• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Introducing Dokkio, a new service from the creators of PBworks. Find and manage the files you've stored in Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, Slack, and more. Try it for free today.


English IV Literary Devices

Page history last edited by Don Pogreba 10 years, 11 months ago
  • Aesthetics-"Philosophical investigation into the nature of beauty and the perception of beauty, especially in the arts; the theory of art or artistic taste."
  • Anaphora-repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences. "We shall not flag or fail. We shall go o­n to the end. We shall fight in France.
  • Asyndeton- The omission of a conjunction from a list ('chips, beans, peas, vinegar, salt, pepper').
  • Caesura: A strong pause within a line of verse.
  • Chiasmus- A term from classical rhetoric that describes a situation in which you introduce subjects in the order A, B, and C, and then talk about them in the order C, B, and A.
  • Conceit-A far-fetched simile or metaphor, a literary conceit occurs when the speaker compares two highly dissimilar things.
  • Diction-An author's choice of words. Since words have specific meanings, and since o­ne's choice of words can affect feelings, a writer's choice of words can have great impact in a literary work.
  • Didactic-A work "designed to impart information, advice, or some doctrine of morality or philosophy."
  • Epigraph-A brief quotation which appears at the beginning of a literary work.
  • Epigram- A pithy, sometimes satiric couplet or quatrain which was popular in classic Latin literature and in European and English literature of the Renaissance and the neo-Classical era.
  • Exegesis- Critical interpretation of a text, especially a biblical text; from the Greek ex- + egeisthai meaning "to lead out.
  • Farce-A type of comedy based o­n a humorous situation such as a bank robber who mistakenly wanders into a police station to hide. It is the situation here which provides the humor, not the cleverness of plot or lines.
  • Formalism- strict observance of the established rules, traditions and methods employed in the arts. Formalism can also refer to the theory of art that relies heavily o­n the organization of forms in a work rather than o­n the content.
  • Framing device-A story in which o­ne or more other stories are told. Examples include the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales and the play at the beginning of the Taming of the Shrew.
  • Homily- An inspirational saying or platitude.
  • In media res- in or into the middle of a sequence of events, as in a literary narrative.
  • Intentional fallacy-assuming from the text what the author intended to mean.
  • Interpolation-A passage included in an author’s work without his/her consent.
  • Intertextuality- Intertextuality is, thus, a way of accounting for the role of literary and extra-literary materials without recourse to traditional notions of authorship. A literary work, then, is not simply the product of a single author, but of its relationship to other texts and to the strucutures of language itself.
  • Inversion-reversal of the normal order of words for dramatic effect.
  • Juxtaposition-
  • Litotes-
  • Magical realism- a literary technique where the disbelief of the reader and writer produces a momentary shift in the real world wherein an element of the surreal enters and leaves with ease."
  • Metonymy: a figure of speech in which one references something or someone by naming one of its attributes.
  • Metric Feet
    • Anapest: Unstressed/unstressed/stressed (intervene)

      "twas the NIGHT before CHRISTmas and ALL through the HOUSE" (Clement Moore)

    • Dactyl: Stressed/unstressed/unstressed (Yesterday)

      "Grand go the years in the Crescent above them/ Worlds scoop their arcs/ and firmaments row" (Emily Dickinson)

    • Spondee: Stressed/stressed (True-blue)

  • Paradox-
  • Parody- a literary form in which the style of an author or particular work is mocked in its style for the sake of comic effect.
  • Pathetic fallacy- The attribution of human emotions or characteristics to inanimate objects or to nature; for example, angry clouds; a cruel wind.
  • Pastoral- Of, relating to, or being a literary or other artistic work that portrays or evokes rural life, usually in an idealized way.
  • Persona- In literature, the persona is the narrator, or the storyteller, of a literary work created by the author. As Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama puts it, the persona is not the author, but the author’s creation--the voice “through which the author speaks.”
  • Polemic- A controversial argument, especially o­ne refuting or attacking a specific opinion or doctrine.
  • Roman a clef- a novel in which actual persons and events are disguised as fictional characters.
  • Satire- A literary work which exposes and ridicules human vices or folly. Historically perceived as tending toward didacticism, it is usually intended as a moral criticism directed against the injustice of social wrongs.
  • Semantics-the study of the meaning of language, as opposed to its form.
  • Semiotics- theories regarding symbolism and how people glean meaning from words, sounds, and pictures.
  • Subtext-the hidden meaning lying behind the overt.
  • Synecdoche: a figure of speech in which a part of something stands for the whole or the whole for a part.
  • Trope- The intentional use of a word or expression figuratively, i.e., used in a different sense from its original significance in order to give vividness or emphasis to an idea. Some important types of trope are: antonomasia, irony, metaphor, metonymy and synecdoche.
  • Utopia/Dystopia-a utopia is an imaginary and indefinitely remote place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions. A dystopia is an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives; an imaginary place or state where everything is as bad as it possibly can be: or a description of such a place.


  • xxxx
  • xxxx

Additional Resources

  • xxx
  • xxx


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.