English Literature Dictionary

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lai: Also spelt ‘lay’, this is a brief narrative or lyrical poem that is meant to be sung.

lament: A poem or song for expressing grief

lampoon: A crude and sometimes bitter satire that ridicules the appearance or personality of a person.

language: A specific system of signs used by members of a group to communicate with each other. These signs can be verbal sounds, sign language gestures, or written markings like letters.

late modern English: The English language as it is used from 1800 to the present day.

Latino/ Latina writing: Writing by Hispanic immigrants and their descendents.

legend: A story which has been passed down through the generations and is believed to have some historical truth (although legends are fictions).

liet-motif: A recurring theme in a text. Originally, this referred to opera and the association of a theme with a particular character or situaion.

lexicon: Traditionally this term refers to a dictionary of some form, however, the word is now used to refer to the distinctive words applied by a particular writer in their work. See diction.

lexis: See lexicon.

limerick: A comic or bawdy poem that has a AABBA rhyme scheme.

limited point of view: In a third person narrative, where thoughts and information are revealed from a single character's point of view.

litotes: Used in rhetoric. An understatement which employs a negative expression as a positive.

line: In poetry, a line is a single row of words.

linguistics (from Latin lingua, "tongue'): The study of language as a system, as opposed to learning how to speak a foreign language.

literal: A literal passage, story, or text is one intended primarily as a factual account of a real historical event rather than a metaphorical expression.

literary: Of or relating to or characteristic of literature; "literary criticism" or knowledgeable about literature; "a literary style"

literary criticism: Is the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of literature.

literary devices: Techniques used in any work to create an effect, such as metaphors and alliteration. This is also known as poetic and literary techniques.

literary techniques: See literary devices.

literature:  The art of written works. literally translated, the word means "acquaintance with letters" (from Latin littera letter).

loathly lady: A device see in medieval literature from both Celtic and Germanic traditions. Usually an ugly woman whose true appearance is revealed upon receiving a kiss.

low comedy: This comedy contains silly, crude slapstick and violence rather than clever dialogue or banter. See comedy.

lullaby: A calming song designed for children to help them go to sleep.

lyric: A brief poem with repeating stanzas often set to music.

lyric poetry: Poetry with an emotional, song-like quality, different from narrative or dramatic poetry.

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It is in literature that the concrete outlook of humanity receives its expression.
Alfred North Whitehead

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