraism-Hellenism
*"The Hedgehog and the Fox"
*Hemistich
*Hendecasyllable
*Hendecasyllabic verse
*Heptameter
*Heptastrich
*Heresy of Paraphrase
*Hero
*Heroic couplets
*Heroic drama
*Heroic quatrain
*Heroic stanza
*Hexameter
*Hexastich
*Hiatus
*High comedy
*Higher criticism
*Historical linguistics
*Historical novel
*Historic present
*History play
*Hokku
*Holograph
*Homeric epithet
*Homeric simile
*Homily
*Horatian ode
*Horatian satire
*Hornbook
*Hovering accent
*Hubris
*Hudibrastic verse
*Humor
*Humours
*Hybris
*Hymn
*Hymnal stanza
*Hyperbole
*Hypercatalectic
*Hypermetrical
*Hypocorism
*Hysteron-proteron

I

*Iambic pentameter
*Ideology
*Idiom
*Imagery
*Imagism
*Impressionism
*Indeterminacy
*Inference
*"In medias res"
*Internal rhyme
*Interpretation
*Intertextuality
*Irony

J

*Jacobean era
*Jeremiad
*Journal
*Judicial criticism
*Juncture
*Juggernaut
*Juvenalian satire
*Juxtaposition

K

*Kabuki
*Katharsis
*Kenning
*Kigo
*"King's English"
*Kireji
*"Kitsch"
*"Künstlerroman"

L

*Lai
*Lake Poets
*Lament
*Lampoon
*"L'art pour l'art"
*Laureate
*Lay
*Leaf
*Legend
*Legitimate theater
*Leonine rhyme
*Letters
*Level stress (even accent)
*Libretto
*Light ending
*Light poetry
*Light rhyme
*Light stress
*Light verse
*Limerick
*Linguistics
*Linked rhyme
*Link sonnet
*Literary ballad
*Literary criticism
*Literary epic
*Literary realism
*Literary theory
*Literature
*Litotes
*Litterateur
*Liturgical drama
*Living newspaper
*Local color
*Logaoedic
*Logical fallacy
*Logical stress
*Logos
*Long measure
*Loose sentence
*Lost Generation
*Low comedy
*Lyric

M

*Macaronic verse
*Madrigal
*Magical realism
*Malapropism
*"Märchen"
*Marginalia
*Marinism
*Marivauge
*Marxist literary criticism
*Masculine ending
*Masculine rhyme
*Masked comedy
*Masque
*Maxim
*Meaning
*Medieval drama
*Meiosis
*Melic poetry
*Melodrama
*Memoir
*Menippean satire
*Mesostich
*Metaphor
*Metaphysical conceit
*Metaphysical poetry
*Meter
*Metonymy
*Metre
*Metrical accent
*Metrical foot
*Middle Comedy
*"Miles gloriosus"
*Miltonic sonnet
*Mime
*Mimesis
*Minnesinger
*Minstrel
*Miracle play
*Miscellanies
*"Mise en scène"
*Mixed metaphor
*Mock epic
*Mock heroic
*Mode
*Modernism
*Monodrama
*Monody
*Monograph
*Monologue
*Monometer
*Monopody
*Monostich
*Monograph
*Mood
*Mora
*Moral
*Morality play
*Motif
*Motivation
*Movement
*Mummery
*Muses
*Musical comedy
*Mystery play
*Mythology

N

*Narrative point of view
*Narrator
*Naturalism
*Non-fiction
*Non-fiction novel
*Novel
*Novelette
*Novella
*Novelle
*narrative poem

O

*Objective correlative
*Objective criticism
*Obligatory scene
*Octameter
*Octave
*Ode
*Oedipus complex
*Onomatopoeia
*Open couplet
*Oxymoron

P

*Palinode
*Pantoum
*Pantun
*Parable
*Paraclausithyron
*Paradelle
*Paradox
*Pararhyme
*Partimen
*Pastourelle
*Pathetic fallacy
*Pathya Vat
*Parallelism
*Parody
*Pastoral
*Pathos
*Pentameter
*Periodic sentence
*Peripetia
*perspective
*Persona
*Personification
*"Pièce bien faite"
*Picaresque novel
*Plain Style
*Platonic
*Plot
*Poem
*Poem and song
*Poetic diction
*Poetic transrealism
*Poetry
*Point of view
*Polysyndeton
*Post-colonialism
*Postmodernism
*Pound's Ideogrammic Method
*Prologue
*Progymnasmata
*Prose
*Prosimetrum
*Prosody
*Protagonist
*Proverb
*Pruning poem
*Psychoanalytic literary criticism
*Psychoanalytic theory
*Pun
*Purple patch
*Pyrrhic

Q

*Quadrivium
*Quantitative verse
*Quantity
*Quarto
*Quatorzain
*Quatrain
*Quiproquo

R

*Reader-response criticism
*Realism
*Refrain
*Renga
*Renku
*Repetition
*Resolution
*Rhetoric
*Rhyme
*Rhythm
*Roman a clef
*Romance novel
*Romanticism
*Russian formalism

*Satire
*Scanning
*Scansion
*"Scene a faire"
*Sea shanty
*Semiotics
*Semiotic literary criticism
*Setting
*Shanty
*Sestet
*Shakespearean sonnet
*Simile
*Slice of life
*Sobriquet
*Soliloquy
*Sonnet
**Sonneteer
*Speaker
*Sprung rhythm
*Stanza
*Static character
*Stereotype
*Stream of consciousness
*Structuralism
*Subplot
*Syllogism
*Symbol
*Synecdoche
*Synaesthesia
*Syntax

T

*Tableau
*Tail rhyme
*Tagelied
*Tale
*Tall Tale
*Telestich
*Tanka
*Tenor
*Tension
*Tercet
*"Terza rima"
*Tetrameter
*Tetrastich
*Textual criticism
*Texture
*Theater of Cruelty
*Theatre of the Absurd
*Theme
*Thesis
*Thesis play
*Threnody
*Tirade
*Tone
*Tract
*Tractarian Movement
*Tragedy
*Tragedy of blood
*Tragic flaw
*Tragic Hero
*Tragic irony
*Tragicomedy
*Tranche de vie
*Transcendentalism
*Transferred epithet
*Transition
*Translation
*Travesty
*Triad
*Tribe of Ben
*Tribrach
*Trimeter
*Triolet
*Triple rhyme
*Triple meter
*Triple rhythm
*Triplet
*Tristich
*Tritagonist
*Trivium
*"Trobar clus"
*Trochee
*Trope (literature)
*Troubadour
*Trouvère
*Truncated line
*Tumbling verse
*Type character

U

*"Ubi sunt"
*Underground culture
*Underground press
*Understatement
*Unities
*Unity
*Universality
*University Wits
*Unobtainium
*Utopia
*Utopian and dystopian fiction
*Unreliable narrator

V

*Variable syllable
*Variorum
*Varronian satire (Menippean satire)
*"Vates"
*Vaudeville
*Vehicle
*Verbal irony
*Verisimilitude
*Verism
*"Vers de société"
*Verse
*Verse paragraph
*"Vers libre"
*Verso
*Victorianism
*Viewpoint
*Vignette
*Villain
*Villanelle
*Virelay
*Virgule
*Voice (of the writer)
*Voice (in phonetics)
*Volta
*Vorticism
*Vulgate

W

*Wardour Street English
*Weak ending
*Weak foot
*Well-made play
*Wellerism
*Western fiction
*Wimmering
*Wit
*Word accent
*Wrenched accent
*Watermark

References and further reading

*M. H. Abrams. "A Glossary of Literary Terms". Thomson-Wadsworth, 2005. ISBN 1413004563.
*Chris Baldick. "The Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms". Oxford Univ. Press, 2004. ISBN 0198608837.
*Chris Baldick. "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms". Oxford Univ. Press, 2001. ISBN 019280118X.
*Edwin Barton & G. A. Hudson. "Contemporary Guide To Literary Terms". Houghton-Mifflin, 2003. ISBN 0618341625.
*Mark Bauerlein. "Literary Criticism: An Autopsy". Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1997. ISBN 0812216253.
*Karl Beckson & Arthur Ganz. "Literary Terms: A Dictionary". Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1989. ISBN 0374521778.
*Peter Childs. "The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms". Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0415340179.
*J. A. Cuddon. "The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory". Penguin Books, 2000. ISBN 0140513639 .
*Dana Gioia. "The Longman Dictionary of Literary Terms: Vocabulary for the Informed Reader". Longman, 2005. ISBN 032133194X.
*Sharon Hamilton. "Essential Literary Terms: A Brief Norton Guide with Exercises". W. W. Norton, 2006. ISBN 0393928373.
*William Harmon. "A Handbok to Literature". Prentice Hall, 2005. ISBN 0131344420.
*X. J. Kennedy, et al. "Handbook of Literary Terms: Literature, Language, Theory". Longman, 2004. ISBN 0321202074.
*V. B. Leitch. "The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism". W. W. Norton, 2001. ISBN 0393974294.
*Frank Lentricchia & Thomas McLaughlin. "Critical Terms for Literary Study". Univ. of Chicago Press, 1995. ISBN 0226472035.
*David Mikics. "A New Handbook of Literary Terms". Yale Univ. Press, 2007. ISBN 030010636X.
*Ross Murfin & S. M. Ray. "The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms". Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006. ISBN 0312259107.
*John Peck & Martin Coyle. "Literary Terms and Criticism". Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. ISBN 0333962583.
*Edward Quinn. "A Dictionary of Literary And Thematic Terms". Checkmark Books, 2006. ISBN 0816062447.
*Lewis Turco. "The Book of Literary Terms: The Genres of Fiction, Drama, Nonfiction, Literary Criticism, and Scholarship". Univ. Press of New England, 1999. ISBN 0874519551.


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