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What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature - Literature - Nairaland

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What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 11:35am On Dec 07, 2011
I am hopeful this thread will help many as writers and students of literature in writing as a profession or for academic purpose. It's an introduction to literature as a course of study and various literary terms used in the world of literature. Note; everything you see here is copy right protected. Be warned, there is punishment for plagiarism.

What is literature?
Literature can simply be referred to as creative writing of recognized artistic value. It means Learning; acquaintance with letters or books. The word literature is from the Latin word “littera” meaning letter and is the art of written works. Literally, the word literature is translated to means "acquaintance with letters." Literature, in its widest sense, embraces all compositions in writings.

Brief History of Literature
The first form of world known literature writing has it origin traceable to the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian epic poem which arises from stories in Sumerian. This writing was probably composed around 1900 BC but it was recorded around 2100 B.C. The epic deals with themes of heroism, friendship, loss, and the quest for eternal life.

Different historical periods have emphasized various characteristics of literature. Early works often had an explicit or hidden religious or didactic purpose which is the source from which morality or prescriptive literature emanate. The exotic nature of romance flourished from the Middle Ages onwards, while the Age of Reason manufactured nationalistic epics and philosophical tracts. Romanticism emphasized the popular folk literature and emotive contribution, but gave way in the 19th-century West to a period of realism and naturalism, an investigation into what is real. The 20th century brought demands for symbolism or psychological insight in the delineation and development of character.

to be continued
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 11:50am On Dec 07, 2011
Introduction
Literature falls into two major types which are written and oral literature. Oral literature includes ballads, myth, jokes, folk tales and fables while written source consist of drama, novel, poetry and non fictional literature.

This thread is designed to bring into limelight hundreds of literary terms both the ones you have come across in the course of studying literature and the ones you have never heard of. Everybody is allowed to contribute their quota by inputting in here various literary terms you know in the course of your studying or researching.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 11:53am On Dec 07, 2011
Abbey Theatre

Associated with the Irish Literary Revival, the Abbey Theatre was an outgrowth of an earlier group, the Irish Literary Theatre, founded by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1899, which later became the Irish National Theatre Society and still later moved to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. It endured, producing plays with a markedly national emphasis, until the theatre burned in 1951. W.B. Yeats was director of the Abbey Theatre until his death in 1939. Among the major playwrights of the company were Yeats, Lady Gregory, J.M. Synge, Sean O'Casey, James Stephens, and Lord Dunsany.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 11:56am On Dec 07, 2011
Abecedarian, Abecedarius, Abecedary

This is an acrostic arrangement of words in which the initial letters of successive lines (or other units) form an alphabet. In this type of writing, each word in a line begins with the same letter, although this difficult task is seldom attempted. Such a poem by Alaric Alexander Watts, published in 1817, begins,
"An Austrian army, awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade"

"Yield, yield, ye youths! ye yeomen, yield your yell!
Zeus', Zarpater's, Zoroaster's zeal,
Attracting all, arms against acts appeal!"

Many Psalms (e.g., 9, 10, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145) adhere to some principle of following successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 11:59am On Dec 07, 2011
Abjuration

The act of the expression of solemn renunciation.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 12:01pm On Dec 07, 2011
Above the Fold

The area of the front page that shows when a newspaper is in a news rack. The most conspicuous part of the most important page of a paper.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 12:04pm On Dec 07, 2011
Abridgment

A shortened version of a work, but one that attempts to preserve essential elements.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 12:06pm On Dec 07, 2011
Absurd

In contemporary literature and criticism, a term applied to the sense that human beings, cut off from their roots, live in meaningless isolation in an alien universe. Although the literature of the absurd employs many of the devices of EXPRESSIONISM and SURREALISM, its philosophical base is a form of EXISTENTIALISM, which views human beings as moving from the nothingness from which they came to the nothingness in which they will end through an existence marked by anguish and absurdity.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 12:09pm On Dec 07, 2011
Academic Drama

Plays written and performed in schools and colleges in the Elizabethan age.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 12:11pm On Dec 07, 2011
Acatalectic

An acatalectic line of verse is one having the metrically complete number of syllables in the final foot.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 12:14pm On Dec 07, 2011
Accentual-Syllabic Verse

Verse that depends for its RHYTHM both on the number of syllables per line and on the pattern of accented and unaccented syllables. The basic measures in English poetry are accentual-syllabic.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 12:17pm On Dec 07, 2011
Acccismus

A form of IRONY, a pretended refusal that is insincere or hypocritical. Caesar's refusal of the crown, as reported by Casca in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (1,2) and Richard's disavowal of his kingly qualities in Shakespeare's Richard III (3,7) are examples.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 12:20pm On Dec 07, 2011
Acmeism

A movement in Russian poetry founded by Nikolai Gumilev and Sergei Gorodetski, which begun around 1912 by members of the Poets' Guild to promote precise treatment of realistic subjects. The movement's emphasis on exactness of word and clarity of image invites comparison with its Anglo-American contemporary, Imagism.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 1:13pm On Dec 07, 2011
Acronym

A word formed by combining the initial letters or syllables of a series of words to form a name, as "radar," from "radio detecting and ranging." An acronym is akin to ACROSTIC.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 3:56pm On Dec 07, 2011
Acrostic

An acrostic (Greek: ákros "top"; stíchos "verse"wink is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval.

There is a classic example of acrostic poem in English written by Edgar Allan Poe is entitled simply "An Acrostic":

Elizabeth it is in vain you say
"Love not" — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L.E.L.
Zantippe's talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breath it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside —
His follie — pride — and passion — for he died.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 8:30am On Dec 08, 2011
Act

An Act is a major part of ancient Greek plays or dramatic works. It is often used in a play to mark a major division of a DRAMA.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 8:32am On Dec 08, 2011
Action

The series of events that constitute a PLOT, what the characters say, do, think, or in some cases fail to do. Orderly action differs from aimless or episodic activity; an action customarily has a beginning, middle, and end. The action of a work is the answer to the question "What happens?"
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:07pm On Dec 14, 2011
Actoid

One of the robotic SOAP actors in Alan Ayckbourn's comedy Comic Potential, emotionally managed by remote control from the future, employed metaphorically for a person or character without will or personality.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:09pm On Dec 14, 2011
Actor

A person who performs in a drama in any form; the term has replaced the earlier PLAYER. The word has been applied to male and female performers alike.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:10pm On Dec 14, 2011
Actress

A female actor
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:11pm On Dec 14, 2011
Adage

A PROVERB or SAYING made familiar by long use. Examples: "No bees, no honey" (Erasmus, Adagia); "A stitch in time saves nine."
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:13pm On Dec 14, 2011
Adaptation

The rewriting of a work from its original form to fit it for another medium or the new form of such a rewritten work. A NOVEL may be adapted for the STAGE, MOTION PICTURES, or TELEVISION; a PLAY may be rewritten as a NOVEL. The term normally implies an attempt to retain the chief CHARACTERS, ACTIONS, and as much as possible of the language and tone of the original work.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:14pm On Dec 14, 2011
Addenda (plural of Addendum)

Matter to be added to a piece of writing. Addenda may be appended in late stages of production or, after production, on a separate slip attached to the original document. Addenda are usually items inadvertently omitted or received too late for inclusion.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:17pm On Dec 14, 2011
Adonic Verse

In Greek and Latin PROSODY, the measure that consists of a DACTYL and a SPONDEE or a dactyl and a TROCHEE, probably so called after the Adonia, the festival of Adonis.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:19pm On Dec 14, 2011
Adventure story

It is a narrative that tells stories of heroic tale in a chain of related events. An adventure story relates the exciting travels or journey on which the main characters embark. A story in which action often exterior, usually physical, and frequently violent is the predominant material, stressed above characterization, motivation, or theme, suspense is engendered by the question "What will happen next?" rather than "Why?" or "To whom?" Examples of such stories include; a play that tells the story of Alexander the Great and his conquests, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Old Mother Goose and Her Son Jack, The Story of Robinson Crusoe etc.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:22pm On Dec 14, 2011
Adversarius

Adversarius is a character in a formal satire who is addressed by the persona and who functions to elicit and shape that speaker's remarks. Such a character serves to create a situation within which he or she may speak or play a role similar to that of a STRAIGHT MAN.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:24pm On Dec 14, 2011
A.e.g.

Bookseller's abbreviation of "all edges gilt," referring to the paper on which a book is printed.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:25pm On Dec 14, 2011
Aestheticism

Aesthetic movement) Refers to a movement in late nineteenth-century Europe centered on a belief in "art for art's sake." Rooted in the ideas of Immanuel Kant, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Mallarmé, and others, aestheticism believed that art was not meant to serve a moral or didactic purpose; art's value was its beauty. The ideas of aestheticism came to England through writers such as Walter Pater and later influenced writers such as Wilde and Swinburne who were connected with the Decadence movement.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:26pm On Dec 14, 2011
Aesthetics

It is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. Aesthetic value is one of the common themes in creative writing.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:28pm On Dec 14, 2011
Affective Fallacy

The judging of a work of art in terms of its results, especially its emotional effect. The term was introduced by W.K. Wimsatt, Jr., and M.C. Beardsley to describe the "confusion between the poem and its result (what it is and what it does)." It complements the INTENTIONAL FALLACY. Notable versions of the affective fallacy are Aristotle's CATHARSIS and Longinus's "transport."
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:29pm On Dec 14, 2011
Age of Reason

A term often applied to the neoclassic period in English literature and sometimes to the revolutionary and early national period in American literature, because these periods emphasized self-knowledge, self-control, rationalism, discipline, and the rule of law, order, and decorum in public and private life and in art.
Re: What You Must Know As A Writer Or As A Student Of Literature by collinsfbi(m): 2:30pm On Dec 14, 2011
Age of Sensibility

A name frequently applied by literary historians, such as W.J. Bate, Harold Bloom, and Northrop Frye, to the last half of the eighteenth century in England, the time earlier called the AGE OF JOHNSON. The term Age of Sensibility results from seeing the interval between 1750 and 1798 as a seed field for emerging romantic qualities in literature, such as PRIMITIVISM, SENSIBILITY, and the originality of the individual talent.

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