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Literary Terms Glossary
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The following is a list of literary terms; that is, those words used in discussion, classification, criticism, and analysis of poetry, novels and picture books.

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

* Eclogue

An eclogue is a poem in a classical style on a pastoral subject. Poems in the genre are sometimes also called bucolics.

The form of the word in contemporary English is taken from French eclogue, from Old French, from Latin ecloga. However it is also attested in Middle English as eclog, and this form was apparently taken directly from Latin ecloga. The Latin ecloga is a Romanization of the Greek eklogē (ἐκλογή), meaning "draft, choice, selection (particularly of short passages)". The term originally referred to short poems of any genre, or selections from poetry-books. The ancients referred to individual poems of Virgil's Bucolica as eclogae, and the term was used by later Latin poets to refer to their own bucolic poetry, often in imitation of Virgil. The combination of Virgil's influence and the persistence of bucolic poetry through the Renaissance imposed "eclogues" as the accepted term for the genre. Later Roman poets who wrote eclogues include Calpurnius and Nemesianus.

* Edition

In printmaking, an edition is a number of prints struck from one plate, usually at the same time. This is the meaning covered by this article. This may be a limited edition, with a fixed number of impressions produced on the understanding that no further impressions (copies) will be produced later, or an open edition limited only by the number that can be sold or produced before the plate wears. Most modern artists produce only limited editions, normally signed by the artist in pencil, and numbered as say 67/100 to show the unique number of that impression and the total edition size.

* Ekphrasis

Ekphrasis or ecphrasis is the graphic, often dramatic description of a visual work of art. In ancient times it referred to a description of any thing, person, or experience. The word comes from the Greek ek and phrasis, 'out' and 'speak' respectively, verb ekphrazein, to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name.

Ekphrasis has been considered generally to be a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness. A descriptive work of prose or poetry, a film, or even a photograph may thus highlight through its rhetorical vividness what is happening, or what is shown in, say, any of the visual arts, and in doing so, may enhance the original art and so take on a life of its own through its brilliant description. One example is a painting of a sculpture: the painting is "telling the story of" the sculpture, and so becoming a storyteller, as well as a story (work of art) itself. Virtually any type of artistic media may be the actor of, or subject of ekphrasis. One may not always be able, for example, to make an accurate sculpture of a book to retell the story in an authentic way; yet if it's the spirit of the book that we are more concerned about, it certainly can be conveyed by virtually any medium – which in itself is challenging and interesting – and thereby enhance the artistic impact of the original book through synergy. In this way, a painting may represent a sculpture, and vice versa; a poem portray a picture; a sculpture depict a heroine of a novel; in fact, given the right circumstances, any art may describe any other art, especially if a rhetorical element, standing for the sentiments of the artist when s/he created her/his work, is present. For instance, the distorted faces in a crowd in a painting depicting an original work of art, a sullen countenance on the face of a sculpture representing a historical figure, or a film showing particularly dark aspects of neo-Gothic architecture, are all examples of ekphrasis.

* Elegy

In literature, an elegy is a mournful, melancholic or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead.

The Greek term elegeia (ἐλεγεία) originally referred to any verse written in elegiac couplets and covering a wide range of subject matter, including epitaphs for tombs. The Latin elegy of ancient Roman literature was most often erotic or mythological in nature. Because of its structural potential for rhetorical effects, the elegiac couplet was also used by both Greek and Roman poets for witty, humorous, and satiric subject matter. Other than epitaphs, examples of ancient elegy as a poem of mourning include Catullus' Carmen 101, on his dead brother, and elegies by Propertius on his dead mistress Cynthia and a matriarch of the prominent Cornelian family. Ovid wrote elegies bemoaning his exile, which he likened to a death. A notable example that established the genre in English literature is Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1750). "Elegy" (sometimes spelled elégie) may denote a type of musical work, usually of a sad or somber nature.

* Elision

Elision is the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase, producing a result that is easier for the speaker to pronounce. Sometimes, sounds may be elided for euphonic effect. Elision is normally unintentional, but it may be deliberate. The result may be impressionistically described as "slurred" or "muted." An example of deliberate elision occurs in Latin poetry as a stylistic device. Under certain circumstances, such as one word ending in a vowel and the following word beginning in a vowel, the words may be elided together. Elision was a common device in the works of Catullus. For example, the opening line of Catullus 3 is: Lugete, O Veneres Cupidinesque, but would be read as Lugeto Veneres Cupidinesque. The elided form of a word or phrase may become a standard alternative for the full form, if used often enough. In English, this is called a contraction, such as can't from cannot. Contraction differs from elision in that contractions are set forms that have morphologized, but elisions are not. A synonym for elision is syncope, though the latter term is most often associated with the elision of vowels between consonants (e.g., Latin tabula → Spanish tabla). Another form of elision is apheresis, which means elision at the beginning of a word (generally of an unstressed vowel). Some morphemes take the form of elision. See disfix. The opposite of elision is epenthesis, whereby sounds are inserted into a word to ease pronunciation. A special form of elision called ecthlipsis is used in Latin poetry when a word ending in the letter "m" is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, e.g., "...et mutam nequiquam adloquerer cinerem." = "...et mutam nequiquadloquerer cinerem." - Catullus 101. The omission of a word from a phrase or sentence is not elision but ellipsis or, more accurately, elliptical construction.

* Emblem

An emblem is a pictorial image, abstract or representational, that epitomizes a concept — e.g., a moral truth, or an allegory — or that represents a person, such as a king or saint.

The words emblem and symbol often appear interchangeably in day-to-day conversation without causing undue confusion. A distinction between the two may seem unnecessarily fastidious. Nevertheless, an emblem is a pattern that is used to represent an idea, or an individual. An emblem crystallizes in concrete, visual terms some abstraction: a deity, a tribe or nation, a virtue or a vice. An emblem is an object or a representation of an object.

An emblem may be worn or otherwise used as an identifying badge. A real or metal cockle shell, the emblem of St James the Apostle, sewn onto the hat or clothes identified a medieval pilgrim to his shrine at Santiago de Compostela. In the Middle Ages, many saints were given emblems, which served to identify them in paintings and other images: St Catherine had a wheel, or a sword, St Anthony Abbot a pig and a small bell. These are also called attributes, especially when shown carried by or close to the saint in art. Kings and other grand persons increasingly adopted personal devices or emblems that were distinct from their family heraldry. The most famous include Louis XIV of France's sun, the salamander of Francis I of France, the boar of Richard III of England and the armillary sphere of Manuel I of Portugal. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century there was a fashion, started in Italy, for making large medals with a portrait head on the obverse and the emblem on the reverse; these would be given to friends and as diplomatic gifts. Pisanello produced many of the earliest and finest of these.

"The big eat the small": a political emblem from an emblem book of 1617

In current American usage, police officers' badges refer specifically to their personal metal emblem — sometimes with a uniquely identifying number or name on it — while the woven emblems sewn on their uniforms identify all the members of a particular unit.

A symbol substitutes one thing for another, in a more concrete fashion:

  1. The Christian cross is a symbol of the Crucifixion; it is an emblem of sacrifice.
  2. The Red Cross is one of three symbols representing the International Red Cross. A red cross on a white background is the emblem of humanitarian spirit.
  3. The crescent shape is a symbol of the moon; it is an emblem of Islam.
  4. The skull and crossbones is an symbol identifying a poison. The skull is an emblem of the transitory human life.

* Emblem book

Emblem books are a category of illustrated book printed in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, typically containing a number of emblematic images with explanatory text.

Scholars differ on the key question of whether the actual emblems in question are the visual images, the accompanying texts, or the combination of the two. This is understandable, given that the first emblem book, the Emblemata of Andrea Alciato, was first issued in an unauthorized edition in which the woodcuts were chosen by the printer without any input from the author, who had circulated the texts in unillustrated manuscript form. Some early emblem books were unillustrated, particularly those issued by the French printer Denis de Harsy. With time, however, the reading public came to expect emblem books to contain picture-text combinations. Each combination consisted of a woodcut or engraving accompanied by one or more short texts, intended to inspire their readers to reflect on a general moral lesson derived from the reading of both picture and text together. The picture was subject to numerous interpretations: only by reading the text could a reader be certain which meaning was intended by the author. Thus the books are closely related to the personal symbolic picture-text combinations called personal devices, known in Italy as imprese and in France as devises.

Woodcut from Guillaume de La Perrière, Le Théâtre des bons engins, 1545.

Emblem books, both secular and religious, attained enormous popularity throughout continental Europe, though in Britain they never captured the imagination of readers to the same extent. The books were especially numerous in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France. Andrea Alciato wrote the epigrams contained in the first and most widely disseminated emblem book, the Emblemata, published by Heinrich Steyner in 1531 in Augsburg. Another influential illustrated book was Cesare Ripa's Iconologia, first published in 1593, though it is not properly speaking an emblem book but a collection of erudite allegories. A famous English collection is the Emblems of Francis Quarles, 1635. Many such works borrowed plates or texts (or both) from earlier exemplars.

Early European studies of Egyptian hieroglyphs, like that of Athanasius Kircher, assumed that the hieroglyphs were emblems, and imaginatively interpreted them accordingly.

* Emendation - Improve

Improve means to make something better.

* End rhyme - Rhyme

A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words and is most often used in poetry and songs. The word "rhyme" may also refer to a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes.

* End-stopped line

An end-stopped line is a feature in poetry in which the syntactic unit (phrase, clause, or sentence) corresponds in length to the line. Its opposite is enjambment, where the sense runs on into the next line. According to A. C. Bradley, "a line may be called 'end-stopped' when the sense, as well as the metre, would naturally make one pause at its close; 'run-on' when the mere sense would lead one to pass to the next line without any pause."

An example of end-stopping can be found in the following extract from The Burning Babe by Robert Southwell; the end of each line corresponds to the end of a clause.

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat, which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear.

The following extract from The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare is heavily enjambed.

I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
That honourable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown.

In this extract from The Gap by Sheldon Vanauken, the first and third lines are enjambed, while the second and fourth are end-stopped:

All else is off the point: the Flood, the Day
Of Eden, or the Virgin Birth—Have done!
The Question is, did God send us the Son
Incarnate crying Love! Love is the Way!

Scholars such as A. C. Bradley and Goswin König have estimated approximate dates of undated works of Shakespeare by studying the proportion of end-stopping to enjambment, the former being more typical of Shakespeare's early plays, and the latter a feature of his later works.

* English sonnet - Sonnet

Soon after the introduction of the Italian sonnet, English poets began to develop a fully native form. While English sonnets were introduced by Thomas Wyatt in the early 16th century, his sonnets and those of his contemporary the Earl of Surrey were chiefly translations from the Italian of Petrarch and the French of Ronsard and others. While Wyatt introduced the sonnet into English, it was Surrey who gave it a rhyming meter, and a structural division into quatrains of a kind that now characterizes the typical "English" sonnet. Having previously circulated in manuscript, both poets' sonnets were first published in Richard Tottel's Songes and Sonnetts, better known as Tottel's Miscellany (1557).

* Enjambment

Enjambment or enjambement is the breaking of a syntactic unit (a phrase, clause, or sentence) by the end of a line or between two verses. It is to be contrasted with end-stopping, where each linguistic unit corresponds with a single line, and caesura, in which the linguistic unit ends mid-line. The term is directly borrowed from the French enjambement, meaning "straddling" or "bestriding".

The following lines from Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (c. 1611) are heavily enjambed:

I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
That honourable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown.

Meaning flows as the lines progress, and the reader’s eye is forced to go on to the next sentence. It can also make the reader feel uncomfortable or the poem feel like “flow-of-thought” with a sensation of urgency or disorder.

In contrast, the following lines from Romeo and Juliet (c. 1595) are completely end-stopped:

A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
The sun for sorrow will not show his head.
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things.
Some shall be pardon’d, and some punished.

Each line is formally correspondent with a unit of thought — in this case, a clause of a sentence. End-stopping is more frequent in early Shakespeare: as his style developed, the proportion of enjambment in his plays increased. Scholars such as Goswin König and A. C. Bradley have estimated approximate dates of undated works of Shakespeare by studying the frequency of enjambment.

Enjambment may also be used to delay the intention of the line until the following line and thus play on the expectation of the reader and surprise them. Alexander Pope uses this technique for humorous effect in the following lines from The Rape of the Lock: On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.

The second line should confuse the reader, raising the question "Why would a Jew or infidel adore a cross?" On second reading, the reader should realize that "breast" does not carry the general androgynous connotation of "chest" but instead the specific idea of a woman's breasts, which are so attractive that a heterosexual man of any religion would kiss the Christian cross to be near.

A master of enjambment, E. E. Cummings combined it with the use of punctuation as an art form:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

For another example of enjambment in poetry, look at the opening lines of Catullus XIII, ad Fabullum:

Cenabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me
paucis, si tibi di favent, diebus,
si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam
cenam, non sine candida puella
et vino et sale et omnibus cachinnis.

Here is an English translation, roughly preserving word order:

You will dine well, my Fabullus, at my house
in a few, if the gods favor you, days,
and if you bring with you a good and great
dinner, not without a white girl
and wine and wit and laughs for all.

The phrase si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam / cenam (“if you bring with you a good and great / dinner”) is sharply enjambed between the third and fourth lines.

Enjambment is sometimes referred to as a "run-on line".

* Entr'acte

Entr'acte is French for "between the acts" (German: Zwischenspiel, Italian: Intermezzo, Spanish: Intermedio). It can mean a pause between two parts of a stage production, synonymous to an intermission, but it more often indicates a piece of music (interlude) performed between acts of a theatrical production. In the case of stage musicals, the entr'acte serves as the overture of Act Two (and sometimes Acts Three and Four, as in the case of The Student Prince). In roadshow theatrical releases, films that were meant to be shown with an intermission, there was frequently a specially recorded entr'acte on the soundtrack between the first and second half of the film.

Originally entr'actes resulted from stage curtains being closed for set or costume changes: to fill time as not to halt the dramatic action, to make a transition from the mood of one act to the next, or to prevent the public from becoming restless. In front of the closed curtains, the action could be continued during these entr'actes, albeit involving only players with no scenery other than the curtain, and a minimum of props.

Like an interquel, an entr'acte can take the action from one part of a large-scale drama to the next by completing the missing links. An interquel, however, is a much later innovation. In contrast to an entr'acte, an interquel utilizes the same kind of resources and magnitude as the parts it joins.

In traditional theatre, incidental music could also bridge the 'closed curtain' periods: Ballet, opera and drama each have a rich tradition of such musical interludes. The etymology of the German word, Verwandlungsmusik refers to its original function – literally, "change music". Eventually, entr'actes (or intermezzi) would develop into a separate genre of short theatrical realisations (often with a plot completely independent from the main piece), that could be produced with a minimum of requisites during intermissions of other elaborate theatre pieces. These later entr'actes were distinctly intended to break the action or mood with something different, such as comedy or dance. Such pieces also allowed the chief players of the main piece to have a break. Eventually the idea of being an insert into a greater whole became looser: interlude sometimes has no other connotation than a "short play".

When the insert was intended only to shift the mood before returning to the main action, without a change of scene being necessary, authors could revert to a "play within a play" technique, or have some accidental guests in a ballroom perform a dance, etc. In this case the insert is a divertimento (the term is Italian; the French divertissement is also used) rather than an entr'acte.

In the French opera tradition of the end of the 17th century and early 18th century (Jean-Philippe Rameau, for example) such divertissements would become compulsory in the form of an inserted ballet passage, a tradition that continued till well in the 19th century. This was eventually parodied by Jacques Offenbach: for example, the cancan ending Orphée aux enfers.

By the middle of the 18th century a divertimento had become a separate genre of light music as well. These divertimenti could be used as interludes in stage works, many of the divertimenti composed in the last half of the 18th century appears to have lost the relation to the theatre, the music in character only having to be a "diversion" in one or another way.

* Envoy

Diplomatic rank is the system of professional and social rank used in the world of diplomacy and international relations. Over time it has been formalized on an international basis.

Bilateral diplomacy

The distinction between managers and officers is not necessarily as apparent. Senior officers (such as first and second secretaries) often manage junior diplomats and locally-hired staff.

In modern diplomatic practice there are a number of diplomatic ranks below Ambassador. Since most missions are now headed by an Ambassador, these ranks now rarely indicate a mission's (or its host nation's) relative importance, but rather reflect the diplomat's individual seniority within their own nation's diplomatic career path and in the diplomatic corps in the host nation:

Ambassador (High Commissioner in Commonwealth missions)
Ambassador at large
Minister
Minister-Counselor
Counselor
First Secretary
Second Secretary
Third Secretary
Attaché
Assistant Attaché

Chargé d'affaires

Chargé d'affaires and chargé d'affaires, ad interim (or simply a.i.) is a separate title used when an Ambassador (or other head of mission) is not present, has not been appointed, or is otherwise not able to discharge duties in a specific location. Generally, the ad interim (temporary) "chargé" (as they are often referred to) is another staff member (usually the second-most senior officer) accredited in the host country for the head of mission's temporary absences. In such cases, the diplomatic mission advises the local government (usually the foreign ministry) by means of a diplomatic note that a specific individual has been appointed chargé for a specific or indefinite period of time. In contrast to an Ambassador, the specific agreement of the host government is not required.

Attaché

The term attaché is used for any diplomatic agent who does not fit in the standard diplomatic ranks, often because they are not (or were not traditionally) members of the sending country's diplomatic service or foreign ministry, and were therefore only "attached" to the diplomatic mission. The most frequent use is for military attachés, but the diplomatic title may be used for any specific individual or position as required. Since administrative and technical staff benefit from only limited diplomatic immunity, some countries may routinely appoint support staff as attachés. Attaché does not, therefore, denote any rank or position (except in Soviet and post-Soviet diplomatic services, where attaché is the lowest diplomatic rank of a career diplomat). Note that many traditional functionary roles, such as press attaché or cultural attaché, are not formal titles in diplomatic practice, although they may be used as a matter of custom.

Multilateral diplomacy

Furthermore, outside this traditional pattern of bilateral diplomacy, as a rule on a permanent residency basis (though sometimes doubling elsewhere), certain ranks and positions were created specifically for multilateral diplomacy:

An Ambassador at Large is equivalent of an Ambassador and assigned specific tasks or region in which he is assigned various assignments aimed at multi track diplomacy.
A permanent representative is the equivalent of an ambassador, normally of that rank, but accredited to an international body (mainly by member—and possibly observer states), not to a head of state.
A resident representative (or sometimes simply representative) is the equivalent — in rank and privileges — of an ambassador, but accredited by an international organization (generally a United Nations agency, or a Bretton Woods institution) to a country's government. The resident representative typically heads the country office of that international organization within that country.
A special ambassador is a government's specialist diplomat in a particular field, not posted in residence, but often traveling around the globe.
The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is an ambassador of cabinet rank, in charge of U.S. delegations in multilateral trade negotiations (since 1962). The USTR's Special Agricultural Negotiator also typically holds an ambassadorial appointment.

* Epic poetry

An epic (from the Ancient Greek adjective ἐπικός (epikos), from ἔπος (epos) "word, story, poem") is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form. Nonetheless, epics have been written down at least since the works of Virgil, Dante Alighieri, and John Milton. Many probably would not have survived if not written down. The first epics are known as primary, or original, epics. One such epic is the Old English story Beowulf. Epics that attempt to imitate these like Milton's Paradise Lost are known as literary, or secondary, epics. Another type of epic poetry is epyllion (plural: epyllia), which is a brief narrative poem with a romantic or mythological theme. The term, which means 'little epic', came in use in the nineteenth century. It refers primarily to the type of erotic and mythological long elegy of which Ovid remains the master; to a lesser degree, the term includes some poems of the English Renaissance, particularly those influenced by Ovid. One suggested example of classical epyllion may be seen in the story of Nisus and Euryalus in Book IX of Aeneid.

* Epic simile - Homeric simile

Homeric simile, also called epic simile, is a detailed comparison in the form of a simile that is many lines in length. The word "Homeric" is based on the Greek author, Homer, who composed the two famous Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Many authors continue to use this type of simile in their writings.

* Epic theatre

Epic theatre (German: episches Theater) was a theatrical movement arising in the early to mid-20th century from the theories and practice of a number of theatre practitioners, including Erwin Piscator, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold and, most famously, Bertolt Brecht. Although many of the concepts and practices involved in Brechtian epic theatre had been around for years, even centuries, Brecht unified them, developed the style, and popularized it. Epic theatre incorporates a mode of acting that utilises what he calls gestus. The epic form describes both a type of written drama and a methodological approach to the production of plays: "Its qualities of clear description and reporting and its use of choruses and projections as a means of commentary earned it the name 'epic'." Brecht later preferred the term "dialectical theatre."

One of the goals of epic theatre is for the audience to always be aware that it is watching a play: "It is most important that one of the main features of the ordinary theatre should be excluded from [epic theatre]: the engendering of illusion."

Epic theatre was a reaction against other popular forms of theatre, particularly the naturalistic approach pioneered by Constantin Stanislavski. Like Stanislavski, Brecht disliked the shallow spectacle, manipulative plots, and heightened emotion of melodrama; but where Stanislavski attempted to engender real human behavior in acting through the techniques of Stanislavski's system and to absorb the audience completely in the fictional world of the play, Brecht saw Stanislavski's methodology as producing escapism. Brecht's own social and political focus departed also from surrealism and the Theatre of Cruelty, as developed in the writings and dramaturgy of Antonin Artaud, who sought to affect audiences viscerally, psychologically, physically, and irrationally.

* Epigraph

In literature, an epigraph is a phrase, quotation, or poem that is set at the beginning of a document or component. The epigraph may serve as a preface, as a summary, as a counter-example, or to link the work to a wider literary canon, either to invite comparison or to enlist a conventional context.

The long quotation from Dante's Inferno that prefaces T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is part of a speech by one of the damned in Dante's Hell. Linking it to the monologue which forms Eliot's poem adds a comment and a dimension to Prufrock's confession. The epigraph to Eliot's Gerontion is a quotation from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure.

The epigraphs to the preamble of Georges Perec's Life: A User's Manual (La Vie mode d'emploi) and to the book as a whole warn the reader that tricks are going to be played and that all will not be what it seems.

The epigraph to E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime quotes Scott Joplin's instructions to those who play his music, "Do not play this piece fast. It is never right to play Ragtime fast." This stands in contrast to the accelerating pace of American society at the turn of the 20th century.

The epigraph to Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov is John 12:24. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

Some authors use fictional quotations that purport to be related to the fiction of the work itself. For example, Stephen King's The Dark Half has epigraphs taken from the fictitious novels written by the protagonist; Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair has quotations from supposedly future works about the action of the story. King also uses many epigraphs in his own literature, usually to mark the beginning of another section in the novel. An unusual example is "The Stand" where he uses lyrics from certain songs to express the metaphor used in a particular part.

Some science fiction authors (Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy and Frank Herbert's Dune series are examples) are fond of using quotations from an imagined future history of the period of their story. This can be seen as a way of constructing authenticity for a work of the imagination.

* Epilogue

An epilogue, or epilog, is a piece of writing at the end of a work of literature or drama, usually used to bring closure to the work. The writer or the person can deliver a speech, speaking directly to the reader, when bringing the piece to a close, or the narration may continue normally to a closing scene.

An epilogue is a final chapter at the end of a story that often serves to reveal the fates of the characters. Some epilogues may feature scenes only tangentially related to the subject of the story. They can be used to hint at a sequel or wrap up all the loose ends. They can occur at a significant period of time after the main plot has ended. In some cases, the epilogue has been used to allow the main character a chance to 'speak freely'. An epilogue can continue in the same narrative style and perspective as the preceding story, although the form of an epilogue can occasionally be drastically different from the overall story. When the author steps in and speaks directly to the reader, that is more properly considered an afterword. It can also be used as a sequel.

In films, the final scenes may feature a montage of images or clips with a short explanation of what happens to the characters. American Graffiti, National Lampoon's Animal House, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Changeling are examples of such films. There are many films which do not only include a few glimpses of the character's future, but also are based on an epilogue. Most epilogues in films are shown in a dramatic fashion, usually in silence, to commemorate an important happening eg. the fate of a character in the film.

The US series "Arrested Development" is a good example as it has an epilogue at the end of every episode. Many TV sitcoms feature epilogues in the form of scenes over the closing credits, often resolving a minor subplot from the episode or resurrecting an earlier joke.

* Epiphany

An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation, striking appearance") is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture," or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or numinous foundational frame of reference.

Epiphanies of sudden comprehension have also made possible leaps in technology and the sciences. Famous epiphanies include Archimedes' realization of how to estimate the volume of a given mass, which inspired him to shout "Eureka!" ("I have found it!"). The biographies of many mathematicians and scientists include an epiphanic episode early in the career, the ramifications of which were worked out in detail over the following years. For example, Albert Einstein was struck as a young child by being given a compass, and realizing that some unseen force in space was making it move. An example of a flash of holistic understanding in a prepared mind was Charles Darwin's "hunch" (about natural selection) during The Voyage of the Beagle.

In Christianity, the Epiphany refers to the realization that Christ is the son of God. Western churches generally celebrate the Adoration of the Magi as the Incarnation of the infant Christ, and commemorate Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Traditionally, Eastern churches celebrated Epiphany (or Theophany) in conjunction with Christ's baptism by John the Baptist and celebrated it on January 19; however, many have begun to adopt the Western custom of celebrating it on January 6, the twelfth day of Christmas. Protestant churches often celebrate Epiphany as a season, extending from the last day of Christmas until Ash Wednesday.

In more general terms the phrase religious epiphany is used when a person realizes their faith or when they are convinced that an event or happening was really caused by a deity or being of their faith. In Hinduism, for example, epiphany might refer to the realization of Arjuna that Krishna (a God serving as his charioteer in the "Bhagavad Gita") is indeed representing the universe. Or in Buddhism, the term might refer to the Buddha finally realizing the nature of the universe, and thus attaining nirvana. The Zen term kensho also describes this moment, referring to the feeling attendant on realizing the answer to a koan.

* Episode

An episode is a part of a dramatic work such as a serial television or radio program. An episode is a part of a sequence of a body of work, akin to a chapter of a book. The term sometimes applies to works based on other forms of mass media as well, as in Star Wars. Episodes of news programs are also known as editions.

Episodes which end in the middle of a climactic moment are often called cliffhangers, after the name used for early movie serials. Such episodes can be nearly daily occurrences in soap operas and are frequently used in season finales of many prime time shows.

Episodes can be part of a larger story arc stretched out over a time period covering one or more seasons, or even an entire series run. This is especially prevalent in dramatic television series, including soap operas or science fiction series. Other genres to feature story arcs include comedies and animated programming.

* Episteme

Episteme, as distinguished from techne, is etymologically derived from the Greek word ἐπιστήμη for knowledge or science, which comes from the verb ἐπίσταμαι, "to know".

The contemporary philosopher Michel Foucault used the term épistémè in a highly specialized sense in his work The Order of Things to mean the historical a priori that grounds knowledge and its discourses and thus represents the condition of their possibility within a particular epoch. In subsequent writings, he made it clear that several epistemes may co-exist and interact at the same time, being parts of various power-knowledge systems. But, he did not discard the concept:

I would define the episteme retrospectively as the strategic apparatus which permits of separating out from among all the statements which are possible those that will be acceptable within, I won’t say a scientific theory, but a field of scientificity, and which it is possible to say are true or false. The episteme is the ‘apparatus’ which makes possible the separation, not of the true from the false, but of what may from what may not be characterised as scientific.

Foucault's use of episteme has been asserted as being similar to Thomas Kuhn's notion of a paradigm, as for example by Jean Piaget. However, there are decisive differences. Whereas Kuhn's paradigm is an all-encompassing collection of beliefs and assumptions that result in the organization of scientific worldviews and practices, Foucault's episteme is not merely confined to science but to a wider range of discourse (all of science itself would fall under the episteme of the epoch). While Kuhn's paradigm shifts are a consequence of a series of conscious decisions made by scientists to pursue a neglected set of questions, Foucault's epistemes are something like the 'epistemological unconscious' of an era; the configuration of knowledge in a particular episteme is based on a set of fundamental assumptions that are so basic to that episteme so as to be invisible to people operating within it. Moreover, Kuhn's concept seems to correspond to what Foucault calls theme or theory of a science, but Foucault analysed how opposing theories and themes could co-exist within a science. Kuhn doesn't search for the conditions of possibility of opposing discourses within a science, but simply for the (relatively) invariant dominant paradigm governing scientific research (supposing that one paradigm always is pervading, except under paradigmatic transition). In contrast, Foucault attempts to demonstrate the constitutive limits of discourse, and in particular, the rules enabling their productivity; however, Foucault maintained that though ideology may infiltrate and form science, it need not do so: it must be demonstrated how ideology actually forms the science in question; contradictions and lack of objectivity is not an indicator of ideology. Kuhn's and Foucault's notions are both influenced by the French philosopher of science Gaston Bachelard's notion of an "epistemological rupture", as indeed was Althusser. More recently, Judith Butler used the concept of episteme in her book Excitable Speech, examining the use of speech-act theory for political purposes.

* Epistle

An epistle (pronounced /i'pis.l/; Greek ἐπιστολή, epistolē, 'letter') is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles. Those traditionally attributed to Paul are known as Pauline epistles and the others as catholic (i.e., "general") epistles.

Epistles are written in strict accordance to formalized, Hellenistic tradition, especially the Pauline epistles. This reflects the amount of Hellenistic influence upon the epistle writers. Any deviancy is not the result of accident but indicates an unusual motive of the writer.

Opening

In contrast to modern letters, epistles usually named the author at the very beginning, followed by the recipient (for example, see Philippians 1:1). The scribe (or more correctly, the amanuensis) who wrote down the letter may be named at the end of the episte (e.g. Romans 16:22). In the absence of a postal system, the courier may also be named (e.g. Ephesians 6:21-22).

After the names of the author and recipient, Pauline epistles often open with the greeting, "Grace and peace to you." "Grace" was a common Hellenistic greeting, while "peace" (shalom) was the common Jewish greeting; this reflected Paul's dual identity in Jewish faith and Hellenistic culture. There may also be a word of thanks to the audience. In secular letters, a prayer or wish for health followed.

Body

The body begins with a brief statement introducing the main topic of the entire body.

Style

To English readers, the epistles may appear more formalized than originally read, due to the process of translation. The writer sought to establish 'philophronesis', an intimate extension of their relationship as similar as a face to face encounter as possible. The writer hoped to revive the friendship, making the epistle a substitute for the actual writer. Letters written to a group of people, which include most of the New Testament epistles, were not read individually but read aloud to the entire church congregation.

The content is concise compared to modern letters. Writing required a great financial expense of paper and ink and long process of time.

The letter often intends to establish theological points (as in many of Paul's epistles), to comfort in the face of persecution (for example, 1 Peter), or to exhort Christians to do good works (James).

* Epistolary novel

An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. The word epistolary comes from the Latin word epistola, meaning a letter.

The epistolary form can add greater realism to a story, because it mimics the workings of real life. It is thus able to demonstrate differing points of view without recourse to the device of an omniscient narrator.

There are three types of epistolary novels: monologic (giving the letters of only one character, like Letters of a Portuguese Nun), dialogic (giving the letters of two characters, like Mme Marie Jeanne Riccoboni's Letters of Fanni Butlerd (1757), and polylogic (with three or more letter-writing characters). In addition, a crucial element in polylogic epistolary novels like Clarissa, and Dangerous Liaisons is the dramatic device of 'discrepant awareness': the simultaneous but separate correspondences of the heroines and the villains creating dramatic tension.

* Epistrophe

Epistrophe (Greek: ἐπιστροφή, "return"), also known as epiphora (and occasionally as antistrophe), is a figure of speech and the counterpart of anaphora. It is the repetition of the same word or words at the end of successive phrases, clauses or sentences. It is an extremely emphatic device because of the emphasis placed on the last word in a phrase or sentence.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. — The Apostle Paul, in the Bible, 1 Cor 13:11 (King James Translation)

* Epitaph

An epitaph (from Greek ἐπιτάφιον epitaphion "a funeral oration" from ἐπί epi "at, over" and τάφος taphos "tomb") is a short text honouring a deceased person, strictly speaking that is inscribed on their tombstone or plaque, but also used figuratively. Some are specified by the dead person beforehand, others chosen by those responsible for the burial. An epitaph may be in verse; poets have been known to compose their own epitaphs prior to their death, as W.B. Yeats did.

Most epitaphs are brief records of the family, and perhaps the career, of the deceased, often with an expression of love or respect - "beloved father of ..." - but others are more ambitious. From the Renaissance to the 19th century in Western culture, epitaphs for notable people became increasingly lengthy and pompous descriptions of their family origins, career, virtues and immediate family, often in Latin. However, the Laudatio Turiae, the longest known Ancient Roman epitaph exceeds almost all of these at 180 lines; it celebrates the virtues of a wife, probably of a consul.

Some are quotes from holy texts, or aphorisms. An approach of many epitaphs is to 'speak' to the reader and warn them about their own mortality. A wry trick of others is to request the reader to get off their resting place, as often it would require the reader to stand on the ground above the coffin to read the inscription. Some record achievements, (e.g. past politicians note the years of their terms of office) but nearly all (excepting those where this is impossible, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) note name, year or date of birth and date of death. Many list family and their relation to them; such as Father / Mother / Son / Daughter etc. of.

* Epithalamiom

Epithalamium (Latin form of Greek ἐπιθαλάμιον epithalamion from ἐπί epi "upon," and θάλαμος thalamos nuptial chamber) refers to a form of poem that is written specifically for the bride on the way to her marital chamber. This form continued in popularity through the history of the classical world; the Roman poet Catullus wrote a famous epithalamium, which was translated from or at least inspired by a now-lost work of Sappho.

It was originally among the Greeks a song in praise of bride and bridegroom, sung by a number of boys and girls at the door of the nuptial chamber. According to the scholiast on Theocritus, one form was employed at night, and another, to rouse the bride and bridegroom on the following morning. In either case, as was natural, the main burden of the song consisted of invocations of blessing and predictions of happiness, interrupted from time to time by the ancient chorus of Hymen hymenaee. Among the Romans a similar custom was in vogue, but the song was sung by girls only, after the marriage guests had gone, and it contained much more of what modern attitudes would identify as obscene.

* Epithet

An epithet (from Greek language ἐπίθετον – epitheton, neut. of ἐπίθετος – epithetos, "attributed, added") is a descriptive term (word or phrase) accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title. For example, Frederick the Great.

In linguistics, an epithet can only be a metaphor, essentially a reduced or condensed use of apposition. Epithets are sometimes attached to a person's name or appear in place of their name, as what might be described as a glorified nickname or sobriquet. An epithet is linked to its noun by long-established usage and some are not otherwise employed. Not every adjective is an epithet, even worn cliché: an epithet is especially recognizable when its function is largely decorative, as when "cloud-gathering Zeus" is otherwise employed than in conjuring up a storm. "The epithets are decorative insofar as they are neither essential to the immediate context nor modelled especially for it. Among other things, they are extremely helpful to fill out a half-verse", Walter Burkert has noted.

Some epithets are known by the Latin term epitheton necessarium because they are required to distinguish the bearers, e.g. as an alternative to ordinals after a prince's name — such as Richard the Lionheart (Richard I of England), or Charles the Fat alongside Charles the Bald. Still the same epithet can be used repeatedly, in different spheres of life and/or joined to different names, say Alexander the Great as well as Catherine the Great.

Other epithets can easily be omitted without serious risk of confusion, and are therefore known (again in Latin) as epitheton ornans; thus the classical Roman author Virgil systematically called his main hero pius Aeneas, the epithet being pius, which means religiously observant, humble and wholesome, as well as calling the armsbearer of Aeneas fidus Achates, the epithet being fidus, which means faithful or loyal.

There are also specific types of epithets, such as the kenning which appears in works such as Beowulf. An example of a kenning would be the term whale-road, meaning "sea".

* Epizeuxis

In linguistics, an epizeuxis is the repetition of words in immediate succession, for vehemence or emphasis.

Examples:

"O horror, horror, horror." (Macbeth)
"Words, words, words." (Hamlet)
"Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain." (Kay)
"Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers. Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers!" (Steve Ballmer)
"Education, education, education." (Tony Blair)
"Never, never, never quit." (Winston Churchill)
"Location, location, location." (Common phrase tied to real estate)
"The horror, the horror" (Kurtz in Heart of Darkness)
"No, no, no!" (Margaret Thatcher)
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!" ([Henry David Thoreau, Walden, II])
"Scotchy, scotch, scotch." ([Ron Burgundy, Anchornman])

* Epode

Epode, in verse, is the third part of an ode, which followed the strophe and the antistrophe, and completed the movement.

At a certain point in time the choirs, which had previously chanted to right of the altar or stage, and then to left of it, combined and sang in unison, or permitted the coryphaeus to sing for them all, while standing in the centre. With the appearance of Stesichorus and the evolution of choral lyric, a learned and artificial kind of poetry began to be cultivated in Greece, and a new form, the epode-song, came into existence. It consisted of a verse of iambic trimeter, followed by a verse of iambic dimeter, and it is reported that, although the epode was carried to its highest perfection by Stesichorus, an earlier poet, Archilochus, was really the inventor of this form.

The epode soon took a firm place in choral poetry, which it lost when that branch of literature declined. But it extended beyond the ode, and in the early dramatists we find numerous examples of monologues and dialogues framed on the epodical system. In Latin poetry the epode was cultivated, in conscious archaism, both as a part of the ode and as an independent branch of poetry. Of the former class, the epithalamia of Catullus, founded on an imitation of Pindar, present us with examples of strophe, antistrophe and epode; and it has been observed that the celebrated ode of Horace, beginning Quem virum aut heroa lyra vel acri, possesses this triple character.

* Eponymous author

The eponymous author of a literary work, often a work that is meant to be prophetic or homiletic, is not really the author. An anonymous author chooses to write in the name of another. This eponymous author is not merely a pen name for the real author, but someone with a completely different identity. The author is often

  • a real person who is famous, but usually long deceased, whom the author has chosen to achieve recognition or fame for his work. Such a work is said to be pseudepigraphical. For example, Jeremiah was said to be the author of Lamentations, and Solomon the author of Song of Songs. Most biblical scholars attribute both works to later authors, writing eponymously.
  • a fictitious person, cloaking the identity of the real author. The fictitious author is often clearly not a real person. The character of the fictitious author, as perceived by the reader, may itself be a fictional device.
  • a fictitious person, even though the identity of the real author is well known. John Updike created an interview of himself, conducted by Henry Bech, one of his fictitious characters.

* Essay

An essay is a short piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. The definition of an essay is vague, overlapping with those of an article and a short story. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been dubbed essays (e.g. Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man). While brevity usually defines an essay, voluminous works like John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population provide counterexamples.

In some countries (e.g., in the United States), essays have become a major part of formal education. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants and, in the humanities and social sciences, as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams. The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other mediums beyond writing. A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary film making styles and which focuses more on the evolution of a theme or an idea. A photographic essay is an attempt to cover a topic with a linked series of photographs; it may or may not have an accompanying text or captions.

* Ethos

Ethos is an English word based on a Greek word and denotes the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, a nation or an ideology. Its use in rhetoric is closely based on the Greek terminology used by Aristotle.

Ethos (ἦθος, ἔθος, plurals: ethe (ἤθη), ethea (ἤθεα)) is a Greek word originally meaning "accustomed place" (as in ἤθεα ἵππων "the habitat of horses", Iliad 6.511), "custom, habit", equivalent to Latin mores.

Ethos forms the root of ethikos (ἠθικός), meaning "moral, showing moral character". Late Latin borrowed it as ethicus, the feminine of which (ethica, for ἠθική φιλοσοφία "moral philosophy") is the origin of the modern English word ethics.

Ethos refers to the spirit which motivates the ideas and customs. As T.S. Eliot wrote, "The general ethos of the people they have to govern determines the behavior of politicians." One historian noted that in the 1920s, "The ethos of the Communist party dominated every aspect of public life in Soviet Russia."

Ethos may change in response to new ideas or forces. Ideas of economic modernization imported from the West in the 1930s brought about in Jewish settlements in Palestine "the abandonment of the agrarian ethos and the reception of...the ethos of rapid development".

* Eulogy

A 'eulogy' (Classical Greek for "good words") is a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially one recently deceased or retired. Eulogies may be given as part of funeral services. However, some denominations either discourage or do not permit eulogies at services to maintain respect for traditions. Eulogies can also praise a living person or people who are still alive, which normally takes place on special occasions like birthdays etc. Eulogies should not be confused with elegies, which are poems written in tribute to the dead; nor with obituaries, which are published biographies recounting the lives of those who have recently died; nor with obsequies, which refer generally to the rituals surrounding funerals. Catholic priests are prohibited by the rubrics of the Mass from presenting a eulogy for the deceased in place of a homily during a funeral Mass.

Eulogies are usually delivered by a family member or a close family friend in the case of a deceased person. For a living eulogy given in such cases as a retirement, a senior colleague could perhaps deliver it. On occasions eulogies are given to those who are severely ill or elderly in order to express words of love and gratitude before they pass away.

* Euphony - Phonaesthetics

Phonaesthetics (from the Greek, "voice-sound"; and "aesthetics") is the claim or study of inherent pleasantness or beauty (euphony) or unpleasantness (cacophony) of the sound of certain words and sentences. Poetry is considered euphonic, as is well-crafted literary prose. Important phonaesthetic devices of poetry are rhyme, assonance and alliteration. Closely related to euphony and cacophony is the concept of consonance and dissonance.

* Euphuism

Euphuism is a mannered style of English prose, taking its name from works by John Lyly who, however, did not invent the term. It took the form of a preciously ornate and sophisticated style that employed a wide range of literary devices such as antitheses, alliterations, repetitions, rhetorical questions and others. Classical learning and remote knowledge of all kinds were displayed. Euphuism was fashionable in the 1580s,especially in the Elizabethan Court but never previously or subsequently.

"Euphues" is Greek and means "graceful, witty". John Lyly published the works Euphues: The Anatomy of Wyt (1578) and Euphues and his England (1580). Both works illustrated the intellectual fashions and favourite themes of Renaissance society — in a highly artificial and mannered style. Its essential features had already appeared in such works as George Pettie's "A Petite Pallace of Pettie his pleasure" (1576), in sermon literature, and Latin tracts. It was Lyly who perfected the distinctive rhetorical devices on which the style was based.

The euphuistic sentence followed principles of balance and antithesis. John Lyly set up three basic structural principles:

  • phrases of equal length that appear in succession;
  • the balance of key verbal elements in successive sentences;
  • the correspondence of sounds and syllables, especially between words that are already balanced against each other.

Lyly's style influenced Shakespeare (Polonius in Hamlet; Moth in Love's Labour's Lost; Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing). Many critics thought that Lyly overused comparisons as well as alliterations; Philip Sidney and Gabriel Harvey castigated his style. Euphuism was, however, taken up by the Elizabethan writers Robert Greene, Thomas Lodge and Barnabe Rich.

* Evidence

Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either (a) presumed to be true, or (b) were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth. Evidence is the currency by which one fulfills the burden of proof.

Many issues surround evidence, making it the subject of much discussion and disagreement. In addition to its subtlety, evidence plays an important role in many academic disciplines, including science and law, adding to the discourse surrounding it.

An important distinction in the field of evidence is that between circumstantial evidence and direct evidence, or evidence that suggests truth as opposed to evidence that directly proves truth. Many have seen this line to be less-than-clear and significant arguments have arisen over the difference.

The theory of evidence is a field wrought with dispute. Many of these disputes stem from the limits of human knowing, a field known as epistemology. Possibly the most salient question of evidence is how, if, and what, one can know. (Or, in other words, the question is to what extent is it even possible to fulfill the burden of proof.) This is the question of evidence's limits. Some believe all evidence to be circumstantial, denying the possibility of direct evidence.

To help deal with this problem, many fields have found it useful to talk about levels of evidence and certainty, particularly the field of law.

* Exegesis

Exegesis (from the Greek ἐξήγησις from ἐξηγεῖσθαι 'to lead out') is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used for greater specificity. The goal of Biblical exegesis is to explore the meaning of the text which then leads to discovering its significance or relevance. Exegesis includes a wide range of critical disciplines: textual criticism is the investigation into the history and origins of the text, but exegesis may include the study of the historical and cultural backgrounds for the author, the text, and the original audience. Other analysis includes classification of the type of literary genres present in the text, and an analysis of grammatical and syntactical features in the text itself. The terms exegesis and hermeneutics have been used interchangeably. However, hermeneutics is a more widely defined discipline of interpretation theory: hermeneutics includes the entire framework of the interpretive process, encompassing all forms of communication: written, verbal and nonverbal, while exegesis focuses primarily on the written text.

One who practices exegesis is called an exegete (from Greek ἐξηγητής). The plural of exegesis is exegeses. Adjectives for exegesis are exegetic or exegetical (e.g., exegetical commentaries). In Biblical exegesis, the opposite of exegesis (to draw out) is eisegesis (to draw in). Eisegesis, often used as a derogatory term, implies that the reader is importing their own meaning into the text. Exegesis is an attempt to discover the meaning of the text objectively, while eisegesis is importing a subjective meaning into the text.

* Exemplum

An exemplum (Latin for "example", pl. exempla, exempli gratia = "for example", abbr.: e.g.) is a moral anecdote, brief or extended, real or fictitious, used to illustrate a point.

This genre sprang from the above, in classical, medieval and Renaissance literature, consisting of lives of famous figures, and using these (by emphasizing good or bad character traits) to make a moral point.

Collections of Exempla helped medieval preachers to adorn their sermons, to emphasize moral conclusions or illustrate a point of doctrine. The subject matter could be taken from fables, folktales, legends or real history. Jacques de Vitry's book of exempla, c. 1200, was one of the most famous collections. Geoffrey Chaucer's The Miller's Prologue and Tale became a vivid satire on these collections and the abuse they found wherever they were just brought into monotonous litanies.

Examples include:

  • Suetonius's De vita Caesarum or Lives of the Twelve Caesars
  • Plutarch's Parallel Lives
  • Jerome's De viris illustribus
  • Petrarch's De viris illustribus
  • Chaucer's The Monk's Prologue and Tale, The Pardoner's Tale and The Legend of Good Women
  • Boccacio's On Famous Women and On the Fates of Illustrious Men
  • Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies.
  • Don Juan Manuel's Libro de los ejemplos del conde Lucanor y de Patronio.
  • Mirror for Magistrates by various Tudor authors
  • Der Stricker's bispel

* Existentialism

Existentialism is a term applied to the work of a number of philosphers since the 19th century who, despite large differences in their positions, generally focused on the condition of human existence, and an individual's emotions, actions, responsibilities, and thoughts, or the meaning or purpose of life. Existential philosophers often focused more on what is subjective, such as beliefs and religion, or human states, feelings, and emotions, such as freedom, pain, guilt, and regret, as opposed to analyzing objective knowledge, language, or science.

The early 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard is regarded as the father of existentialism. He maintained that the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and boredom.

Subsequent existentialist philosophers retain the emphasis on the individual, but differ, in varying degrees, on how one achieves and what constitutes a fulfilling life, what obstacles must be overcome, and what external and internal factors are involved, including the potential consequences of the existence or non-existence of God. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophy, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience. Existentialism became fashionable in the post-World War years as a way to reassert the importance of human individuality and freedom.

Existentialism is sometimes referred to as a continental philosophy, referring to the continental part of Europe, as opposed to that practiced in the islands of Great Britain at that time, which was called analytic philosophy, and mostly dealt with analyzing language.

* Exordium

In Western classical rhetoric, the exordium was the introductory portion of an oration. The term is Latin and the Greek equivalent was called the Proem or Prooimion.

The exordium is one of six parts of a discourse that an orator would develop as part of the rhetorical discipline known as dispositio — the arrangement of the arguments in an oration. In the exordium, the orator laid out the purpose of the discourse. In doing this, he would need to consider several things:

  • What kind of cause is he presenting? For instance, is it an honorable cause (defense of a hero) or a dishonorable one (defense of a murderer)?
  • Should a direct opening be favoured, or should the opening be more subtle and indirect?
  • In what manner ought the speaker to proceed (e.g., light-heartedly or seriously)?
  • The speaker should introduce their own character or credentials, so as to make the audience predisposed to believing their arguments.
  • If required, or possible, the speaker might also call into question the character or credentials of his opponent.
  • Lastly, the speaker must avoid certain faults in the introduction. For example, this excerpt from the Rhetorica ad Herennium lists several faults:

"In the Introduction of a cause we must make sure that our style is temperate and that the words are in current use, so that the discourse seems unprepared. An Introduction is faulty if it can be applied as well to a number of causes; that is called a banal Introduction. Again, an Introduction which the adversary can use no less well is faulty, and that is called a common Introduction. That Introduction, again, is faulty which the opponent can turn to his own use against you. And again that is faulty which has been composed in too laboured a style, or is too long; and that which does not appear to have grown out of the cause itself in such a way to have an intimate connection with the Statement of Facts; and, finally, that which fails to make the hearer well disposed or receptive or attentive." (Rhetorica ad Herennium, I. vii, 11, trans. Harry Caplan, Loeb Classical Library, 1954.)

In short, the exordium was the portion of the discourse in which the orator would prepare the audience to hear his arguments in a favorable frame of mind.

* Experimental novel

Experimental literature refers to written works - often novels or magazines - that place great emphasis on innovations regarding technique and style.

The first text generally cited in this category is Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759). This extraordinary text "pre-breaks" most of the "rules" that would be subsequently advanced for the writing of fiction.

As a "life story" Tristram Shandy is utterly impractical, its first half spent trying to have the titular hero be born, and on utterly irrelevant digressions about the narrator's father, his Uncle Toby, and anybody else within range of the narrative. Suddenly the narrative leaps forward by decades, and the narrator is seen near the end of his life, riding a coach at breakneck speed across France, trying to escape Death.

In its approach to narrative, and its willingness to use such graphic elements as an all-black page (for mourning) and a page of marbled end-paper within the text, Sterne's novel is a foundational text for many post-World War II authors. But alongside the experimental novel, critical attacks on the experimental novel are also to be found at this early period. Samuel Johnson, for instance, is quoted in Boswell as saying "The merely odd does not last. Tristram Shandy did not last."

Almost as early is Denis Diderot's Jacques the Fatalist and His Master.

* Explication de texte

Explication de Texte is a French formalist method of literary analysis that allows for limited reader response, similar to close reading in the English-speaking literary tradition. The method involves a detailed yet relatively objective examination of structure, style, imagery, and other aspects of a work. It was particularly advocated by Gustave Lanson.

It is primarily a pedagogical tool, similar to a formal book report.

A simple format for writing an Explication de Texte is this:

  • A brief overview of what happened literally— not figuratively
  • The structuring of the literature (e.g. Was it a sonnet? What kind?) and the tone throughout the piece
  • The poetic devices used throughout the literature (e.g. personification)
  • Conclusion

* Exposition - Dramatic structure

Dramatic structure is the structure of a dramatic work such as a play or film. Many scholars have analyzed dramatic structure, beginning with Aristotle in his Poetics (c. 335 BCE). This article focuses primarily on Gustav Freytag's analysis of ancient Greek and Shakespearean drama.

* Expressionism

Expressionism was a cultural movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the start of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world in an utterly subjective perspective, radically distorting it for emotional effect, to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express the meaning of "being alive" and emotional experience rather than physical reality.

Expressionism emerged as an 'avant-garde movement' in poetry and painting before the First World War. It remained popular during the Weimar years, particularly in Berlin. The movement was embodied in various art forms, including painting, literature, theatre, dance, film, architecture and music.

The term is sometimes suggestive of emotional angst. In a general sense, painters such as Matthias Grünewald and El Greco can be called expressionist, though in practice, the term is applied mainly to 20th century works. The Expressionist stress on the individual perspective has been characterized as a reaction to positivism and other artistic movements such as naturalism and impressionism.

* Extended metaphor

An extended metaphor, also called a conceit, is a metaphor that continues into the sentences that follow. It is often developed at great length, occurring frequently in or throughout a work, and are especially effective in poems and fiction.

  • If one starts with the metaphor of "The seeds have already been sown", an extension could be "It remains to be seen whether weeds or flowers will spring forth."
  • Also, many fables and fairy tales are often extended metaphors.

Such as short stories like "Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy" by Tim O'Brien and "Tandem" by Dan Libman, which uses the metaphor of a tandem bike ride to illustrate a difficult marriage.

Extended metaphor poems are categorized into three groups: "of metaphors", "is metaphors", and "adjacent noun metaphors". An "of metaphor" is a metaphor consisting of the pattern "She is the love of my life". An "is metaphor" is more profound version of "of metaphors". These shorten the previous example to "She is love." An adjacent noun poem is a less common category. It uses three unrelated nouns to create a vivid image. Adjacent noun poems are usually lighthearted and entertaining.

Extended metaphors appear also in symbolic constitutions and many Native American literature pieces.

* Extension

In any of several studies that treat the use of signs - for example, in linguistics, logic, mathematics, semantics, and semiotics - the extension of a concept, idea, or sign consists of the things to which it applies, in contrast with its comprehension or intension, which consists very roughly of the ideas, properties, or corresponding signs that are implied or suggested by the concept in question.

In philosophical semantics or the philosophy of language, the 'extension' of a concept or expression is the set of things it extends to, or applies to, if it is the sort of concept or expression that a single object by itself can satisfy. Concepts and expressions of this sort are monadic or "one-place" concepts and expressions.

So the extension of the word "dog" is the set of all (past, present and future) dogs in the world: the set includes Fido, Rover, Lassie, Rex, and so on. The extension of the phrase "Wikipedia reader" includes each person who has ever read Wikipedia, including you.

The extension of a whole statement, as opposed to a word or phrase, is defined (since Frege 1892) as its truth value. So the extension of "Lassie is famous" is the logical value 'true', since Lassie 'is' famous.

Some concepts and expressions are such that they don't apply to objects individually, but rather serve to relate objects to objects. For example, the words "before" and "after" do not apply to objects individually — it makes no sense to say "Jim is before" or "Jim is after" — but to one thing in relation to another, as in "The wedding is before the reception" and "The reception is after the wedding". Such "relational" or "polyadic" ("many-place") concepts and expressions have, for their extension, the set of all sequences of objects that satisfy the concept or expression in question. So the extension of "before" is the set of all (ordered) pairs of objects such that the first one is before the second one.

* Extrametrical verse - Acatalexis

An acatalectic line of verse is one having the metrically complete number of syllables in the final foot. When talking about poetry written in English the term is arguably of limited significance or utility, at least by comparison to its antonym, catalectic, for the simple reason that acatalexis is considered to be the "usual case" in the large majority of metrical contexts and therefore explicit reference to it proves almost universally superfluous.

* Extravaganza

An extravaganza is a literary or musical work (often musical theatre) characterized by freedom of style and structure and usually containing elements of burlesque, pantomime, music hall and parody. It sometimes also has elements of cabaret, circus, revue, variety, vaudeville and mime. Extravaganza may more broadly refer to an elaborate, spectacular, and expensive theatrical production.

The term was widely used to describe to a type of 19th-century British drama made popular by James Planché. Planché defined it as "the whimsical treatment of a poetical subject."

The term is derived from the Italian word stravaganza, meaning extravagance.

* Eye rhyme

Eye rhyme, also called visual rhyme and sight rhyme, is a similarity in spelling between words that are pronounced differently and hence, not an auditory rhyme. An example is the pair slaughter and laughter.

Many older English poems, particularly those written in Middle English or written in The Renaissance, contain rhymes that were originally true or full rhymes, but as read by modern readers they are now eye rhymes because of shifts in pronunciation. An example is prove and love.

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






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Published - February 2011






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