You are on page 1of 2


zany (It zani, zanni; a Venetian form of Gianni or Giovanni) A servant-clown

in commedia dellarte (q.v.). More generally, any kind of jester or clown; also
a comedians stooge. Currently used on occasions to describe an idea (or
person) which is off-beat, odd, crazily funny.
zapadnichestvo See westerners.
zarzuela (Sp, after la Zarzuela, a hunting lodge near the Pardo Palace near
Madrid) A form of 17th c. Spanish drama first composed by Caldern de la
Barca with the help of composers such as Juan Risco. Zarzuelas were a form
of musical comedy (q.v.) in one to three acts. Thus a sort of hybrid of drama
and opera. Music became an increasingly important element in which recitative alternated with song. The themes were usually mythological and the
plays were stylized in structure and language. Early examples (both by Caldern) were El mayor encanto amor (1635) and El jardn de Falerina. In the
1650s the plays were performed at the hunting lodge. Zarzuelas became particularly popular in the 17th c. After a period of desuetude in the 18th c. they
were revived in the 19th and continue to be popular to this day.
zaum A Russian term for trans-sense language (zaumny yazyk), a language
which would be beyond sense. For example, neologisms (q.v.), onomatopoeic
effects, arbitrary combinations of sounds, and play with the morphological
components of ordinary words. It was a notable feature of work produced by
Russian Futurist poets, especially Khlebnikov and Kruchenykh. See futurism;
Zeitgeist (G spirit of the time) The trend, fashion or taste of a particular
period. For instance, a preoccupation with the more morbid aspects of dying
and death was characteristic of some English literature in the Jacobean period
(q.v.), especially in the works of dramatists like Webster and Tourneur. See
also decadence; weltanschauung.
A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, Fifth Edition. J. A. Cuddon.
2013 The Estate of J. A. Cuddon. Published 2013 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Zeitroman (G era, period, times, novel) In German the term denotes a
novel which is mainly concerned with an authors critical analysis of the age
in which he or she lives. There are many such novels. Notable examples in
German literature are Gutzkows Die Ritter vom Geiste (18501), Freytags
Soll und Haben (1855), Thomas Manns Der Zauberberg (1924), and Gnter
Grasss Die Blechtrommel (1959) and his Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke
(1972). See also bildungsroman.
zjel A Spanish poetic form (believed to be of Arabic origin) which was
popular in Spain in the late Middle Ages. It consists of an introductory
strophe (q.v.) followed by a series of strophes. At its simplest the strophic
form is four verses rhyming aaab, cccb. The b rhyme runs throughout. See
also estribillo; mudanza.
zenske pesme (S womens songs) Songs or poems of oral tradition and of the
ballad (qq.v.) type frequently sung and chanted by South Slav women, especially peasant women. Their themes are often love, death, marriage, home life
and romance. See narodne pesme.
zeugma (Gk yoking, bonding) A figure of speech in which the same word
(verb or preposition) is applied to two others in different senses. For example:
she looked at the object with suspicion and a magnifying glass; or Miss
Bolo went home in a flood of tears and a sedan chair (Charles Dickens); or
Evelyns description of Charles I as Circled with his royal diadem and the
affections of his people. See also syllepsis.
Zhdanovshchina (R the Zhdanov time) The period of 19468, during which
Andrei Zhdanov, secretary of the Central Committee in control of ideology,
brought heavy pressure to bear on prominent Soviet writers who were
deemed not to be following Party doctrine. Among the most prominent
were Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Zoshchenko and Boris Pasternak. Later,
comparable pressures were put on Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who in 1969 was
expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers (q.v.) and in 1974 was deported
to West Germany. See also dissident writers.