2433_wheeler_litglossary.doc - ENG/HUM 2413 Introduction...

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ENG/HUM 2413 Introduction to Literature&ENG/HUM 2433 World Literature ILiterary GlossaryExcerpted from Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s Online Literary GlossaryComplete version available at: With additional terms from Kelli McBrideKelli McBrideFall 2007Seminole State CollegeThis packet available online at
Literary TermsNote: I have deleted terms that are not relevant for these two courses and/or the works we will study. However, some definitionsrefer to other entries (underlined terms). If you cannot find that underlined term on this handout, I have deleted it. Youcan, though, visit Dr. Wheeler’s web site to read the reference. Please also note that I have added some terms to this list,and you will not find those on Dr. Wheeler’s site.1.ACT:A major division in a play. Often, individual acts are divided into smaller units ("scenes") that all take place in a specific location. Originally, Greek plays were not divided into acts. They took placeas a single whole interrupted occasionally by the chorus's singing. In Roman times, a five-act structurefirst appeared based upon Horace's recommendations. This five-act structure became a convention of drama(and especially tragedy) during the Renaissance. (Shakespeare's plays have natural divisions that can be taken as the breaks between acts as well; later editors inserted clear "act" and "scene" markings in these locations.) From about 1650 CE onward, most plays followed the five-act model. In the 1800s, Ibsen and Chekhov favored a four-act play, and in the 1900s, most playwrights preferred a three-act model, though two-act plays are not uncommon.2.ACTION:A real or fictional event or series of such events comprising the subject of a novel, story, narrative poem, or a play, especially in the sense of what the characters do in such a narrative. Action, along with dialogueand the characters' thoughts, form the skeleton of a narrative's plot.3.AGONIST:From the Greek agonistes: actor or contender, a character in a play. The protagonistis the first actor, the main character of the play (sometimes but not always a hero). The antagonistis the character most opposite to the protagonist (sometimes but not always a villain) that allows the development of conflict. The deuteragonist is often the second actor in a play and sometimes acts as the protagonist’s foil. See character.4.AIDOS:The Greek term for the great shame felt by a hero after failure.5.ALLEGORY:The word derives from the Greek allegoria("speaking otherwise"). The term loosely describes any writing in verse or prose that has a double meaning. This narrative acts as an extended metaphor in which persons, abstract ideas, or events represent not only themselves on the literal level, but they also stand for something else on the symbolic level. An allegorical reading usually involves moral or spiritual concepts that may be more significant than the actual, literal events described in a

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