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

tactile imagery: See imagery.

tale: A type of short story that is largely concentrated on action, rather than characterisation or atmosphere. Tales are generally oral, opposed to written. See oral literature.

tanka: Similar to the haiku, the tanka is a type of Japanese poetry. It contains thirty-one syllables set in five lines of five / seven / five / seven / seven syllables.

technique: Similar to style, this term refers to the specific craft and method used by a writer.

Tennyson, Alfred Lord: Nineteenth Century English poet.

tenor: In linguistics, it refers to the participants in a text and their relationship to each other.

tense: Grammatical tense is a temporal linguistic quality expressing the time at, during, or over which a state or action denoted by a verb occurs.

tension: A mood that transpires from any conflict within a text or play.

tercet: A three-line stanza in a poem, or simply three-lines of a poem, that normally rhymes in an AAA or ABA scheme. It is sometimes called a triplet.

tetrameter: A line that contains four metrical feet.

text: The term refers to a single work of literature, such as a particular poem, essay, short story.

textual criticism: The analysis of any work of literature.

theatre: Any room or building where dramatic performances take place, or motion pictures are shown.

theatre in the round: A theatre where the audience surrounds the area of the stage.

Theatre of the Absurd: Popular in the 1940s-1960s refers to plays and drama which deal with absurdist notions. These plays generally consider human existence to be without point as the world is devoid of meaning. Famous playwrights in this genre of the Absurd include Pinter, Stoppard and Beckett.

thermal imagery: See imagery.

thematic imagery: Imagery that appears throughout a work. Usually this recurring imagery assists in highlighting a central theme or an agenda.

theme: A principal concept or concepts that unifies and preoccupies a literary work. See motif.

thesis: In a modern day essay a thesis is an argument, which can be implicit or explicit and is developed and supported throughout the work. A thesis can also refer to an essay itself, one with a central argument.

third person narrative: Unlike first person narratives, the third person perspective allows the reader to see the happenings of the plot from a variety of perspectives, as the author is not writing from the restrictive ‘I’ narration. In the third person narrative ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’ or ‘they’ is used, meaning one or several viewpoints can be presented. See narrator and first person narrative.

tone: The mood of a text or part of a text. See emotion and ambience.

tradition: The beliefs, attitudes, tendencies, and ways of groups of people, cultures and religions.

tragedy: A serious play where the protagonist experiences a succession of misfortunes leading to a concluding, disturbing catastrophe – usually for the protagonist. See Greek tragedy and Shakespearean tragedy.

tradicomedy: A work which combines genres of both comedy and tragedy.

tragic flaw: A limitation or weakness of a character, which causes a their downfall. See Greek tragedy.

transformational grammar: A description of the grammar of a language, including Chomsky's distinction between deep and surface structure of a grammar.

transitive: Of verbs - it refers to verbs which have or take an object.

trench poetry: Poetry and songs written by both practiced poets and ordinary soldiers, which focuses on the disenchantment, torment, bitterness, and moral dismay these individuals felt as a result of their participation in World War I (the trench war). Eminent trench poets include Sassoon and Owen. In particular Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est is an example of well-known trench poetry.

trilogy: A set of three literary works, sequels, which jointly create a larger account.

trimeter: A line of verse consisting of three metrical feet or three dipodies.

triplet: See tercet.

trochee: A two-syllable unit or foot of poetry, which consists of a heavy stress followed by a light stress. Numerous words in English naturally form trochees: clever, shatter, pitcher, chorus etc. A line of poetry set out in consecutive trochees is written in trochaic meter.

twist ending: An ending which brings an unexpected resolution or conclusion to a text.

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
I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.
Oscar Wilde

mail4/F, BOC Group Life Assurance Tower, 134-136 Des Voeux Road Central, HK (entrance on Gilman St.)

Shop A-C, 5/F, Cameron Plaza, 23- 25A Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Central: (852) 2116-3916

TST: (852) 2116-3258

[email protected]