Literary Terms #13

Pleonasm: the use of extraneous words Tautology: refers to additional words that merely repeat themselves. Ex: “A perfect thing is flawless.” Plot/story: in modern usage, plot is synonymous with story. Many scholars disagree, however , saying that while story is simply what happens, plot encompasses why, when, how, etc. Point of view: the perspective from which a story is told. Unreliable Narrator: when the narration is given from the point of view of one or more characters, then the “facts” can be questioned. Polemic: a work that attacks or supports a controversial point of view in a strong and invigorating style. Pornography: this term refers to any work “designed to arouse sexual lust.” Modern definitions tend to ass (for legal, anti-censorship, purposes) “and without social or redeeming value.” Portmanteau: a “suitcase”, i.e. something that carries other things. Lewis Carroll first called the blend of two words portmanteau words. While originally used for humorous effect, portmanteau words have often become part of our language. Thus, a combination marionette/puppet becomes a muppet and a meal eaten too late for breakfast but too early for lunch becomes brunch. Postmodernism: since modern means “up-to-date”, post-modern (literally, “after” modern) would seem impossible. In literary terms, it refers to the movement, started around 1914, that sought to go beyond what was acceptable at the time into new realms. Prologue: originally, the person who appeared before the start of a play and told the audience what they needed to know about the events preceding the action to follow. Today, prologue refers to any action that occurs before the main story begins. Often used to shadow or deepen the story. Propaganda: works presented, or propagated, to the public to expound a point of view; often political in nature. Quarto: a common size of book derived by folding a standard printer’s sheet into quarters. Octavo: is formed when the sheet is folded in eighths, and is half the size of a quarto. Duodecimo: is a very small book – the sheet is folded in twelfths. Folio: in Shakespeare’s time, the folio – formed by folding in half – was quite popular and lent its name to the first publication of his plays: the First Folio. Quatrain: a poetic stanza consisting of four lines. Recto/Verso: on a page with writing on both sides, recto is the front, and verso is the back. Literary works are all printed this way, and, when bound, page one is always the right-hand page, so recto/verso also refers to the right/left side of a book.

Redaction: the revising/editing of a work, usually done before the public sees the finished product.

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