A symbolic fictional narrative that conveys a meaning not explicitly set forth in the narrative. Allegories typically describe situations and events or express abstract ideas in terms of material objects, persons, and actions.

George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm (1945), which, under the guise of a fable about domestic animals, expresses the author’s disillusionment with the outcome of the Bolshevik Revolution and shows how one tyrannical system of government in Russia was replaced by another.


Stylistic device in which a number of words, having the same first consonant sound or stressed syllables, occur close together in a series.

It creates a musical effect in the text that enhances the pleasure of reading a literary piece.

Alliteration in our daily life:
American Airlines
Ronald Reagan
Mickey Mouse
Marilyn Monroe

“From forth the fatal loins of these two foes” (Shakespeare)


Allusion is a statement that refers to something without directly mentioning it. It is a figure of speech that makes a reference to a place, person or something that happened.

This can be real or imaginary and may refer to anything, including paintings, opera, folk lore, mythical figures, or religious manuscripts. The reference can be direct or may be inferred, and can broaden the reader’s understanding.

“I thought the software would be useful, but it was a Trojan Horse.” This refers to the horse that Greeks built that contained all the soldiers. It was given as a gift to the enemy during the Trojan War and, one inside the enemy’s wall, the soldiers broke out.

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By using trickery, the Greeks won the war.

Absurd drama
Literate genre of 20th century. It depicts the reality as meaningless. Dialogues are without meaning and weird.
There is no plot, minimum of action and characters of persons are omitted. Language is full of cliches, puns and repetititons.Typical example is Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. The actors are waiting for a person named Godot and he will not come.
Did he come yet?
Shall we leave?
He would punish us.
Lets wait.

the state of being ambiguous (capable of more than one interpretation) or imprecise in meaning

We met by the bank (without explanation we do not know, whether “bank” stands for the building or the edge of river.

Angry Young Men
British literary group of young writers who were characterised by a disillusionment with traditional British society.
The Angry Young Men expressed in their works the disagreement with the post-war situation, prejudices of the upper-class, with the development of the literature and with the programme of the Welfare State.Their style was strongly leftist, they criticised consumer society and british habits, they despised with the sociopolitical order in their countryJohn Osborne: Look Back in Anger (1956)
John Wain: Hurry on Down (1953)

A brief and accurate saying expressing a general truth or maxim
The literal meaning is “definiton”.Examples:
A barking dog never bites.
All that glitters is not gold.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Speaker turns from the audience as a whole to address a single person or thing, who/which isn´t there.
Figure speach!”Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?
Come, let me clutch thee!
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.”
Archetypal criticism

The investigation and analysis of archetypal and mythical narrative patterns, character types, themes and motifs in literature and their recurrence in literature.

An archetype, also known as universal symbol, may be a character, a theme, a symbol or even a setting. Many literary critics are of the opinion that archetypes, which have a common and recurring representation in a particular human culture or entire human race, shape the structure and function of a literary work.

Archetypes in Characters

The Hero: He or she is a character who predominantly exhibits goodness and struggles against evil in order to restore harmony and justice to society e.g. Beowulf, Hercules, D’artagnan from “The Three Musketeers” etc.

The Villain: A character whose main function is to go to any extent to oppose the hero or whom the hero must annihilate in order to bring justice e.g. Shere Khan from Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” stories, Long John Silver from Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” etc.


A narrative poem, often of folk origin and intended to be sung, consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a refrain.

Ballads are normally composed in two kinds of stanzas; the first consists of a couplet of lines each with four stressed syllables, and with an interwoven refrain.

“The Wife of Usher’s Well”
The story is that a mother looses her sons at sea. When she finds that they cannot be recovered, she goes mad. She then uses magic to compel their return, but they return as ghosts and must vanish with the morning.

“I wish the wind may never cease,
Nor fashes in the flood,
Till my three sons come home to me,
In earthly flesh and blood.”

Beat generation

Beat movement, also called Beat Generation, American social and literary movement originating in the 1950s and centred in the bohemian artist communities of San Francisco’s North Beach, Los Angeles’ Venice West, and New York City’s Greenwich Village.

It was a group of authors whose literature explored and influenced American culture in the post-World War II era. The bulk of their work was published and popularized throughout the 1950s. Central elements of Beat culture are rejection of standard narrative values, the spiritual quest, exploration of American and Eastern religions, rejection of materialism, explicit portrayals of the human condition, experimentation with psychedelic drugs, and sexual liberation and exploration.

A verse, comprised of unrhymed lines all in the same meter, usually iambic pentameter.
Its richness and versatility depend on varying the stresses and the position of the pause in each line, in catching the shifting tonal qualities and emotional overtones of the language, and in arranging lines into thought groups and paragraphs.Chrisptopher Marlowe (Doctor Faustus)
You stars that reign’d at my nativity,
Whose influence hath allotted death and hell,
Now draw up Faustus like a foggy mist
Into entrails of yon labouring clouds,
That when they vomit forth into the air,
My limbs may issue from their smoky mouths,
So that my soul may but ascend to Heaven.
An approved or traditional collection of works.
The word canon is typically used to refer to those works in anthologies that have come to be considered standard or traditionally included in the classroom and published textbooks. In this sense, “the canon” denotes the entire body of literature traditionally thought to be suitable for admiration and study. In addition, the word canon refers to the writings of an author that scholars generally accepted as genuine products of siad author.examples:
the “Shakespeare canon” – it has only two apocryphal plays (Pericles and the Two Noble Kinsmen) that have gained wide acceptance as authentic Shakespearean works beyond the thirty-six plays contained in the First Folio
The “Chaucer canon” – it includes The Canterbury Tales, but it does not include the apocryphal work
clensing; term from Aristotele’s theory of drama. It argues that tragedy has a cleansing and purging effect on the viewer.
Catharsis, the purification or purgation of the emotions (especially pity and fear) primarily through.In Romeo nd Juliet, Romeo commits suicide by drinking the poison that he erroneously thinks Juliet had tasted too. The audience usually finds themselves crying at this particular moment for several reasons. Primarily because losing a loved one is a feeling that all of us share. Watching or reading such a scene triggers the memories of someone we have lost (either by death or by mere separation) and because we are able to relate to it, we suddenly release the emotions that we have been repressing.

Caesura, ( Latin: “cutting off,”) also spelled cesura , in modern prosody, a pause within a poetic line that breaks the regularity of the metrical pattern. It is represented in scansion by the sign ||. The caesura sometimes is used to emphasize the formal metrical construction of a line, but it more often introduces the cadence of natural speech patterns and habits of phrasing into the metrical scheme. The caesura may coincide with conventional punctuation marks, yet it is not a general rule.

This blessed plot, || this earth, || this realm,|| this England,…
W. Shakespeare

There are two different explanations of the term character:
The character is the name of a literary genre; it is a short, and usually witty, sketch in prose of a distinctive type of person. The genre was inaugurated by Theophrastus, a Greek author of the second century B.C., who wrote a lively book entitled Characters. The form had a great vogue in the earlier seventeenth century.(2)
Characters are the persons represented in a dramatic or narrative work, interpreted by the reader as being endowed with particular moral, intellectual, and emotional qualities, which are expressed in what they say and what they do. The main character is typically called the protagonist; the character against whom the protagonist struggles is the antagonist.
A character is usually but not always a person (e.g. in Jack London´s Call of the Wild, the protagonist is a devoted sled dog; in Herman Melvilles´s Moby-Dick, the antagonist is an unfathomable whale). Perhaps the only possible qualification to be placed on character is that whatever it is, it must have some recognizable human qualities.The methods by which a writer creates people in a story so that they seem actually to exist are called characterization.


The major books of characters were written by Joseph Hall, Sir Thomas Overbury, or John Earle. The titles of some of Overbury´s sketches indicates their form: A Courtier, A Wise Man or A Fair and Happy Milkmaid.


Charles Dickens isexternal image arrow-10×10.png known for creating characters who have stepped off the pages of his fictions into the imaginations and memories of his readers. His characters are successful because his characterizations are vivid and convincing. One of the most famous Dickens´s characters is Ebenezer Scrooge from the novel Christmas Carol, a cold-hearted and selfish miser who hates people and who cares only about money and himself, but then the three Ghosts of Christmas show him his miserable and empty life through the past, present and future and in the end Scrooge becomes a kind, generous and warm-hearted man.


The line or lines that are repeated in verse, the “Chorus” of a song. The chorus often sharply contrasts the verse melodically, rhytmically and harmonically and assumes a higher level of dynamics and activity, often with added instrumentation.

An actor in Elizabethan drama who recites the prologue and epilogue to a play and sometimes comments on the action.

Chronicle is a continuous historical account of events arranged in order of time without analysis or interpretation. Examples of such accounts date from Greek and Roman times, but the best-known chronicles were written or compiled in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
These were composed in prose or verse, and, in addition to providing valuable information about the period they covered, they were used as sources by William Shakespeare and other playwrights.Some chronicles are written from first-hand knowledge, some are from witnesses or participants in events, still others are accounts passed mouth to mouth prior to being written down.
Some made use of written materials; charters, letters, or the works of earlier chroniclers.Scholars categorize the genre of chronicle into two subgroups: live chronicles, and dead chronicles.
A dead chronicle is one where the author gathers his list of events up to the time of his writing, but does not record further events as they occur.
A live chronicle is where one or more authors add to a chronicle in a regular fashion, recording contemporary events shortly after they occur.

The word is from the Middle English cronicle, which is thought to have been ultimately derived from the Greek chrónos, “time.”

in dramatic and non-dramatic fiction, the point at which the highest level of interest and emotional response is achieved.Gustav Freytag defines the climax as the third of the five dramatic phases which occupies the middle of the story.
Close reading

Reading to uncover layers of meaning that lead to deep comprehension. One should re-read inherently complex texts and use their critical thinking to fully understand what is really written in the texts.

When reading a text, people should always keep in mind these simple questions:
What is the author telling me here?
Are there any hard or important words?
What does the author want me to understand?
How does the author play with language to add to meaning?

Comedy is type of drama which is supposed to amuse the audience. Comedies are very often satirical and mostly have cheerful ending.
Comedy has its origins in ancient Greece. First comedies were written by Aristophanes.Romantic comedy
Love is main theme in this type of comedy. There are many romantic comedies written by Shakespeare. The story is mostly about idealized love affairs.
Example: As You Like It by William Shakespeare.Comedy of manners
This type of comedy deals with relations and intrigues in sophisticated society.
Example: The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

This genre contains both tragic and comedic elements. Tragicomedy is often serious but ends happily.
Example: Il Pastor Fido by Giovani Battista Guarini

Sentimental comedy
Sentimental comedy contains both comedy and sentimental tragedy. In this type of comedy are often scenes with extreme emotions.
Example: The Foundling by Edward Moore

Comedy of humours

Type of comedy that aims on characters, each of the characters exhibit one trait (phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric and melancholic)
Example: Every Man in His Humour by Ben Johnson

Comedy of manners
– the comedy of manners is a style of comedy that reflects the life, ideals and manners of upper class society in a way that is essentially true to its traditions and philosophy
– popular form of English drama in the second half on seventeenth centuryExample:
One of the greatest exponents of the comedy of manners was Moliére, who satirized the hypocrisy and pretension of 17th-century Fremch society in such plays as L´École des femmes (1662; The School for Wives) and Le Misanthrope (1666; The Misanthrope).
Conflict and complication
Conflict or complication
Can be expressed as a disagreement between two characters. The conflict usually drives the plot of the novel or play and increases the action. The conflict can be:
internal, some protagonists struggle within the self (drugs, self-destruction, etc.) – Shakespeare, Hamlet
man vs man – Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code
man vs.nature. – Melville, Moby DickExample:
John tried hard to convince himself that his Hollywood dreams were worth the struggle but his parents, and his inner voice of reason, failed to agree.
– is rather emotional and imaginative association surrounding a word
– refers to the associations that are connected to a certain word or the emotional suggestions related to that word
– the connotative meanings of a word exist together with the denotative meanings
– widely used by native speakers, sometimes it can be hard for foreignersSnake –
denotative meaning – “any of numerous scaly, legless, sometimes venomous reptiles having a long, tapering, cylindrical body and found in most tropical and temperate regions”
– but the connotation could be – evil, danger, slimyHollywood-
– denotation – an area of Los Angeles, worldwide known as the center of the American movie industry (general knowledge about the place)
– connotation – glitz, glamour, tinsel, celebrity, and dreams of stardom (how we feel about the place, what we expect)

A pair of successive lines of verse, they usually rhyme and have same length
A pair, coupleClosed = Formal
Each of the two lines is end-stopped
Open = Run-On
First line continues to the second line, this is called enjambementThen share thy pain, allow that sad relief;
Ah, more than share it, give me all thy grief.
—(Alexander Pope, “Eloisa to Abelard”)

Think what you will, we seize into our hands
His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.
—(William Shakespeare,Richard II)

it is a metrical foot, which consists of:
one long/stressed syllable and two short/unstressed syllabledactyl hexameter = the most common metre
dactyl is not used often in English verse, because using this metrical foot tends to distorting normal word accents
it appears e.g. in Robert Browning’s or Algernon Charles Swinburne’s poetry

A theory used in the study of literature or philosophy which says that a piece of writing does not have just one meaning and that the meaning depends on the reader

The example can be an analysis of the work Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. For many years, this novel was thought to be an important work on human rights and an examination of man’s inhumanity to man. Through the eyes of Huck, the reader could see the devastation of slavery and the degradation suffered by African Americans.
Critics who use deconstruction quite logically point to the last portion of the book, in which Huck and Tom realize that Jim is a free man and no longer a slave, yet go to great lengths to pretend he is a slave. They lock him up and nearly starve him. Huck is quite willing to degrade Jim in this way, showing few moral qualms about doing so.

Denouement is derived from a French word called “denoue” that means “to untie”. The denouement is a literary device which can be defined as the resolution of the issue of a complicated plot in fiction.1
Denouement is a part of dramatic structure which is usually at the end of a plot.
Dramatic structure:
1 Exposition
2 Rising action
3 Climax
4 Falling action
5 Denouement (resolution)Examples:
Majority of the most examples of denouement occur at the end of works of art. This part is often called an epilogue. However in some mystery novels the denouement and the climax (a part of a plot which precedes denouement) might occur simultaneously.1
“The denouement in The Great Gatsby happens when Nick decides to go back to Minnesota to get away from the rich people who are engaged in all those things which Nick thinks are part of the moral worthlessness in Gatsby’s life. All the people in Gatsby’s circle were unfaithful.”

the explicit or direct meaning or set of meanings of a word orexpression, as distinguished from the ideas or meanings associatedwith it or suggested by it; the association or set of associations that aword usually elicits for most speakers of a language, as distinguishedfrom those elicited for any individual speaker because of personalexperience

Denotation and Connotation

In literary works, we find it a common practice with writers to deviate from the dictionary meanings of words to create fresher ideas and images. Such deviations from the literal meanings are called the use of figurative language or literary devices e.g. metaphors, similes, personifications, hyperboles, understatements, paradoxes, and puns etc. Even in our daily conversation, we diverge from the dictionary meanings of words and prefer connotative or associated meanings of words in order to accurately convey our message. Below is a list of some common deviations from denotative meanings of words that we experience in our day to day life:

a dog is used to suggest shamelessness or an ugly face
a dove is used to suggest peace or gentility
home is used to suggest family, comfort and security
politician has a negative connotation of wicked and insincere person
mom and dad when used instead of mother and father suggest loving parents

Examples in literature

William Shakespeare – As you like it

“All the world’s a stage,

and all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

and one men in his time plays many parts,”

Shakespeare moves away from the denotative meanings of words in the above lines in order to give a symbolic sense to a few words. “a stage” symbolizes the world, “players” suggests human beings and “parts” implies different stages of their lives.

William Wordsworth – A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal

“A slumber did my spirit seal;

I had no human fears-

She seemed a thing that could not feel

The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;

She neither hears nor sees;

Roll’d round in earth’s diurnal course

With rocks, and stonesn and trees.”

Wordsworth makes a contrast between a living girl and a dead girl in the first and second stanza respectively. We are familiar to the meanings of the words used in the last line of the second stanza; rock, stone and tree but the poet uses them connotatively where rock and stone imply cold and inanimate object and the tree suggests dirt and thus the burial of that dead girl.

simply conversation, a verbal exchange of ideas (expression of thought through language)
sort of like a speech or an essay
generalization of conversation within each modality and context of communication
4 types of discourse:1) Argument = communication convincing an audience that the writer’s or speaker’s claim is correct cause he uses evidence and reason
2) Narration = communication telling a story, often with emotion and empathy involved
3) Description = communication that relies on the five senses to help the audience visualize something
4) Exposition = inform the audience of something with neutral language (not persuation or evoking emotion)Another division:

a) Poetic = creative, fictional writing e.g. novels, poems, drama. It prioritizes emotion, imagery, using metaphor and symbolism.
b) Expressive = creative, non-fiction e.g. memoirs, letters, online blogs.
c) Transactional = it propels something into action e.g. advertising motivating a customer to buy. Often does not rely on literary devices.

Poetic discourse
‘I marvel how Nature could ever find space
For so many strange contrasts in one human face:
There!s thought and no thought, and there’s paleness and bloom
And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.’

Naration (to tell a funny story)
‘When you buy a box of Ritz crackers, on the back of the box, they have all these suggestions as to what to put on top of the Ritz. “Try it with turkey and cheese. Try it with peanut butter.” But I like crackers man, that’s why I bought it, ’cause I like crackers! I don’t see a suggestion to put a Ritz on top of a Ritz. I didn’t buy them because they’re little edible plates! You’ve got no faith in the product itself.’

Double entendre

Double entendre

It’s a word or a phrase, that has two meanings. One of the meanings is usually some sexual or dirty (entendre=meaning, so basically double meaning). The second meaning can be intentional or unintentional.


A new McDonald’s advertising bilboard using a questionable double entendre has courted controversy. The ad uses the slogan “a prize to make your sausage sizzle”.

“The only thing we don’t have a god for is premature ejaculation, but I hear that it’s coming quickly.” – Mel Brooks

– In literature = a genre or style of writing
– drama can be in verse or prose intended to play life or character or to tell a story, usually involves conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue
– drama is typically designed for theatrical performanceExample:
In my opinion, the best examples of drama are Shakespeare’s works.
Romeo and Juliet
A Midsummer Night’s Drem

A literary genre, also called anti-utopia, which in time derived from utopia, due to despair over seeming impossibility of utopia. Therefore dystopia is direct opposite to utopia – foretelling some kind of doom in form of physical destruction or social decay, often meaning a place, where people live under some kind of oppression, often without realizing it. Most of the time, an individual’s freedom of mind or body (or both) is restricted or denied completely and the individual is forced to adapt and function within the system.

Dystopian world is exaggerated and extreme illustration of current trends, political systems, norms in society etc. Deviation or dissent in dystopian society are unthinkable, as well as individuality. Usually some form of propaganda and withholding information is used to control population. People are led to believe the system is the only possible way to live and thus creating an illusion of perfect world that needs to be protected at all cost. Also, a representative of such system is often worshiped by the people.

This genre often uses science fiction, apocalyptic or even fantasy settings for its depiction of future, as these help setup radical order of society, which might otherwise be hard to imagine.

Definition (in English literature):
Elegy is a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead
– Its origins reach back to ancient Greece
– The Greek term elegeia (Greek: ἐλεγεία; from ἔλεγος, elegos, “lament”)
– Often used as a response to the death of a person – lover, friend, public figure
– Different from
epitaph (which is too brief)
ode (solely exalts)
eulogy (is written in formal prose)Elements of traditional elegy are:
– 3 stages of loss (of a person or a group of people)
lament – express grief and sorrow
praise and admiration – those who passed are being idealised
consolation and solaceExample:
With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
(by W. H. Auden – In Memory of W. B. Yeats)

– Even better example of an elegy is a famous poem „O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman, which was originally written for President A. Lincoln
– Other representative works:
Night Thoughts by Edward Young
Grave by Robert Blair

Elizabethan age

is considered to be the most enriching era for literature not only because the most famous British writers were composing throughout this era but after this age sudden darkening times came.

Elizabethan age is a part of English Renaissance therefore romance was very important for all types of literature. Those times were influenced by other countries such as Italy or France.

Elizabethan age was named after Queen Elizabeth I. who was reigning at the time (1558 – 1603). The name “Elizabethan” is not based on any typical style of writing but simply names the historical era. To mention a few of the famous writers – Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Roger Ascham, Richard Hooker, Christopher Marlowe (Doctor Faustus, Edward II.,), William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear).

Especially for literature this was the golden era. To name a few relevant terms that became more noticeable in poetry – a sonnet, a dramatic blank verse or a Spenserian stanza. Drama also became more popular thanks to the works of William Shakespeare. Prose was inspired by all the changes and many historical texts were written and also criticism of some of the first English novels appeared.

After Elizabethan age Jacobean age followed, however it was not seen as successful as the previous one.

Elizabethan theater

Elizabethan theatre refers to the theatre of England between 1562 and 1603.

Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was very interested in theatre, especially in drama. In 1574, regular weekday performances were legitimized and in 1576, the first playhouse was built. It was called the Theatre. Others followed, including the Curtain, the Rose, the Swan and the Globe. All these were situated in London. Thanks to these newly established public theatres, there was a big demand for the plays.

Generally professional companies operated under the patronage of a member of the nobility. Companies paid rent to the patron, who paid their salaries. But in the Shakespeare’s company, known as the Chamberlain´s Men (later renamed the King’s Men), the actors owned their playhouse, prompt books, costumes, and properties, and they shared in the profits.

The most important representatives are William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.

English or Shakespearean sonnet
the traditional sonnet form in English literature, which consists of three quatrains and one couplet and uses iambic pentameter as its meter: its fourteen lines follow the rhyme pattern abab cdcd efef gg.
The couplet plays a pivotal role, usually arriving in the form of a conclusion, amplification, or even refutation of the previous three stanzas, often creating an epiphanic quality to the end.Example:
In Sonnet 130 of William Shakespeare’s epic sonnet cycle, the first twelve lines compare the speaker’s mistress unfavorably with nature’s beauties. But the concluding couplet swerves in a surprising direction:
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
Definition (in English litearature):
Enjambment in poetry is the continuation of the sense of a phrase beyond end of a line of verse
– Its origins reach back to ancient Greece – Homer
– /ɛnˈdʒæmbmənt/ from the French enjambement
– Also called RUN-ON
poetical technique
one poetic line ends as a first word of the following verse
verses are open – no punctuationExample:
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
(The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot)

A long narrative poem recounting heroic deeds. Back in the literary usage, the term belongs to oral and written compossitions. In fact, the origins was the oral tradition.

The content of this literature is: myths, heroic legends, histories, religious tales, animal stories or philosophical or moral theories.

Epic literature has educational purposes (stories like these have content with (in)direct knowledge to transmit to the society) and also they have been used as an heroic component of the nation.

The fact that we can find out a lot of epic literature, has made that we have a huge variaty of film productions based on these stories. In my particular choice, I would like to show one film that has many examples of this literature. The well-known film is called “Hercules”, a Disney production in 1997 which shows a compilation of myths’ stories in a cartoon version.

Originally, epigram is an inscription suitable for carving on a monument.
It’s a rhetorical device that is a memorable, brief, interesting and surprising satirical statement. It has originated from a Greek word, epigramma, meaning inscription or to inscribe.
The epigram was revived by Renaissance scholars and poets, such as the French poet Clément Marot, who wrote epigrams in both Latin and the vernacular. As the century progressed, the epigram became more astringent and closer to Martial in both England and France. In England, John Dryden, Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift produced some of the most memorable epigrams of their time.
Among the more recent masters of the English epigram were Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. Wilde became famous for such as “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Shaw, in his Annajanska (1919), commented that “All great truths begin as blasphemies.”Example:
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.” – Auguries of Innocence by William Blake
Epistolary novel
a novel told through the medium of letters written by one or more of the characters
one of the earliest forms of novel to be developed and remained one of the most popular up to the 19th centuryAdvantages:
– it presents an intimate view of the character’s thoughts and feelings without interference from the author and that it conveys the shape of events to come with dramatic immediacy
– the presentation of events from several points of view lends the story dimension and verisimilitudeDisadvantages:
– dependent on the letter writer’s need to “confess” to virtue, vice, or powerlessness, such confessions were susceptible to suspicion or ridicule

Samuel Richardson- Pamela (1740); Clarissa (1748)
Tobias Smollett- Humphry Clinker (1771)
Fanny Burney- Evelina (1778)
J. W. von Goethe- The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)

Definition: Usually an adjective or phrase expressing some quality or attribute which is characteristic of person or thing.
Examples: Long John, Dusty Miller, Richard the LionheartHomer joined adjectives and nouns to make compound adjectives known as “Homeric epithets” when applied to stock nouns. Two famous examples are “wine-dark sea” and “rosy-fingered dawn”, but there are a great many in Iliad and the Odyssey and they become an important feature of poetry in the oral tradition. Examples: swift footed Achilles, god-like Paris, bright-eyed Athene..
Euphemism comes from the Greek word εὐφημία (euphemia), meaning “the use of words in good omen”.
Euphemism is a polite and more pleasant word or phrase that we use to avoid saying something that may be shocking or embarrassing.
Euphemisms are used to refer to taboo topics (such as disability, sex, excretion, and death) in a polite way, or to mask profanity.Examples:
– when we talk about death:
to be in a heaven/ has gone to a better place / pass away
Adults often say to their children that grandma or grandpa are in the heaven.
to put someone/something to a sleep
When the vet has to kill an animal we say that he put it to a sleep.

(from Latin expositio – a showing forth) is the introductory part of a literary work. It is a necessary input to the work which provides the first foothold for the reader’s orientation: for example, it introduces the characters, informs about the spatiotemporal relationships, creates an atmosphere or anticipates a plot of the work, and so motivates readers. Sometimes, this feature may take other means (Long substantive chapter titles for the works of the older literature). It is a crucial part to any story because, without it, it wouldn’t make sense to a reader.

There are many ways to present an exposition and they include monologs, dialogues, in-universe media (newspaper, letters, reports, journal etc.), a protagonist’s thoughts or a narrator’s explanation of past events. It is one of the four rhetorical modes of communication – the other three being narration, description, and argumentation.

Common Examples of Exposition

We often use exposition when we tell friends and family about our days. Exposition has a feeling of “this happened, then this happened, then this,” and so forth. The following sentences, which can be found in everyday language, are examples of exposition:

“You know who I’m talking about: Betty, the one who used to work at the library and always wears her hair in a bun.”

“My day was terrible. First some guy spilled coffee at me at Starbucks. Then I was late to my meeting and my boss yelled at me. Then I forgot to save my report before closing my computer and lost a full day’s work.”

“It was incredible visiting the pyramids in Egypt. They’re just so big and strange against the rest of the landscape. Archaeologists still aren’t completely sure how they were built.”

Some forms of writing that we encounter frequently, yet are not literary, are told completely in exposition. For example, newspaper articles, academic papers, and business reports are written almost exclusively in exposition.

Examples in literature

Nathaniel Hawthorne – Scarlet letter

“The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. In accordance with this rule, it may safely be assumed that the forefathers of Boston had built the first prison-house, somewhere in the vicinity of Cornhill, almost as seasonably as they marked out the first burial-ground, on Isaac Johnson’s lot, and round about his grave, which subsequently became the nucleus of all the congregated sepulchres in the old churchyard of King’s Chapel.”

J.K.Rowling – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Harry had been a year old the night that Voldemort—the most powerful Dark wizard for a century, a wizard who had ben gaining power steadily for eleven years—arrived at his house and killed his father and mother. Voldemort had then turned his wand on Harry; ha had performed the curse that had disposed of many full-grown witches and wizards in his steady rise to power—and, incredibly, it had not worked.”

An art movement that spread from germany at the beginning of 20th century. It rose as a reaction against materialism. It’s concer is with general truths rather than with particular situations; hence, it explored the predicaments of repesentative symbolic types rather than of fully developed individualized characters. Emphasis was lad not on the outer world, which is merely sketched in and barely defined in place or time, but on the internal, on an individual’s mental state; hence, the imitation of life is replaced in Expressionism by the ecstatic evocation of states of mind. The main character in an Expressionist book often pours out his or her woes in long monologues couched in a concentrated, elliptical, almost telegrammatic language.
Fabliau is a short metrical tale; a short narrative in verse, usually comic, often cynical. It was often anonymous, written by professional storytellers and jongleurs. Fabliau was popular in medieval France.The majority of fabliaux are erotic; recurring characters include the cuckold and his wife, the lover, and the naughty priest.Examples:
– The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
– For example Moliére, Jean de La Fontaine and Voltaire were influenced by Fabliaux

a comic dramatic piece that uses highly improbable situations, stereotyped characters, extravagant exaggeration, buffoonery and violent horseplay and typically includes crude characterisationthe class or form of drama made up of such compositions
(an event or situation that is absurd or disorganised – metaphorical meaning)
clowning, acrobatics, caricature, indecency
antecedents found in Greek and Roman theatre
the term ‘farce’ first used in 15th century in France (from the Old French word farce=stuffing – the actors added the pieces of entertainment)
in 20th century new form of expression – in film comedies with Charlie Chaplin, the Keystone Kops and the Marx Brothers
Aristophanes’s and Plautus’s comedies, Italian fabula Atellana – the actors played stock character types caught in exaggerated situations
Maistre Pierre Pathelin (c. 1470, France)
interludes of John Heywood (16th century)
Shakespeare and Molière used elements of farce in their comedies
Eugène-Marin Labiche’s Le Chapeau de paille d’Italie/An Italian Straw Hat (1851, France),
Georges Feydeau’s La Puce à l’oreille (1907, France)
Dario Fo’s Morte accidentale di un anarchico/Accidental D’eath of an Anarchist (1974, Italy)
Feminist literary theory

Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. It examines women’s social roles, experience, interest, chores and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as literature, anthropology, sociology, communication, psychoanalysis etc.

Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism informed by feminist thoeries or politics.
Its history has been varied, from classic works of female authors such as George Eliot, Virginia Woolf and Margaret Fuller to recent theoretical work in women’s studies and gender studies by third – wave authors.

Example: George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway


Fiction is a literature not entirely factual, but at least partially imagined. In older secondary sources it is often used synonymously with epic. Types of literature in the fiction genre include the novel, short story, and novella. The word is from the Latin fictiō, “the act of making, fashioning, or moulding.

Samuel Beckett – Waiting for Godot (early postmodern fiction)
Vladimir Nabokov – Pale Fire (US metafiction)
Umberto Eco – The Name of the Rose („metaphysical” detective fiction)

First-person narration

The first-person narration means that the story is written and told in the first person’s point of view (author’s point of view). This story is told by one character, ho may be speaking/thinking about things around her/him, about her/his feelings. You can recognize this type of narration most often by the use of I and also by the use of WE.

These stories are mostly focused on one character only – the character tells you what she/he knows, sees, feels, thinks. You don’t know what other characters are thinking or feeling (BUT many today’s authors began writing stories from the perspective of several characters – each character has its own chapter in the book).

This type of narration is very common in literature and it can be used in any genre.

a part of a film/movie, play that shows a scene that happened earlier in time than the main story

a sudden, very clear and strong memory of something that happened in the past that is so real you feel
that you are living through the experience again.example:
The events that led up to the murder were shown in a series of flashbacks.
The flashback technique is also used in literature. We can find one of the first examples in the Odyssey, where
most of the adventures that befell Odysseus on his journey home from Troy are told in flashback by Odysseus.In movies, the flashback is created not only by narrative devices but also by several camera techniques and by using
special effects that should alert the viewer that the action shown is a flashback. (for example the edges of the pictures
may be deliberately blurred)

Flat character
Flat character is an imaginary person. It exists only in a book or a movie, etc.
It has only bare minimum of characteristics necessary to play their role in the story. It is relatively uncomplicated character and does not change throughout the course of story. There is no mental or emotional development.Example
Mrs. Micawber in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield (1849-50)
When we are experiencing emotions about a current or anticipated event, we tend to think just about that event and forget about the other things that happen.
Focalism thus happens where we tend to assume that our feelings are driven by a single event in current focus and not the complexity of events we experience.

Focalization is the term invented by the French narrative theoriste Gerard Genette.

We can define this term as a selection or restriction of narrative information in relation to the experience and knowledge of the narrator. The characters or other more hypothetical entities in the story world.

“The focalizer is responsible for the operations that turn the fable into a story and the narrator for the ones that encode the story into the text” (Bronzwaer).

We have 3 kinds of focalization:

1. Internal focalization
This method of focalization means that the narrator says what a given character knows, this provides for a narrative with a ‘point of view.’

Example: Marcus didn’t think he’d ever get used to this business. He had quite liked Roger, and the three of them had been out a few times; now, apparently, he’d never see him again. He didn’t mind, but it was weird if you thought about it. He’d once shared a toilet with Roger, when they were both busting for a pee after a car journey.
Nick Hornby, About a boy

2. External focalization
The narrator says less than the character knows. In this method, narrator does not say any information as the character’s thought or feeling, just tells facts to the reader.

Example: For example, if I told him about how I’d lost my temper with Mum for no reason, he’d say, “I was ridiculous. I can’t believe my parents didn’t duct-tape me up, stuff a sock in my mouth and throw me in a corner.”
Nick Hornby, Slam

3. Zero focalization
In this method the narrator knows more than the character and says more than the character knows.
Sometimes has this method the same definition as the external focalization.

In a verse, it is the smallest metrical unit of measurement. The dominant kind and number of feet determines the metre of a poem. In classical verse, a foot is a combination of two or more short (known as arsis) and long (known as thesis) syllables.
The most common feet in English are the iamb (an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable), trochee (a stressed followed by an unstressed syllable), anapest (two unstressed followed by a stressed syllable) and the dactyl (a stressed followed by two unstressed syllables).
If a single line of poem contains only one foot, it is called monometer; two feet, dimeter; three feet, trimeter; four feet, tetrameter; five feet, pentameter; six feet, hexameter. More than six feet is rare,
Definition: an author gives the reader some clues that can reveal the further development of the plot. This can be at the beginning of a book or a chapter and it can be a specific object, scene or even a dialogue which gives a hint as to a later development of the plot.
Foreshadowing is used for creating a dramatic tencion to the story. In addition it awakens expectations in reades minds about upcoming events – a reader can be prepared for such events.
Last but not least, foreshadowing may be used for mystification as well as for giving a real clue of further events.Example: Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is rich with foreshadowing examples.
One of which is the following lines from Act 2, Scene 2:
“Life were better ended by their hate,
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love”
In the balcony scene, Juliet is concerned about Romeo’s safety as she fears her kinsmen may catch him. Romeo says, in the above lines, that he would rather have her love and die sooner than not obtain her love and die later. Eventually, he gets her love and dies for her love, too.
A literary movement, which deals with the formal structure of the text. Formalism is often associated with the Russian Formalism, which was found out in the 20th-century in Russia.Formalists could not find the elements which were making the literary works “bad” or “good”. According to them, every work contains its own internal functions which make it unique.Formalism in literature deals with the form of each individual part of the text. Is not just about the elements of literature, it emphasizes the structure – the form, the shape, the characters, the tone and so on.

In the work by Vladimir Propp – Morphology of the Tale (Leningrad 1928), we can find the elements of formalism. The publication contains the structural description of one hundred Russian folk tales. Vladimir Propp separates the individual tales into categories. Thus he creates a set of thirty one functions, which are marked with particular symbols and matched to each role of character in the plot.

Freytag´s triangle

Freytag’s Triangle is a term used for a dramatic structure. It is based on Gustave Freytag’s studies of ancient Greek and Shakespearean drama.

He divived the drama into 5 acts.

1 EXPOSITION – the introduction of a story
3. CLIMAX – turning point


Genre is a distinctive type or category of literary composition, such as the epic, tragedy, comedy, novel, and short story.

An example of genres in literature could be:
A political satire (George Orwell; Animal farm)
A fantasy novel (Philip Pullman; Nothern lights)
Epic heroic poetry (Beowulf)

Genre theory
Gothic novel

The Gothic novel took shape in England from 1790 to 1830 and falls within the category of Romantic Literature and was created as a protest against rigidity and formality of other forms of Romantic Literature. Later the Gothic novel has branched off into numerous sub-genres.

Elements of the Gothic Novel:

– story that combine elements from horror and romanticism

– often deals with supernatural events or events occurring in nature that cannot be easily explained

– the story has a prevailing atmosphere of mystery and terror and is full of suspense

– common elements

the supernatural beings/monsters (ghosts, vampires, zombies,…)

– the protagonist – usually isolated either voluntarily or involuntarily

– the villain – is the epitome of evil

– the wanderer – is the epitome of isolation – wanders the world in perpetual exile, usually it is a form of divine punishment

intense emotions
curses and prophecies
– evokes the atmosphere of horror and dread, portrays the deterioration of the world
– gloomy, decaying setting (mysterious architecture, hunted houses, castles, ruins, monasteries,…), equipped with subterranean passages, dark battlements, hidden panels, and trapdoors


Hermeneutics (/hɛrməˈnuːtɪks/ or /hɛrməˈnjuːtɪks/) is the theory and methodology of text interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts,wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.

Hermeneutics – singular noun, refers to some particular method of interpretation.

Hermeneutics – derived from the Greek word ἑρμηνεύω (hermeneuō, “translate, interpret”)

Hermeneutics was initially applied to the interpretation, or exegesis, of scripture. It emerged as a theory of human understanding in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries through the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher and Wilhelm Dilthey. Modern hermeneutics includes both verbal and nonverbal communication as well as semiotics, presuppositions, and preunderstandings.


1.Hermeneutics in sociology:

Hermeneutics is a branch of sociology concerned with human understanding and interpretation. Originally applied solely to texts, sociologists have applied hermeneutics to social events by examining participants’ understandings of the events from the standpoint of their specific historical and cultural context.

2. Biblical hermeneutics

Biblical hermeneutics is perhaps summarized best by 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Biblical hermeneutics is the science of properly interpreting the various types of literature found in the Bible. For example, a psalm should often be interpreted differently from a prophecy. A proverb should be understood and applied differently from a law. This is the purpose of biblical hermeneutics—to help us to know how to interpret, understand, and apply the Bible. Recommended book – Bible interpretation by Roy Zuck.

Hero’s journey
– it’s also called “Monomyth”
– the idea was introduced by Joseph Campbell
– it’s found in many stories all over the world
– The monomyth has seventeen steps(by Campbell):
the call to an adventure
refusal of the call
supernatural aid
crossing the threshold
belly of the whale
the meeting with the goddess
woman as temptrest
atonement with the father
the ultimate boon
refusal of the return
the magic flight
rescue from without
the crossing of the return threshold
master of two worlds
freedom to live
Historical novel

Historical Novel

Among the first Historical novels belong Waverley, Thaddeus of Warsaw and Castle of Rackrent but in literary circles, Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley is generally considered to be the first historical novel.


– a novel having as its setting a period of history and usually introducing some historical personages and events
– author attempts to convey the spirit, manners and social conditions of a past age
– it may deal with actual historical personages or it may contain a mixture of fictional and historical characters
– it may focus on a single historical event or can portray a broader view of a past society in which great events are reflected by their impact on the private lives of fictional individuals

History play

History play is a drama with a theme from history. It mostly wants to reach the public welfare by pointing to the past as a lesson for the present. It uses real historical personalities or events but not always in the exact historical circumstances.

The history play first took its modern form in Tudor England – represented by John Skelton and his “Magnyfycence”.
The best known examples of the genre are the history plays written by William Shakespeare (Henry VI, parts 2 and 3) and Christopher Marlowe (Edward II). History plays also appear elsewhere in British and Western literature, such as Thomas Heywood’s “Edward IV”, Schiller’s “Mary Stuart” or the Dutch genre Gijsbrecht van Aemstel.

Hyperbole is a figure of speech that is an intentional exaggeration for emphasis or comic effect. Hyperbole is common in love poetry, in which it is used to convey the lover’s intense admiration for his beloved.An example is the following passage describing Portia:
Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match
And on the wager lay two earthly women,
And Portia one, there must be something else
Pawned with the other, for the poor rude world
Hath not her fellow.
—(Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice)We can find another example of hyberbole in works of Joseph Conrad. This one from his novel “The Heart of Darkness”,
“I had to wait in the station for ten days-an eternity.”
(The wait of ten days seemed to last forever and never end.)

When hyperbole fails to create the desired dramatic effect, exaggeration may seem ridiculous.

Iambus or iamb (pl iambuses or iambs or iambi) is a metrical foot consisting of one short or unstressed syllable followed by one long or stressed syllable.Most of Shakespeare’s verse is written in iambic pentameter (rhythm with each line made of five iambic pairs)Example:
Shall I / compare / thee to / a sum/mer’s day?
Thou art / more love/ly and / more tem/perate (Sonnet 18)


The origins of this literal form are to be found in Greco-Roman antiquity. The term idyll comes from Greek word eidyllion which means “little picture”.


a short poem describing rural or pastoral life in which the description of natural objects was introduced.
a simple descriptive or narrative piece in verse or prose
material suitable for such a work
an episode or scene of idyllic charm
a brief or inconsequential romantic affair
in music: a composition, usually instrumental of a pastoral or sentimental character

The main author of idylls (poems) is considered to be Theocritus (born c. 300 BC – died after 260 BC) and his work Idylls.

The word was revived during Renaissance era and his general use began to spread in the 19th century. There were two popular works, Idylles heroïques (1858, Victor-Richard de Laprade) and Idylls of the King (1859, Alfred, Lord Tennyson). However, neither of them is related to the pastoral tradition. Thereafter the word was used aimlessly to describe works on a variety of subjects.


Imagery as a general term covers the use of language to represent objects, actions, feelings, thoughts, ideas, states of mind and any sensory or extra-sensory experience.

Usually it is thought that imagery makes use of particular words that create visual representation of ideas in our minds. The word imagery is associated with mental pictures. However, this idea is but partially correct. An ‘image’ does not necessarily mean a mental picture, but may appeal to senses other than sight.


The function of imagery in literature is to generate a vibrant and graphic presentation of a scene that appeals to as many of the reader’s senses as possible. It aids the reader’s imagination to envision the characters and scenes in the literary piece clearly. Apart from the above mentioned function, images, which are drawn by using figures of speech like metaphor, simile, personification, onomatopoeia etc. serve the function of beautifying a piece of literature.


Imagery of light and darkness is repeated many times in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

An example from Act I, Scene V:
“O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;”

Romeo praises Juliet by saying that she appears more radiant than the brightly lit torches in the hall. He says that at night her face glows like a bright jewel shining against the dark skin of an African. Through the contrasting images of light and dark, Romeo portrays Juliet’s beauty.

Intentional Fallacy
Intentional Fallacy is used in 20th century literary criticism. It describes the problem in judging a literary work by the assumptions made to help understand the intent or purpose of that specific artist who created it. It was introduced by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley who wrote the Intentional Fallacy, and propose the following:
An artist’s intention cannot be the criterion to judge the merit of the work.
One cannot understand the intention at the arts origin. One must only interpret what one sees.
We look at art to see how it relates to our lives. For example, if one read The Great Gatsby ten years ago, and again today, the interpretation will be entirely different even though the words have remained the same.
When reading written works, assume a dramatic speaker, not the person writing.
Intention is abstract. For example:Critics at all levels have speculated on Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and his intentions on the creation. An abundance of theories exist of what he was attempting to truly capture. Some say it was the smile, or the secret she was hiding. His intentions are unknown.Or…

Monet’s famous lilies in which were painted and repainted hundreds of times, therefore not meeting his original expectation/intention.

Interior monologue

Interior monologue, in dramatic and nondramatic fiction, narrative technique that exhibits the thoughts passing through the minds of the protagonists. These ideas may be either loosely related impressions approaching free association or more rationally structured sequences of thought and emotion.

It encompass several forms, including dramatized inner conflicts, self-analysis, imagined dialogue and rationalization. It may be a direct first-person expression apparently devoid of the author’s selection and control or a third-person treatment that begins with a phrase such as “he thought” or “his thoughts turned to.”

Molly Bloom’s monologue concluding James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922)

“…I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorisch Wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. ”

a textual reference to previous text, work or book. Usually used to form a new text from a differend perspective, retelling a old story or rewriting them in a modern setting.
the term is diffrend from alusion, which is only a short and not important part of the story.examples:
Novel Wide Sargasso Seaby Jean Rhys takes parts and events from a Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. He uses this to retell an alternative tail staring secondary characters form Bronte’s book.For Whom the Bell Tolls by Earnest Hemingway, where he uses a poem Meditation XVII written by John Donne as an idea that goes throught the entire novel as well as the title.

A traditional story told about a certain place, thing, or person. They may include supernatural beings or phenomena, mythology, or fictional information, but they always have realistic and graspable foundations.Example:
Examples of legends would be:
The legend of Praotec Čech
The legend of George and the dragon
The legend of Dívčí Válka

A from of nonsense verse with a strict rhyme scheme (aabba). Its name is said to derive from parties where each guest contributed a verse followed by the chorus ‘Will you come up to Limerick?’ The form was first used in the 1820s and made popular by EDWARD LEAR.

An example is:
‘There was a young lady of Clyde
‘Twas of eating green apples she died.
The apples fermented
Inside the lamented
And made cider insidde her inside.’

a body of written works. The name has traditionally been applied to those imaginative works of poetry and prose distinguished by the intentions of their authors and the perceived aesthetic excellence of their execution.
– Literature may be classified according to a variety of systems, including language, national origin, historical period, genre, and subject matter.Examples
– Japanese literature, French literature, modern literature, epic, comedy, tragedy, drama, many works of philosophy, ancient literature and so on
Literary criticism
The reasoned consideration of literary works and issues. It applies, as a term, to any argumentation about literature, whether or not specific works are analyzed.
– It is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of literature’s methods and goals.Example:
Aristotle’s Poetics clearly defines aspects of literature and introduces many literary terms still used today.
Ferdinand de Saussure: Course in General Linguistics
Literary theory

is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for analysing literature

the body of ideas and methods used in the practical reading of literature

theories that reveal what literature can mean
formulates the relationship between author and work
develops the significance of race, class, and gender for literary study

varying approaches for understanding the role of historical context and the relevance of linguistic and unconscious elements of the text

considerations of intellectual history, moral philosophy, social prophecy, and other interdisciplinary themes which are of relevance to the way humans interpret meaning

studies history and evolution of different genres – narrative, dramatic, lyric, etc.

investigating the importance of formal elements of literary structure

Lost generation
As the Lost Generation are called members of young generation which took part in WWI and came back damaged physicaly and psychicaly, especialy U.S. autors
The most known writters from this age are:Ernest Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms
William Faulkner – The Sound And The Fury, As I Lay Dying
Francis Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
Thomas Stearns Eliot – The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste LandThe common themes in Lost Generations´s books are Idealised past (The Great Gatsby), Decadence (The Sun Also Rises) and Gender roles and Impotence (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)

Literary criticism
The reasoned consideration of literary works and issues. It applies, as a term, to any argumentation about literature, whether or not specific works are analyzed.
– It is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of literature’s methods and goals.Example:
Aristotle’s Poetics clearly defines aspects of literature and introduces many literary terms still used today.
Ferdinand de Saussure: Course in General Linguistics
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet and is sometimes contrasted with narrative poetry and verse drama, which relate events in the form of a story. Elegies, odes, and sonnets are all important kinds of lyric poetry.
Identified with the lyrical forms of poetry in the late 18th and 19th centuries were the Romantic poets, including such diverse figures as Robert Burns, William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Goethe, and Heinrich Heine.Example:Percy Bysshe Shelley
O wild West Wind

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!

Marxist literary theory
Marxist literary theories tend to focus on the representation of class conflict as well as the strenghtening of class differences through the literature.
Marxist theorist often support authors sympathetic to the working classes and authors whose work does not agree with economic equalities found in capitalist societies. Most authors come of course from communist and socialist Russia, nevertheless Marxism also greatly influenced many Western writers such as Richard Wright, Claude McKay, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Bertold Brecht and others.
Is named by Karl Marx (1818-1883). He was primarily an ideologist who believed that the main reason behind conflicts in history was the attempts by the lower class to obtain power, and the effort by the upper class to retain what they already had. This theory says that literature is not art independent of its time and culture but rather a product of it.

a well-known phrase that expresses a general truth about life or a rule about behavior

„Live and let live” expressing a general truth or rule of conduct

– A melodrama is a dramatic or literary work in which the plot, which is typically sensational and designed to appeal strongly to the emotions, takes precedence over detailed characterization.
– Drama in which many exciting events happen and the characters have very strong or exaggerated emotions.
– A situation or series of events in which people have very strong or exaggerated emotions.Example:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Pygmalion
– It was one of the first ever melodramas (that is, a play consisting of pantomime gestures and the spoken word, both with a musical accompaniment).

Definition: Fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality – it breaks up the illusion of “reality” in a work.

Metafiction occurs in fictional stories when the story examines the elements of fiction itself. For example, a story that explores how stories are made by commenting on character types, how plots are formed, or other aspects of storytelling are engaged in an example of metafiction. It can be playful or dramatic, but it always forces the reader to think about the nature of storytelling itself and how fictional stories are made.

You might have read a fictional story in which the characters notice things about the very book they are in, e.g. they talk about the end of the story coming up as they get closer to it – that is the metafiction.

Some of the metafictive devices:
a novel about a person writing a novel;
a novel about a person reading a novel;
a story that addresses the specific conventions of story, such as title, paragraphing or plots;
a novel in which the author (not merely the narrator) is a character;
a story that anticipates the reader´s reaction to the story;
characters who do things because those actions are what they would expect from characters in a story;
characters who express awareness that they are in a work of fiction.

Hamlet (the character) shows his uncle a play which has a similar plot to Hamlet (the play) itself. He raises many questions about the relationship between an actor and a character and about life and theatre, that are applicable to the play.

Magical realism

also called magic realism. A predominatly Latin-American narrative style that combines and mixes seemingly realistic events with fantastic or mythical elements. The term was first introduced in 1940s by Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier. The elements and strategies of magical realism are recognizable in much Latin-American literatures of the second half of 20th century.

the most representative figure of magical realism is undoubtly Gabriel García Márquez (Colombian) with the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967). From the vast number of other Latin-American writes just to mention Isabel Allende (Chilean) and The House of the Spirits (1982).

the example of the literature written in English can be The Satanic Verses (1988) by Salman Rushdie, a British Indian novelist.


figure of speech that implies comparison between two unlike entities, as distinguished from simile, an explicit comparison signalled by the words “like” or “as.”

A metaphor is an expression related to a particular object or idea, but apllied to another word or sentence to mean that there is a similarity between them.

“The curtain of night”
“All the world´s a stage”

Figure of speech in which is one word or phrase replaced by another word with which is closely related to, as in the use of Washington for the United States government. We can come across examples of metonymy both from literature and in everyday life.
Can be confused with synecdoche.Metonymy gives more profound meanings to otherwise common ideas and objects. By using metonymy poetic texts exhibit deeper or hidden meanings and are more concise.Examples:

England decides to keep check on immigration. (England refers to the government.)
The pen is mightier than the sword. (Pen refers to written words and sword to military force.)
Let me give you a hand. (Hand means help.)

Middle English Period

The Middle English period refers to the literature from about 1100 until the 1500.

starts with French (Norman) invasion in Britain in 1066 (“William the Conqueror”)
ends with the introduction of printing press into England by William Caxton in 1476

This period is typical for variety of romances, lyrics and ballads.

Early examples of literature:

Ormulum – work of Biblical exegesis, written by monk Orm
Havelok the Dane – Middle English romance story
Layamon´s Brut – known as The Chornicle of Britain (also called Brut) – poem that narrates the history of Britain

Late examples of literature:

anonymous author called The Pearl Poet – The Pearl, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (romance in Arthurian tradition)
William Langland – Piers Plowman (long poem with religious content)
John Gower
Thomas Malory – Le Morte d´Arthur

Geoffrey Chaucer (“the father of English poetry”) – Canterbury Tales (1378) – a collection of 24 stories told by pilgrims on their way to Canterbury

Minor character
They are the exact opposite of major characters. Their purpose is to complement major characters and move the story forward. Their appearances will be brief and infrequent. Minor characters are very simple and have no depth so they will not have their own subplots.
They are mostly flat characters and one-dimensional or two-dimensional stereotypes.example:
Minor characters are all those bartenders, waiters, cab drivers, soldiers or the black guys who die first in all horrors,
Meter is a stressed and unstressed syllabic pattern in a verse or within the lines of a poem. Stressed syllables tend to be longer and unstressed shorter. We can say that meter is a poetic device that serves as a linguistic sound pattern for the verses, as it gives poetry a rhythmical and melodious sound.
Meter contains a sequence of several feet, where each foot has a number of syllables such as stressed/unstressed.Types of meter:
-iambic meter (unstressed/stressed)
-trochaic meter (stressed/unstressed)
-spondaic meter (stressed/stressed)
-anapestic meter (unstressed/unstressed/stressed)
-dactylic meter (stressed/unstressed/unstressed)

Monologue, in literature and drama, an extended speech by one person. The term has several closely related meanings. A dramatic monologue is any speech of some duration addressed by a character to a second person. A soliloquy is a type of monologue in which a character directly addresses an audience or speaks his thoughts aloud while alone or while the other actors keep silent. In fictional literature, an interior monologue a type of monologue that exhibits the thoughts, feelings, and associations passing through a character’s mind.


Hamlet’s monologue in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

To be, or not to be? That is the question—

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And, by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—

No more—and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.

To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life.

movement with origin in the late 19th century but typically associated with the period between WW1 and the beginning of WW2
reacts on industrialization, urbanization and WW1
society was disillusioned after horrors of WW1 which was reflected in Modernist literature
break with traditions
experimentation and individualism
rejects absolute truths
in contrast to the Romanticism (Modernism cares little for Nature and Being)
surveys the inner space of the human mind (influence of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis)
Authors and their works:
Henry James, Joseph Conrad
pre-war authors whose works are considered ModernistT.S. Eliot – The Waste Land (1922)
a modernist poem which requires reader’s active interpretationJames Joyce – Ulysses (1922)
technique ”stream of consciousness ” (ignores orderly sentence structure)

Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, William Faulkner

Mystery play and miracle play
mystery play
one of three principal kinds of vernacular drama in Europe during the Middle Ages (along with the miracle play and the morality play) which usually represents biblical subjects
doesn’t usually attempt to achieve unity of time, place and action
irrelevancies and apocryphal and satirical elements
mechanical devices, trapdoors, and other artifices to portray flying angels, fire-spouting monsters, miraculous transformations, and graphic martyrdomshistory:
developed from plays presented in Latin by churchmen on church premises and depicted such subjects as the Creation, Adam and Eve, the murder of Abel, and the Last Judgment
during the 13th century the strictly religious nature of the plays declined, satirical elements were introduced
at the end of the 16th century, the church no longer supported mystery plays, the play lost its popularity
The Chester plays, the Wakefield playsmiracle play
one of three principal kinds of vernacular drama of the European Middle Ages (along with the mystery play and the morality play), which presents a real or fictitious account of the life, miracles, or martyrdom of a saint
miracle plays concern either the Virgin Mary or St. Nicholas
evolved from liturgical offices developed during the 10th and 11th centuries to enhance calendar festivals
by the 13th century vernacularized and filled with unecclesiastical elements, divorced from church services and performed at public festivals

Few English miracle plays are extant, because they were banned by Henry VIII in the mid-16th century and most were subsequently destroyed or lost.
St. John the Hairy (a Mary play)
Le Jeu de Saint Nicolas (a Nicholas play)

The simplest way to explain what a narratee is: “someone to whom a story is narrated” (LoveToKnow, 1996-2015)
Every story is told by a narrator, which is usually the writer or one of the characters. In most cases the narratee is the reader, who is either addressed directly or indirectly. Sometimes the narratee is more described and can be one of the characters of the story. The narratee can become clear to the reader in different parts of the
“Reader, I married him!” – Jane Eyre
Think of how uncomfortable that must have been. ….
Mother, my lovely mother, I must tell you all about my day. …
Narration is the act of telling a story, usually in some kind of chronological order. Making up a scary ghost story and relating it around a camp fire is an act of narration.
Narration generally means any kind of explaining or telling of something. It is usually used in reference to storytelling. If you’ve ever watched a television show where one character’s voice talks directly to the audience, then you’ve heard narration. You will often find narration happening in songs where the singer is telling the story of how something happened — like the day he lost his guitar, his truck, his wife, and started singing the blues.
“A Fable,” by Mark Twain
“Quality,” by John Galsworthy
“Outcasts in Salt Lake City,” by James Weldon Johnson
“Bathing in a Borrowed Suit,” by Homer Croy
“Street Haunting: A London Adventure,” by Virginia Woolf
Narrative is a report of related events presented to the listeners or readers in words arranged in a logical sequence. A narrative is told by a narrator who may be a direct part of that experience and he or she often shares the experience as a first-person narrator. Sometimes he or she may only observe the events as a third-person narrator and gives his or her verdict.
In literary theoretic approach, narrative is being narrowly defined as fiction-writing mode in which the narrator is communicating directly to the reader.Books:
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
1984 – George Orwell
Animal Farm – George Orwell
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Don Quixote – Miguel de CervantesExample:
Moby Dick by Herman Melville:
“Landlord!” said I, “what sort of chap is he — does he always keep such late hours?” It was now hard upon twelve o’clock.The landlord chuckled again with his lean chuckle, and seemed to be mightily tickled at something beyond my comprehension. “No,” he answered, “generally he’s an early bird — airley to bed and airley to rise — yea, he’s the bird what catches the worm. — But to-night he went out a peddling, you see, and I don’t see what on airth keeps him so late, unless, may be, he can’t sell his head.””Can’t sell his head? — What sort of a bamboozingly story is this you are telling me?” getting into a towering rage. “Do you pretend to say, landlord, that this harpooneer is actually engaged this blessed Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, in peddling his head around this town?”


The narrator is the one who interpret story to the audience = storyteller. There can be more than just one person telling the story as seen in Clarissa, written by Samuel Richardson – various characters writes letters and provides a narration in this way, where each of them see situation from another point of view. Another way how to make narration more interesting is giving details about places, time and people which is claimed to be more realistic and substantial.

We can distinguish between some types of narrator´s point of view:

First-person narrative – can be protagonist, participant, character of the story or just observer who comments on situation.

Second-person narrative – narrator uses “you” to describe himself or herself.

Third-person narrative – narrator is not identified as a character. “He” or “she” is used when referring to other characters.
Omniscient – narrator knows everything what is
happening or is related to the story
Intrusive – makes comments on situations,
describing what is happening from his
point of view, including his opinion or
feelings about it.

Unintrusive – doesn´t make comments or
his judgements.

The narrator can use different narrative times. The most common is past tense as the experiences are viewed retrospectively. Using present tense can make reader to feel that the whole action is happening right now and he or she is taking part. Last possibility is a use of future tense which is extremely rare.


Naturalism is a literary genre that started as a literary movement in late 19th century in literature, film, theater and art. It is a type of extreme realism. In literature it extended it’s (realism) tradition of aiming at an even more faithful, unselective representation of reality, a veritable “slice of life,” presented without moral judgment. Naturalism differed from realism in its assumption of scientific determinism (the opposite of free wil), which led naturalistic authors to emphasize man’s accidental, physiological nature rather than his moral or rational qualities. Individual characters were seen as helpless products of heredity and environment. They had little will or responsibility for their fates.

Generally, naturalistic works expose dark sides of life such as prejudice, racism, poverty, prostitution, filth and disease, etc. Since these works are often pessimistic and blunt, they receive heavy criticism. Despite the echoing pessimism in this literary output, naturalists are generally concerned with improving human condition around the world. Another characteristic of literary naturalism is detachment from the story. The author often tries to maintain a tone that will be experienced as “objective”. Often, a naturalist author will lead the reader to believe a character’s fate has been predetermined, usually by environmental factors, and that he/she can do nothing about it. Another common characteristic is a surprising twist at the end of the story.
Naturalism examples from literature: Jack London (To Build A Fire), Kate Chopin (The Awakening), …

New critisism
The term New Criticism defines the critical theory that has dominated Anglo- American literary criticism for the past fifty years. It emphasized close reading, particularly of poetry, to discover how a work of literature functioned as a self-contained, self referential aesthetic object.
It is also one of several ways of looking at and analyzing literature and new criticism as all about the text.
The New Critics introduced refinements into the method:
English critics I.A. Richards (Practical Criticism, 1929)
William Empson (//Seven Types of Ambiguity//, 1930)
English poet T.S. Eliot also made contributions, with his critical essays “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1917) and “Hamlet and His Problems” (1919).
John Crowe Ransom’s //The New Criticism// (1941)
Other figures associated with New Criticism include Cleanth Brooks, R.P. Blackmur, Robert Penn Warren, and W.K. Wimsatt
New Criticism was eclipsed as the dominant mode of Anglo-American literary criticism by the 1970s
New Historicism

New Historicism is a school of literary theory, which first developed in 1980s and gained widespread influence in 1990s. New Historicist aim simultaneously to understand the work through its cultural context and to understand intellectual history through literature.


Stephen Greenblatt – An American scholar who was credited with establishing New Historicism, an approach to literary criticism. He was noted for his analysis of W. Shakespeare and considered to be among the preeminent scholars of Renaissance literature in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Practising New Historicism (2000)
H. Aram Veeser’s The New Historicism (1989)


Novel deals with human experience in an imaginative way. There usually is a sequence of events in novels that involve an interaction of a (fictional) human or other being. Novel appears in narrative prose.

Important types and styles of novels

Picaresque novel -Adventurer belonging to the lowest social class prefers to lie, cheat, steal and disobey any rules
Epistolary novel – In this kind of novel, there is an inner view to a character’s mind via letters the character writes.
Satirical novel – A reader is exposed to writer’s (usually confronting) view of something; a writer tries to change a reader’s mind.
Utopian novel – A writer introduces his own imaginary world, a perfect world. There is usually a better way of life.

Examples of novels
Harry Potter — J. K. Rowling
Moby Dick — Herman Melville
Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen
The Great Gatsby — F. Scott Fitzgerald

Novella is a short narrative. It is longer than a story but shorter than a novel, often realistic and satiric in tone.
It usually has fewer conflicts than a novel. The conflicts are, however, more complicated than in a short story.
It influenced the development of the short story and the novel throughout Europe.Examples:
– The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
– Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
– A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
– Animal Farm by George Orwell
– Other writers: Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann…
– a ceremonious poem on an occasion of public or private dignity in which personal emotion and general meditation are united
– a type of a lyrical stanza, structured in 3 parts: the strophe, the antistrophe and the epodeExample:
I decided to mention “Ode on a Grecian Urn” written by John Keats where he admires the beauty and a work by Grecian artisan.
In the beginning, Keats addresses the urn by saying: “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness! Thou foster-child of silence and slow time”, he describes the urn as “sylvan historian” that can tell a story through its beauty. In the last stanza, Keats addresses the urn again by saying ” Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought”.
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” -> He tells that it is the only thing the urn knows and it has to know.
Old English or Anglo-saxon period

Period of time in the early Middle Ages (roughly 500 to 1100AD) in England and southern and eastern Scotland where the first English language was introduced.

Historical backgroud:
The Anglo-Saxons (group of settlers from the German regions of Angeln and Saxony who took power over England after the fall of the Roman Empire) formed the English culture, religion, and language for more than 600 years. The Old English is the foundation of Modern English, even though nowadays we would not be able to understand the language they used.

Old English literature
It started with the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century and the most famous work is Beowulf. It is important to know that OE literature provides the foundation for all English Literature.
Old English poetry emphasizes the negative aspects of life including the sorrows and senseless actions of human beings. “The Wanderer” and “The Seafarer” are two of the most popular poems about the difficultues of life.

Major works: Beowulf, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, epic and heroic poems, religion writings

Term to remember: Kenning (a compound word, ususally consists of two words, for expression which were not named) eg.: bone-horse (body), sea-wood (ship)

Omniscient point of view
In Omniscient Points of View a narrator knows all the thoughts and feelings of all the characters in the story. When writing in third person omniscient, the author will move from character to character, allowing the events to be interpreted by several different voices, but always maintaining an omniscient – or godlike – distance.
In Limited Omniscient Points of View the narrator has limited knowledge of just one character, leaving other major or minor characters.The purpose of using omniscient technique is to allow the audience to know everything about the characters. This is how they can get an insight into characters’ minds and create a bond with them. Readers also see and observe the responses of multiple characters that help them understand the plot of the narrative. In addition, readers can have an objective interpretation of the characters and events, in contrast to more personal or subjective interpretations. Finally, an omniscient narrator allows for a better storytelling, as it involves multiple characters, and several plot lines with different interpretations of the same event. Thus, a story could be more interesting, when plot moves from character to character.Two big disadvantages, however are that the reader has a broad view, not an intimate one. He or she can’t identify particularly with any specific character. There’s a big danger of losing the reader’s interest as they just won’t care what happens because they’re not feeling empathy with any specific character.
The second one is that it can be very jarring and disconcerting, particularly if story starts off in one person’s thoughts, and suddenly announce what another character is thinking. This can easily knocks the reader out of their reading trance.

Dan Brown in his novel, Da Vinci Code, for example uses omniscient narrative and employs several characters to speak in front of the audience, demonstrating what each character thinks and sees. Also the narrator provides information about the background and related knowledge that characters are unaware of.


The naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (such as buzz or hiss). Onomatopoeia may also refer to the use of words whose sound suggests the sense. This occurs frequently in poetry, where a line of verse can express a characteristic of the thing being portrayed.

“The Brook” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

A rhetorical device which deliberately joins apparently contradictory words.
Oxymoron is particularly notable feature of PETRARCHAN verseExamples:”sweet enemy”
“I burn and freeze like ice”
“known secret”
“terribly good”
“deafening silence”
“perfectly imperfect”


1 – a short, allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle or moral lesson.

2 – a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparasion, analoky, or the like

Fable, Parable and allegory
– both Fable and parable are short, simple forms of naive allegory.
– fables tend to personify animal characters – giving them human character, whereas parable works with human agents.
– parable generally shows less interest in the storytelling and more in the analogy
– both parable and fable are means of handing down traditional folk wisdom.

(stories in bible – about The Wasteful son and others)

– a work of art, piece of writing, etc. that is created by deliberately copying the style of somebody or something else but
unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.
– a work of art, etc. that consists of a variety of different styleexample:
a pastiche of a classical detective story
We can find many examples of pastiche in literature, for example many stories about Sherlock Holmes, originally written
by Artur Conan Doyle, have been written as pastiches since the author`s time.In movies, famous director Quentin Tarantino often uses plots and themes from less known films to create his own films.

It comes from Latin pastor – “shepherd”.
An artistic composition dealing with the life of shepherds or with a simple, rural existence. It usually idealized shepherds’ lives in order to create an image of peaceful and uncorrupted existence. More generally, pastoral describes the simplicity, charm, and peace of country life, or any literary convention that places kindly, rural people in nature-centered activities.
The pastoral convention sometimes uses the device of “singing matches” between two or more shepherds, and it often presents the poet and his friends in the disguises of shepherds and shepherdesses. Themes are mainly love and death.example:
The Greek Theocritus (316-260 BC) first used the convention in his Idylls.
In English poetry there was Edmund Spenser and his Shepheardes Calender (1579), which imitated not only classical models but also the Renaissance poets of France and Italy. William Shakespeare’s As You Like It (1599) is a pastoral comedy.
Other English writers of pastoral poetry were Sir Philip Sidney, Robert Greene and Thomas Nash.

a philosophical movement originating in the 20th century, the primary objective of which is the direct investigation and description of phenomena as consciously experienced, without theories about their causal explanation and as free as possible from unexamined preconceptions and presuppositions.

An example of phenomenology is studying the green flash that sometimes happens just after sunset or just before sunrise.

Philology means the study of language. Not learning specific languages per se, but grammar and history, and how sounds and meanings change over time.
If you study philology, you don’t need anyone to tell you that the word philology comes from the Greek philologia “love of learning.” It’s one of the words ending in -logy, which means “study.” Thinkbiology (life), archaeology (ancient things), psychology (the mind), sociology (society).Types :
dialectology – the branch of philology that is devoted to the study of dialects
lexicology – the branch of linguistics that studies the lexical component of language
onomastics – the branch of lexicology that studies the forms and origins of proper names
toponomy, toponymy – the branch of lexicology that studies the place names of a region or a language
Picaresque novel

A genre of prose fiction which originated in 16th century Spain and remained popular until the first half of the 18th century. It is usually a first person narrative, which relates the adventures of a lower class roguish hero (Spanish pícaro). In its episodic structure it resembles the older genre of romance, in fact, it laughs at it. In its heyday, the genre became a satire of immoral and corrupted society (see Quevedo’s Buscón). After Buscón, it gradually declined into the adventurous novel. Although it was a predominantly Spanish genre, it made its way into other European literatures of its time.

A pícaro can be described as a cynical, self-centered rascal or scoundrel with a dubious character, an amoral outsider wandering from one place to another, executing various occupations (e.g. personal servant, soldier), taking advantage of the others, constantly escaping punishment (beating, imprisonment) for his immoral deeds (lying, cheating, petty crime etc.) and attempting to survive in any circumstance.

anonymous: Lazarillo de Tormes (1554)
Mateo Alemán: Guzmán de Alfarache (1599)
Francisco Quevedo: La vida de buscón (1626; “The Life of the Scoundrel”), considered a masterpiece of the genre, strong accent on moral issues, deep psychological portrayal of a petty thief.

The picaresque elements are also incorporated into Miguel de Cervantes’s novel Don Quixote (1605, 1615), for instance the character of Sancho Panza.


a narrative (and, traditionally, literary) term defined as the events that make up a story, particularly: as they relate to one another in a pattern or in a sequence; as they relate to each other through cause and effect; how the reader views the story; or simply by coincidence. Gustav Freytag considered plot to be a narrative structure that divides a story into five parts. These parts are: exposition (of the situation); rising action (through conflict); climax (or the turning point); falling action; and denouement.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
Exposition: Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time.
Rising action: Romeo declares his love for Julie.
Climax: Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished from Verona.
Falling action: Juliet wants to solve the situation and takes a sleeping potion.
Denouement: Romeo kills himself and later Juliet kills herself too.


Poetry, literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or a specific emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm.

William Blake – A Poison Tree
I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

Post-colonial literature
writing by those peoples formerly colonized by European powers
we use term ‘post – colonial’ to cover all the culture affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonization to the present dayexample:
Afrika: Ahinua Achebe, Catherine Obianuju Acholonu
South Asia: Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand
Australia: Louis Becke, Peter Carey
Canada: André Alexis, Austin Clarke

Movement in literary criticism and philosophy begun in France in the late 1960s. Drawing upon the linguistic theories of Ferdinand de Saussure, the anthropology of Claude Lévi-Strauss and the deconstructionist theories of Jacques Derrida, it held that language is not a transparent medium that connects one directly with a “truth” or “reality” outside it but rather a structure or code, whose parts derive their meaning from their contrast with one another and not from any connection with an outside world.

Post-Structuralism is a reaction to structuralism and works against seeing language as a stable, closed system. It is a shift from seeing the poem or novel as a closed entity, equipped with definite meanings which it is the critic’s task to decipher, to seeing literature as irreducibly plural, an endless play of signifiers which can never be finally nailed down to a single center, essence, or meaning .

The prefix “post” refers to the fact that many contributors such as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva were former structuralists who, after abandoning structuralism, became quite critical of it. In direct contrast to structuralism’s claims of culturally independent meaning, post-structuralists typically view culture as inseparable from meaning.
The general assumptions of post-structuralism derive from critique of structuralist premises. Specifically, post-structuralism holds that the study of underlying structures is itself culturally conditioned and therefore subject to myriad biases and misinterpretations. To understand an object (e.g. one of the many meanings of a text), it is necessary to study both the object itself, and the systems of knowledge which were coordinated to produce the object. In this way, post-structuralism positions itself as a study of how knowledge is produced.

Michel Foucault’s works, such as Madness and Civilization, which examines the history and cultural attitudes about madness, is a good example of poststructuralist analysis.


Postmodern literature is a type of literature that came after World War II. It is based on such literary conventions as fragmentation, paradox, unreliable narrators, often unrealistic and downright impossible plots, games, parody, paranoia, dark humor and authorial self-reference. The writers in their novels drew attention to themselves as artefacts and often used realistic techniques ironically.Postmodern authors were certainly not the first to use irony and humor in their writing, but for many postmodern authors, these became the hallmarks of their style. Postmodern authors will often treat very serious subjects—World War II, the Cold War, conspiracy theories—from a position of distance and disconnect, and will choose to depict their histories ironically and humorously.

The novel Catch-22 written by Joseph Heller is perhaps one of the most famous examples of postmodernism, because of its lack of conformity to a traditional genre of literature, it is fragmented structure, and the nontraditional characteristics of its characters.

The Anti-Novel
The structure of Catch-22 is not that of a normal novel that has an introduction, body and conclusion rather each chapter is fragmented and does not necessarily follow a pattern.

The Anti-Hero
The main protagonist of the novel Yossarian does not contain the normal characteristics of a hero seen in most novels such as courage and integrity in that he is a coward and has little moral values.


Protagonist is a main character, or one of the main characters, in a play, film or book.

Word was originally used in Greek drama. English word origin: late 17th cent.: from Greek prōtagōnistēs, from prōtos ‘first in importance’ + agōnistēs ‘actor’. Later it was used as a main people in an event. or as an active supporter in a policy or movement.

Synonyms: principal, hero/heroine, title role, main character, star; supporter, champion, exponent, prime mover


Brief saying in general use, which expresses commonly held ideas and beliefs.Proverbs are part of every spoken language and relate to other forms of folk literature such as riddles and fables. Many languages use hyperbole, rhyme, alliteration and wordplay in their proverbs.Folk proverbs are ussualy illustrated with household objects, farm animals and pets, and the daily life events. They come from many sources, most of them are anonymous and difficult to trace. Their first mention in literature is often an adaptation of an oral saying. Most educated societies have valued their proverbs and collected them for future generations.

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”
“Many small things make one big thing”
“Money is the root of all evil”
“Early to bed, early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”

Psychoanalytic critisism

Psychoanalytic criticism adopts the methods of “reading” employed by Freud and later theorists to interpret texts. It argues that literary texts, like dreams, express the secret unconscious desires and anxieties of the author, that a literary work is a manifestation of the author’s own neuroses. One may psychoanalyze a particular character within a literary work, but it is usually assumed that all such characters are projections of the author’s psyche. (Delahoyde)

“Like all children, Alice must separate herself from identification with others, develop an ego, become aware of aggression (her own and others’), and learn to tolerate adversity without succumbing to self-pity…In other words, Alice has to grow up.” – psychoanalysis of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Stowell)

– play on words
– a humorous use of a word or phrase that has two or more meanings
– a type of joke in which words are used that have a similar sound but a different meaningHumorous effects created by puns depend upon the ambiguities words entail. The ambiguities arise mostly in homophones and homonyms. For instance, in a sentence “A happy life depends on a liver”, liver can refer to the organ liver or simply the person who lives. Similarly, in a famous saying “Atheism is a non-prophet institution” the word “prophet” is used instead of “profit” to produce a humorous effect.Examples:
Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
I’d tell you a chemistry joke but I know I wouldn’t get a reaction.
I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down.

Puritan age

Puritans was the name given in the 16th century to the more extreme Protestants within the Church of England who thought the English Reformation had not reformed enough. They wanted to purify their national church by eliminating every shred of Catholic influence.

A Puritan writer’s main focus was to glorify God and show reverence for the Bible.
The main themes: original sin, predestination
Writing styles: Purposeful, Plain spoken, powerful, direct
Format: Sermons, Histories, Diaries, Poetry, bibliografies

Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter (1850), work of fiction in a historical setting. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

– a stanza or poem of four lines, usualy with alternate rhymes
– origin od quatrain comes from French quatre =fourForms of Quatrain:
-ABAC or ABCB (known as unbounded or ballad quatrain),
as in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”Example:
It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
´By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp´st thou me?

Queer theory

According to Dr. Mary Klages, the word “queer” in queer theory has some of these connotations, particularly its alignment with ideas about homosexuality. Queer theory is a brand-new branch of study or theoretical speculation; it has only been named as an area since about 1991. It grew out of gay/lesbian studies, a discipline which itself is very new, existing in any kind of organized form only since about the mid-1980s. Gay/lesbian studies, in turn, grew out of feminist studies and feminist theory. (1)

Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are. It suggests that it is meaningless to talk in general about ‘women’ or any other group, as identities consist of so many elements that to assume that people can be seen collectively on the basis of one shared characteristic is wrong. Indeed, it proposes that we deliberately challenge all notions of fixed identity, in varied and non-predictable ways. Queer theory is based, in part,on the work of Judith Butler (in particular her book Gender Trouble, 1990).(2)

To say that someone is “queer” indicates an indeterminacy or indecipherability about their sexuality and gender, a sense that they cannot be categorized without a careful contextual examination and, perhaps, a whole new rubric. For gender to be, in Judith Butler’s words, “intelligible,” ancillary traits and behaviors must divide and align themselves beneath a master division between male and female anatomy. (3)

The criticism of queer theory can be divided in three main ideas (4):
It has a failing itineration, the “subjectless critique” of queer studies
The unsustainable analysis of this failing self
The methodological implication that scholars of sexuality end up reiterating and consolidating social categories

Reader-oriented approach
Reader oriented approach puts the importance of the reader’s role in interpreting texts. The main idea is rejecting that there is a single, fixed meaning inherent in every literary work. The theory is based on individualism and the fact that individual creates their own meaning through a “transaction” with the text based on personal associations. All readers bring their individual emotions, life experiences, and knowledge to their reading, and each interpretation is subjective.
One of the most influential people was Louise Rosenblatt’s with her work Literature As Exploration (1938). Her ideas were a direct reaction to the formalist theories of the New Critics, who promoted “close readings” of literature.

Realism can be defined as a way of ​thinking and ​acting ​based on ​facts and what is ​possible, ​rather than on ​hopes for things that are ​unlikely to ​happen. This style appear not only in literature. It also had an impact on art, theatre, phylosophy, architecture etc. The realists agreed in their rejection of the artificiality of both Clasicism and Romantism, which had influenced literature and art in general before. They wanded to portray real lives with all the problems and customs. They mostly focused on middle and lower clases. The main character was usually someone ordinary and poor, who had troubles like many other people. For example hunger, illneses, drug or alcohol adiction, unhappy mariage, prostitution…

Realism was consiously adopted as an aesthetic program in the mid 19th century. It´s development started in France. One of the most important realists was novelist and playwright Honore de Balzac, who came from this country. Well known is his book La comedie humaine, where he presents a panorama of French life after the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte (the begining of 19th century). Balzac ispirated many other writers from differente countries. For example: Marcel Proust (France), Emil Zola (France), Fjodor Dostojevskij (Russia), Oscar Wilde (Ireland), Edgar Allan Poe (USA), Charles Dickens (England), Gustav Flaubert (France),…

We also have some czech realists, fo example Božena Němcová, Jan Neruda, Karolína Světla, Karel Havlíček Borovský etc

Renaissance was a rebirth of classical learning and a rediscovery of ancient Rome and Greece. It began in Italy as a cultural movement, names such as Petrarch, Boccaccio or those of polymaths Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo are well-known. The intellectual basis of the Renaissance is humanism, which was man-centered, rather than God-centered.
Renaissance authors also began increasingly to use vernacular languages and the invention of the printing press allowed people access to books, especially to the Bible.Renaissance in English literature (1500 – 1660)
The English Renaissance produced some of the greatest works of literature the world has known. The Renaissance ideas started to penetrate English society after 1485, when the War of the Roses ended. The most significant is the Elizabethan era, the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. (1558 – 1603), the daughter of Henry VIII. This period saw the flowering of poetry (the sonnet, the Spenserian stanza, dramatic blank verse) and was a golden age of drama (especially for the plays of Shakespeare).Examples of English Renaissance:
● Thomas More – Renaissance humanist, Utopia
● Thomas Wyatt – introduced the sonnet from Italy into England
● Henry Howard – together with Wyatt are known as “Fathers of the English sonnet”
● Philip Sydney – Astrophel and Stella, The Defence of Poesie
● Edmund Spenser – The Faerie Queene


Rhetoric is a technique of using language effectively and persuasively in spoken or written form. It is an art of discourse, which studies and employs various methods to convince, influence or please an audience.

A person gets on your nerves, you start feeling irritated, and you say, “Why don’t you leave me alone?”
By posing such a question, you do not ask for a reason. Instead, you simply want him to stop irritating you. Thus, you direct language in a particular way for effective communication or make use of rhetoric.
A situation where you make use of rhetoric is called a “rhetorical situation”.

Some more examples on how rhetoric is employed by using various literary devices:
How did this idiot get elected? – A rhetorical question to convince others that the “idiot” does not deserve to be elected.
Here comes the Helen of our school. – An allusion to “Helen of Troy” to emphasize the beauty of a girl.
I would die if you asked me to sing in front of my parents – A hyperbole to persuade others not to use force to make you do something which you don’t want to do.
All blonde-haired people are dumb. – Using a stereotype to develop a general opinion about a group

Rhetorical figures or devices are employed to achieve particular emphasis and effect.
Rhetorical devices, however, are different from “figures of speech”.
Wherever and whenever a figure of speech is used in written texts and speech, it alters meanings of words.

Rhetorical figures or figures of speech

An expression that uses language in a nonliteral way, such as a metaphor or synecdoche, or in a structured or unusual way, such as anaphora or chiasmus, or that employs sounds, such as alliteration or assonance, to achieve a rhetorical effect.

Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014
Rocket: I have a plan! I have a plan!
Drax: Cease your yammering, and relieve us from this irksome confinement.
Peter Quill: Yeah, I’ll have to agree with the walking thesaurus on that one.
Drax: Do not ever call me a thesaurus.
Peter Quill: It’s just a metaphor, Dude.
Rocket: His people are completely literal. Metaphors are gonna go over his head.
Drax: Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.
Gamora: I’m gonna die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.

Rhyme or Rime

Rhyme – according to Encyclopedia Britannica, “Rhyme, also spelled rime, [means] the correspondence of two or more words with similar-sounding final syllables placed so as to echo one another. Rhyme is used by poets and occasionally by prose writers to produce sounds appealing to the reader’s senses and to unify and establish a poem’s stanzaic form.” There are several types of rhymes, such as end rhyme, internal rhyme or interior rhyme.

Other sources, such as TESOLexplore blog or Paragon Science Academy blog, however, highlight differences between a rhyme and a rime:

Rimes – “word parts that refer to a spelling pattern, they rhyme.”

Examples of rimes (the bold letters):
cat bat sat mat
stale male kale

Rhymes – they “[also] sound the same but [are] spelled differently, [they use] different rimes”

Example of a rhyme:
hey may lei

Another examples:

words bear and pear – they rhyme (sound the same) as well as rime (have the same ending pattern -ear)

BUT pear and care – they rhyme but they do not rime (they have a different ending pattern -ear vs. -are)

Roman Nouveau
-> a style of French novel which should be the very opposite of classic novel. Roman Nouveau refuses the plot, characters, dialogue, human interest and omniscient narrator because it tries to be as objective as could be. The story is neither chronological nor logical. Mostly it is hard to understand the text. The main character has no opinion and belief, he gains it in the course of time.
‘Roman Nouveaul’ (in French) literally means ‘new novel’. This style was important and famous in the 1950s.Example:The most famous authors (+ their famous works) in the style of the Nouveau Roman were:
Alain Robbe-Grillet
Last Year at Marienbad, 1961 – ambiguity of interpretation caused by calling facts to question

Michel Butor
La Modification, 1957 – emphasis was put on time perception and inner monologues

From the old French word – romanz (means “the speech of the people”)
Romance is a literally genre of high culture. This genre focus on the romantic love and relationships between two people. Usually it has an optimistic ending.
This literaly form came into being in France in the mid-12th century. The ‚romance style’ was first used by the authors of free romans d’antiquité all composed in the period 1150 – 1165. It was Roman the Thébes – poem appeal to be based on an abridgment of the Thebaid of Statius. Roman d’Enéas – romance of Medieval French literature and finally Roman de Troie – poem by Benoît de Sainte-Maure, it is a medieval retelling of the epic theme of the Trojan War. There are also many subgenres of the romance novel including fantasy, historical, science fiction and paranormal.
One of the most notorious pieces
Thomas of Britain was poet of the 12th century. He is known for his Old French poem Tristan, a version of the Tristan and Iseult. Tristan and Iseult is the greatest tragic love story found as a romance theme.
The well known novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson. Published in 1740, is an early precursor of the modern popular love-romance. Pamela was the first popular novel to be based on a courtship as told from the perspective of the heroine.Romance writers:
Mary Stewart
Jane Austen
Walter Scott
Georgette Heyer
Heather Graham Pozzessere

Romanticism is a movement in literary history that emerges in the first half of the nineteenth century. The period of romanticism appears in English and American literature in the same time. Nature poetry and emotional experiences are the main signs of romanticism. The origin of this movement is seen as a reaction to the Enlightenment and political changes at the end of eighteenth century.

The Romanticists (they didn’t call themselves like that during the Romanticism) emphasize mainly feelings and imagination. Poetry must be spontaneous, sincere and intense. Heroes of romantic pieces of work are usually people who doesn’t fit in the society very well and they deal with their own feelings and impressions. One of the most popular genres of romanticism is a novel.

Lake Poets = a group of English poets who lived in the Lake District of England and played a role in English poetry during romanticism; the main representatives are William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey.

Transcendentalism = a period in the first half of the nineteenth century in the USA, it appears as a protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality. In the USA, romanticism and transcendetalism are connected.

Examples of English romanticism:
William Blake – Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience
William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Lyrical Ballads
Sir Walter Scott – Ivanhoe, Waverley
Percy Bysshe Shelley – Prometheus Unbound
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
George Gordon Byron – Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

Round character
Round characters in a story, play or novel are simply characters who are most like real people because they have depth.
Round characters are like onions – they have layers – there’s more to them than what you see on the surfaceExample:An example of the round character is Rodion Raskolnikov, the main protagonist of psychological novel of russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
We find out more about his dual personality. On the one hand Dostoyevsky developed his bad habits and cold character from his dark side,
on the other hand he can be a warm and friendly person.
So this character is developed and well described. He may seem like a real person you might have met in your own life.

Russian formalism
Russian formalism is a type of literary theory and analysis which originated in Moscow and St. Petersburg between 1910s and 1930s. The focus of this movement was on the formal patterns and technical devices of literature to the exclusion of its subject matter and social values.
When this critical mode was suppressed by the Soviets in the early 1930s, the centre of the formalist movement moved to Czechoslovakia, where it continued espcially by the members of the Praque Linguistic Circle, which included R. Jakobson (who emigrated from Russia), Jan Mukarovsky and René Wellek.Representatives and examples:
Among leading representatives belong
Boris Eichenbaum: Pushkin as Poet and the 1825 Revolt (An Attempt at Psychological Investigation),1907
Melody of Russian Lyric Poetry, 1922Victor Shklovsky: A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs, 1917-1922
Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar, 1970

Main features of the theory:
Formalism views literature primarily as a specialized mode of language, and proposes a fundamental opposition between the literary (or poetical) use of language and the ordinary, “practical” use of language.
It conceives that the central function of ordinary language is to communicate to auditors a message,or information, by reference to the world existing outside language.
In contrast, it conceives literary language to be self-focused, in that, its function is not to convey information by external reference, but to offer the reader a special mode of experience by drawing attention to its own “formal” features -that is, to the qualities and internal relations of the linguistic signs themselves.


Sarcasm can be explained as a disdainful, insulting and rude way of expressing an idea. It can be also defined as a language consisting of bitter, paradoxical remarks. If someone uses sarcasm, they say something but mean the opposite of what they have said. The reason for using sarcasm is either to criticize something in a funny way sad or to insult someone.

Example in literature:
‘I didn’t make that noise,’ said Harry firmly.
Aunt Petunia’s thin, horsy face now appeared beside Uncle Vernon’s wide, purple one. She looked livid.
‘Why were you lurking under our window?’
‘Yes … yes, good point, Petunia! What were you doing under our window, boy?’
‘Listening to the news,’ said Harry in a resigned voice.
His aunt and uncle exchange looks of outrage.
‘Listening to the news! Again?’
‘Well, it changes every day, you see,’ said Harry.


the use of irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people´s stupidity. Usually in the context of current politics and other topical issues.

A 20th -century example of satire was stage show Beyond the Fringe by Dudley Moore. It played in London´s West End and then in America. The show was considered to be ahead of its time, in its unapologetic willingness to make fun od authority.

Satirical novel
satirical novel is defined as an invented prose narrative of considerable length and a certain complexity that ridicules a specific topic in order to provoke readers into changing their opinion of it. It uses a technique employed by writers to expose and criticize foolishness and corruption of an individual or a society by using humor, irony, exaggeration or ridicule
The novel is propelled through its hundred or thousand pages by a device known as the story or plot.Examples:
Perhaps the most famous work of British satire is Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels(1726), where the inhabitants of the different lands Gulliver visits embody what Swift saw as the prominent vices and corruptions of his time.
Also Animal Farm by George Orwell can be regarded as a satirical novel:
George Orwell cleverly uses satire through which Orwell indirectly launches an attack on Russian Communism, on Stalinism. Through a humorous and effective animal allegory, Orwell directs his satiric attack on the events of the Russian Revolution and on the totalitarian regime.
a general theory of signs and symbolism, usually divided into the branches of pragmatics, semantics, and syntactics
the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior; the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing
semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics, which, for its part, studies the structure and meaning of language more specifically
as different from linguistics, however, semiotics also studies non-linguistic sign systems
semiotics is often divided into three branches: semantics, syntactics and pragmaticsOrigins:late 19th cent.: from Greek sēmeiotikos ‘of signs’, from sēmeioun ‘interpret as a sign’
it was first used in English by Henry Stubbes (spelt semeiotics) in a very precise sense to denote the branch of medical science relating to the interpretation of signs

The location and time frame in which the action of a narrative takes place.
The place and time at which a play, novel, or film is represented as happening.Examples:
The setting of a novel may be an actual city or region made greater than life, as in James Joyce’s characterization of Dublin.
But settings may also be completely the work of an author’s imagination: in Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada (1969).
In The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) J.R.R. Tolkien created an “alternative world” in his Middle Earth.
Short story

A short story is a short work of fiction, usually written in a narrative prose, shorter than a novel and usually deals with a few characters. The short story has usually only one or a few significant episodes or scenes, character is seldom fully developed.

Before the 19th century the short story was not generally regarded as a distinct literary form. It emerged from earlier oral storytelling traditions, often told in the form of rhyming. In Europe, the oral story-telling tradition began to develop into written stories in the early 14th century, most notably with Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron.

Examples in English literature
● Rudyard Kipling – Plain Tales from the Hills
● Graham Greene – Twenty-One Stories
● Roald Dahl – Lamb to the Slaughter; Kiss, kiss


A showing is the act of making a piece of art available to the public. In the case of literature a showing is publishing a book or these days often just the moment you post a piece of literature work on-line.

Making movies, shows, and plays based on books or even scripts is another form of literary showing.

– language is based on: sign, function and system
– according to the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, we can distinguish 2 sides of a sign:
the signifier (signifiant) = word’s phonic component
the signified (signifié) = the object that appears in our mind during reading/hearing the signifier
e.g.: a cat
the animal itself = signified, the word “cat” = signifier- according to the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, we can distinguis 3 types of a sign:
icon = it is based on the physical similarity between the signifier and the signified
e.g.: onomatopoeia words
a slug = it sounds like something disgusting
index = it is based on the physical connection between the signifier and the signified
e.g.: smoke and fire
symbol = it is based on the acquired connectione,g,: “a table” = if we don’t know what ‘a table’ is, we can’t distinguish it from the word itself

is a figure of speech that compares something to something else and to express such comparison we use words “like” or “as”. The comparison is usually based on similarities that have something in common with the natural world or domestic objects. Unlike a metaphor, a simile expresses a comparison that is direct because it is specific.

A simile can also be found in our daily speech and we might not even know it. However poets, or writers in general, use similes to show their sentiment or thoughts, as well as memories that come to their minds when they think of the object they are writing about. However they don´t want to describe the object directly but they encourage their readers to relate to their personal experience that will help them to more easily understand what was meant in the text.

“John is as slow as a snail.” – snails are known for their slow pace and therefore John´s slowness can be compared to the one of a snail
“He eats like a bird.”
“Her cheeks are red like a rose.”

1.a. A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character reveals his or her thoughts when alone or unaware of the presence of other characters.
b. A specific speech or piece of writing in this form of discourse.2. The act of speaking to oneself.(Note: Soliloquy differentiates from monologue since monologue can be used in the presence of other characters or even meant to them while soliloquy is speech to oneself.)

As an example of soliloquy, we can see well-know quotes from Hamlet or Romeo and Julie by William Shakespeare, but also Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlow.

Sonnet is a poem with a strict rhyme scheme – it consists of fourteen lines that are typically five-foot iambics rhyming. The origin of the term sonnet comes from the thirteenth century (Sicilian school of poets, who were influenced by the love poetry of troubadours). Sonnet is often used to expression of “worldly” love in poetry.
There are two principal sonnet forms, which are the most common → Petrarchan (or Italian sonnet) and Shakespearean (or English sonnet).English sonnet – the rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef gg. Here, you can see an example of Shakespeare’s Sonnet CXVI:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
Oh, no! it is an ever-fixéd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.Other writers of sonnets:
Sir Philip Sidney
Michael Drayton
Edmund Spenser


a division of a poem consisting of two or more lines arranged together as a unit. More specifically, a stanza usually is a group of lines arranged together in a recurring pattern of metrical lengths and a sequence of rhymes.

The structure of a stanza (also callled a strophe or stave) is determined by the number of lines, the dominant metre, and the rhyme scheme. Thus, a stanza of four lines of iambic pentameter, rhyming “abab”, could be described as a quatrain.

Songs of Innocence and Experience

William Blake – “The Sick Rose”
O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
– first stanza

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
– second stanza


Is a movement of thoughts in linguistics, literary theory but also in other humanities that was mostly influential in 1950´s and 1960´s. This movement is primarily based on the linguistic theories of Ferdinand de Saussure. (Saussure defined language as a sign system made up of unchanging patterns and rules)

Structuralism describes language as a system of structures (system of signs and signification) the elements of structure are understandable only in relation to each other and to the system.
In other words Structuralist critics analyse material by focusing on underlying structures (e.g. characterization of plot) to show the universal patterns in several different pieces of work.


A symbol is literary device that contains several layers of meaning, often concealed at first sight, and is representative of several other aspects, concepts or traits than those that are visible in the literal translation alone. Symbol is using an object or action that means something more than its literal meaning.

Another explanation:
Symbols do shift their meanings depending on the context they are used.

The phrase “a new dawn” does not talk only about the actual beginning of a new day but also signifies a new start, a fresh chance to begin and the end of a previous tiring time.

Example of a book:

Emily Bronte´s Wuthering Heights – presents almost every character, house, surroundings and events in a symbolic perspective. The word “Wuthering”, which means stormy, represents the wild nature of its inhabitants.

a figure of speech in which:
a part represents the whole
the whole represents a part (not so common)
connected to metonymy
important for creating vivid imageryExamples:
hired hands (workmen)
society (the high society)
The beat generation

Beat movement, also called Beat Generation, American social and literary movement originating in the 1950s and centred in the bohemian artist communities of San Francisco’s North Beach, Los Angeles’ Venice West, and New York City’s Greenwich Village.

Folksongs, readings and discussions often took place in Washington Square Park.

It was a group of authors whose literature explored and influenced American culture in the post-World War II era. The bulk of their work was published and popularized throughout the 1950s. Central elements of Beat culture are rejection of standard narrative values, the spiritual quest, exploration of American and Eastern religions, rejection of materialism, explicit portrayals of the human condition, experimentation with psychedelic drugs, and sexual liberation and exploration.

In the 1960s, elements of the expanding Beat movement were incorporated into the hippie and larger counterculture movements.

Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (1956), William S. Burrough’s Naked Lunch (1959) and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) are among the best known examples of Beat literature.

Tragedy is literary work or drama in which the main character suffer mostly because of moral weakness or because he has to deal with unpleasant circumstances. Tragedy first appeared in Ancient Greece in the 5th century BCE. The oldest surviving tragedy is Athenian tragedy.
Example:Romanian tragedy
Main character of Romanian tragedy was Seneca, he wrote mostly addapted Greek tragedies for example about Agamemnon or Oedipus.Shakespearean tragedy
Five greatest tragedies written by Shakespeare are Othello, Hamlet, Anthone and Cleopatra, Macbeth and King Lear.

Another great tragedies
In Russia the novels of Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov.
In USA tragic novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville.


a philosophy which says that thought and spiritual things are more real than ordinary human experience and material things

Edgar Allan Poe´s Arthur Gordon Pym- certain destruction, in the pursuit of metaphysical self-discovery

A type of a metrical foot consisting of one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable.(hap´|˘py)
Trochee was commonly used in ancient Latin and Greek comedies and tragedies.
It is not easy to use trochaic metres in English verse.
In long poems, trochaic metres may sound monotonous. However, they have a great effect in shorter poems, such as in William Blake’s
well-known poem “The Tiger”
Utopian novel
A utopia can be defined as an ideal and perfect place or state or any visionary, political or social system. In literature, it refers to detailed description of a society or nation ordered according to a system which author proposes as a better way of life. It can be comprehend as an impractical or idealistic scheme for political or social reform. The opposite of utopia is dystopia.
The word “utopia” was introduces by Sir Thomas More in 1516 in his book of the same name Utopia he called his imaginary perfect island like that.examples:
utopia – Island by Aldoux Huxley – It is about a journalist who shipwrecked on the island where modern science and technologies are used only insofar that it can improve medicine and nutrition. Drugs are used for enlightenment, not for pacification and evils of corporatism are unknown.dystopia – 1984 by George Orwell – The methods of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia are considered and parodied. Freedom of speech is ruthlessly suppressed, torture is rife, spies are everywhere and “Big Brother is watching you!” The technique of ‘newspeak’ is being developed to further facilitate thought control, and ‘doublethink’ is commonplace in state slogans like “Freedom is Slavery”.

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Introduction to Literature. (2019, Feb 11). Retrieved from

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