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Renaissance Literary Terms

Renaissance
a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity; a rebirth

vernacular
language of the common people [English]

pastoral
type of lyric poem (meant to be sung) that celebrates the beauty and pleasures of nature

sonnet
fourteen lines of iambic pentameter with one of three stanza structures and rhyme schemes

sonnet sequence
a series of sonnets that fit together loosely to tell a story

iambic pentameter
lines with ten syllables (five feet) that follow a stressed/unstressed pattern

blank verse
lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter

prose
non-poetic writing

Italian/Petrarchan sonnet
octave and sestet with rhyme scheme: abbaabba cdecde

Elizabethan/Shakespearean sonnet
three quatrains and a couplet with rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg

quatrain
four rhymed lines of poetry; usually abab

couplet
two rhymed lines of poetry: aa

octave
eight rhymed lines of poetry; usually abbaabba

sestet
six rhymed lines of poetry; usually cdecde

Spenserean sonnet
three quatrains and a couplet with intertwining rhyme: abab bcbc cdcd ee

Fair Youth sonnets
Shakespearean sonnets #16-126

Dark Lady sonnets
Shakespearean sonnets #127-154

eternizing conceit
making the human subject of a poem immortal through poetry

apostrophe
when the poet or speaker addresses someone/thing absent as if he/she/it were present

Eternizing sonnets
Shakespearean sonnets #1-15

sight rhyme
words that look like they rhyme, but are pronounced differently (love/remove)

slant rhyme
words that don’t rhyme exactly, but are close enough (possessed/least)

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