English Literature Dictionary

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W  X   Y   Z

ballad: A poem which tells a story, usually in the form of four-line stanzas or quatrains.  Lines one and three are generally unrhymed iambic tetrameters, whilst lines two and four are iambic trimeters.

bard: An ancient Celtic poet, singer and harpist who recited heroic poems by memory, or more generally, in modern usage, a synonym for any poet. When referred to as The Bard, this is a reference to Shakespeare.

Baroque: A term used to describe a style of architecture, art and music, but it can be used appropriately for writing. Features include florid, exuberant and dramatic form, which is usually associated with the 17th century. Metaphysical writing is sometimes described as such.

bathos: When a writer who is intending to be pathetic, exceeds a limit and descends into the ridiculous.

beat: The stress of the rhythm or foot in poetry and other texts.

Beat movement: a 1950s loose-knit group of American anti-establishment writers, sometimes known as the Beat Generation. They deliberately shocked middle-class Americans (whom they called 'squares'). The group was influenced by jazz and Zen Buddhism. Notable writers include Kerouac (who is credited with inventing the term 'beat'). The movement as such was short-lived, but influenced others.

Beckett, Samuel: A significant contributor to the Theatre of the Absurd Beckett was an Irish writer, playwright and poet. He is also well known for his bleak viewpoint. In 1969 Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1989 (born 1906).

Bellow, Saul:A Canadian and American writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1976) and the Pulitzer prize.

Bestiary: A collection of moral tales or fables originally written in the Middle Ages about real or mythical animals. The tales often had an allegorical dimension.

Bible: The religious, sacred text of Christianity.

bibliography: A compilation of books, articles, essays and other written materials, on a particular author or subject.

bildungsroman: From the German, meaning "formation novel", the term refers to a coming of age story. This is where a child embarks upon a journey, metaphorical or physical, and thus grows into an adult.

biography: A non-fictional account of a person's life and character by another person

black comedy: Drama where potentially horrific situations are treated with amusement and ridicule by both the characters and the audience

Black Vernacular: A variety of English generally considered to be non-standard and commonly used by African- Americans. See African-American English.

Blake, William: Born on 28 November 1757, Blake died on 12 August 1827. Whilst essentially unknown during his lifetime, Blake is enormously well regarded now a days for his poetic works during the Romantic Period

blank verse: Unrhymed iambic pentameter. A common mistake is to describe any unrhymed verse as 'blank'. Notable users of blank verse include Milton, Shakespeare and Wordsworth.

blurb: Publisher’s comments printed on the cover or sleeve of a book, often including an enthusiastic brief summary of the contents. The blurb is designed to entice the reader.

bombast: Pompous, overblown language.

Booker Prize: See Man Booker Prize.

Briticism: An expression or vocabulary item specific to British English (as opposed to American English). An example of this would be 'rubbish bin' (British English) and 'trash can' (American English).

British Empire: The British Empire consisted of the colonies and territories occupied or administered by the United Kingdom, from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It became the principal global power and by 1922 it ruled a population of about 458 million people: one-quarter of the world's population. During the 20th century, most of the Empire gained independence as part of decolonisation. See post-colonialism.

British English: The English language of the British Isles

broken rhyme: This technique is when a word is split in order to create a rhyme. This is rare, except in comic verse.

Bronte family: A family of three female novelists and poets who lived with their father and brother in a remote weaving village on the Yorkshire moors.  Charlotte Bronte (1816-55) is noted for emotional realism in her writing. Her works include Jane Eyre (1847). Emily Bronte (1818-48) works including Wuthering Heights (1847). Finally, Anne Bronte (1820-49), explores religious doubt in her poetry. Notable works include The tenant of Wildfell Hall(1848).

burlesque: a term applied to writing which sets out to satirise a subject, work or literary style by making a deliberate mismatch between the manner and the matter.

Byron, Lord Gordon: An English poet of the Romantic movement.  His works were popular during his lifetime and have remained so. He lived between 1788 and 1824.

Byronic hero: A male character who displays a number of qualities, largely negative.  A Byronic hero has a dark side and emotional issues. Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" is often considered an example of a Byronic hero.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W  X   Y   Z
Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become
C.S. Lewis

mailCentral: 4/F., BOC Group Life Assurance Tower, 134-136 Des Voeux Road Central, HK (entrance on Gilman St.)

ITS Tutorial School (TST)
Shop A-C, 5/F, Cameron Plaza, 23- 25A Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

(852) 2116-3916

Mong Kok:
(852) 2116-3258

(852) 2116-1675 or (852) 3186- 2425