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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

* Lai (Lay)

A Lai is a lyrical, narrative poem written in octosyllabic couplets that often deals with tales of adventure and romance. Lais often have great metrical variety and are designed to be sung to a popular melody. One well-known author of Lais was Marie de France, whose collection of Lais (c. 1155-70) were twelve Celtic tales of romance that often involved elements of the fantastic. Lanval, one of her more popular narratives, is one such story. Marie de France’s lais came down to us in the same Norman dialect that was spoken in the court of Henry II (Angevin French king of England from 1154–89), to whom Marie dedicated her lais. For these reasons she is believed to have been a member of the court of Henry II. Marie claims to have translated her lais from the Breton language, and she later translated them into French. Though the works of male romancers during Marie’s time often focused on the need to balance personal needs and social responsibilities, Marie’s works have a strong female focus—especially on the personal desires of those female characters. Lanval, for example, is about a knight who is able to escape an uncaring and arbitrary society though the love of an otherworldly fairy figure. Thus, this lai portrays both the fantastic and female focus.

A lai was a song form composed in northern Europe, mainly France and Germany, from the 13th to the late 14th century.

The poetic form of the lai usually has several stanzas, none of which have the same form. As a result, the accompanying music consists of sections which do not repeat. This distinguishes the lai from other common types of musically important verse of the period (for example, the rondeau and the ballade). Towards the end of its development in the 14th century, some lais repeat stanzas, but usually only in the longer examples. There is one very late example of a lai, written to mourn the defeat of the French at the Battle of Agincourt (1415), (Lay de la guerre, by Pierre de Nesson) but no music for it survives.

There are four lais in the Roman de Fauvel, all of them anonymous. The lai reached its highest level of development as a musical and poetic form in the work of Guillaume de Machaut; 19 separate lais by this 14th-century ars nova composer survive, and they are among his most sophisticated and highly-developed secular compositions.

* Lake Poets

The Lake Poets are a group of English poets who all lived in the Lake District of England at the turn of the nineteenth century. As a group, they followed no single "school" of thought or literary practice then known, although their works were uniformly disparaged by the Edinburgh Review[citation needed]. They are considered part of the Romantic Movement.

The three main figures of what has become known as the Lakes School are William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. They were associated with several other poets and writers, including Dorothy Wordsworth, Charles Lloyd, Hartley Coleridge, John Wilson, and Thomas De Quincey.

The beauty of the Lake District has also inspired many other poets over the years, beyond the core Lake Poets. These include James Payn, Bryan Procter, Felicia Hemans and Walter Scott.

* Lament

A lament or lamentation is a song, poem, or piece of music expressing grief, regret, or mourning.

Many of the oldest and most lasting poems in human history have been laments. Laments are present in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, and laments continued to be sung in elegiacs accompanied by the aulis in classical and Hellenistic Greece. Lament elements figure in Beowulf, in the Hindu Vedas, and in ancient Near Eastern religious texts, including the Mesopotamian city laments such as the Lament for Ur and the Jewish Tanakh, which would later become the Christian Old Testament).

In many oral traditions, both early and modern, the lament has been a genre usually performed by women: Batya Weinbaum made a case for the spontaneous lament of women chanters in the creation of the oral tradition that resulted in the Iliad The material of lament, the "sound of trauma" is as much an element in the Book of Job as in the genre of pastoral elegy, such as Shelley's "Adonais" or Matthew Arnold's "Thyrsis".

The Book of Lamentations or Lamentations of Jeremiah figures in the Old Testament. In art the Lamentation of Christ (under many closely variant terms) is a common subject from the Life of Christ, showing his dead body being mourned after the Crucifixion.

A Lament in The Book of Lamentations or in the Book of the Psalms (in the particular Lament/Complaint Psalms of the Tanakh, may be looked at as "a cry of need in a context of crisis when Israel lacks the resources to fend for itself." Another way of looking at it is all the more basic: laments simply being "appeals for divine help in distress". These laments, too, often have a set format: an address to God, description of the suffering/anguish which one seeks relief, a petition for help and deliverance, a curse towards one's enemies, an expression of the belief of ones innocence or a confession of the lack thereof, a vow corresponding to an expected divine response, and lastly, a song of thanksgiving. Examples of a general format of this, both in the individual and communal laments, can be seen in Psalm 3 and Psalm 44 respectively.

A heroine's lament is a conventional fixture of baroque opera seria, accompanied usually by strings alone, in descending tetrachords. Because of their plangent cantabile melodic lines, evocatively free, non-strophic construction and adagio pace, operatic laments have remained vividly memorable soprano or mezzo-soprano arias even when separated from the emotional pathos of their operatic contexts. An early example is Ariadne's "Lasciatemi morire", which is the only survivor of Claudio Monteverdi's lost Arianna. Francesco Cavalli's operas extended the lamento formula, in numerous exemplars, of which Ciro's "Negatemi respiri" from Ciro is notable. Other examples include Dido's lament, "When I am laid" (Henry Purcell, Dido and Aeneas), "Lascia ch'io pianga" (Georg Friedrich Handel, Rinaldo), "Cara mio ben" (Tomasso or Giuseppe Giordani). The lament continued to represent a musico-dramatic high point. In the context of opera buffa, the Countess's lament, "Dove sono" comes as a surprise to the audience of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, and in Gioachino Rossini's Barber of Seville, Rosina's plaintive words at her apparent abandonment are followed, not by the expected lament aria, but by a vivid orchestral interlude of storm music. The heroine's lament remained a fixture in romantic opera, and the Marschallin's monologue in Act I of Der Rosenkavalier can be understood as a penetrating psychological lament.

* Lampoon - Parody

A parody (pronounced /ˈpærədi/; also called send-up, spoof or lampoon), in contemporary usage, is a work created to mock, comment on, or make fun at an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation. As the literary theorist Linda Hutcheon (2000: 7) puts it, "parody … is imitation, not always at the expense of the parodied text." Another critic, Simon Dentith (2000: 9), defines parody as "any cultural practice which provides a relatively polemical allusive imitation of another cultural production or practice." Often, the most satisfying element of a good parody is seeing others mistake it for the genuine article.

* L'art pour l'art - Art for art's sake

"Art for art's sake" is the usual English rendering of a French slogan, from the early 19th century, ''l'art pour l'art'', and expresses a philosophy that the intrinsic value of art, and the only "true" art, is divorced from any didactic, moral or utilitarian function. Such works are sometimes described as "autotelic", from the Greek autoteles, “complete in itself”, a concept that has been expanded to embrace "inner-directed" or "self-motivated" human beings.

* Laureate

In English, the word laureate has come to signify eminence or association with literary or military glory. It is also used for winners of the Nobel Prize.

In ancient Greece, the laurel (Laurus nobilis) was sacred to Apollo and as such sprigs of it were fashioned into a crown or wreath of honor for poets and heroes. This symbolism has been widespread ever since. "Laureate letters" in old times meant the dispatches announcing a victory; and the epithet was given, even officially (e.g. to John Skelton) by universities, to distinguished poets.

The name of "bacca-laureate" for a bachelor's degree shows a confusion with a supposed etymology from Latin bacca lauri (the laurel berry), which, though incorrect, involves the same idea. From the more general use of the term "poet laureate" arose its restriction in England to the office of the poet attached to the royal household, first held by Ben Jonson, for whom the position was, in its essentials, created by Charles I of England in 1617. Jonson's appointment does not seem to have been formally made as poet-laureate, but his position was equivalent to that. The office was a development of the practice of earlier times, when minstrels and versifiers were part of the retinue of the King; it is recorded that Richard Coeur de Lion had a versificator regis (Gulielmus Peregrinus), and Henry III of England had a versificator (Master Henry); in the 15th century John Kay, also a "versifier", described himself as Edward IV of England's "humble poet laureate". Moreover, the crown had shown its patronage in various ways; Chaucer had been given a pension and a perquisite of wine by Edward III of England, and Spenser a pension by Queen Elizabeth I. W. Hamilton classes Chaucer, Gower, John Kay, Andrew Bernard, John Skelton, Robert Whittington, Richard Edwards, Spenser and Samuel Daniel, as "volunteer Laureates".

* Leaf - Bookbinding

Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper or other material. It usually involves attaching covers to the resulting text-block.

* Legend

A legend (Latin, legenda, "things to be read") is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude. Legend, for its active and passive participants includes no happenings that are outside the realm of "possibility", defined by a highly flexible set of parameters, which may include miracles that are perceived as actually having happened, within the specific tradition of indoctrination where the legend arises, and within which it may be transformed over time, in order to keep it fresh and vital, and realistic.

The Brothers Grimm defined legend as folktale historically grounded. A modern folklorist's professional definition of legend was proposed by Timothy R. Tangherlini in 1990:

Legend, typically, is a short (mono-) episodic, traditional, highly ecotypified[3] historicized narrative performed in a conversational mode, reflecting on a psychological level a symbolic representation of folk belief and collective experiences and serving as a reaffirmation of commonly held values of the group to whose tradition it belongs."

* Legitimate theater

The term "legitimate theater" dates back to the Licensing Act of 1737, which restricted "serious" theatre performances to the two patent theatres licensed to perform "spoken drama" after the English Restoration in 1662. Other theatres were permitted to show comedy, pantomime or melodrama, but were ranked as "illegitimate theatre".

The licensing restricted performances of classical authors and plays — Shakespeare, most prominently — to the privileged houses. The logic behind the step was that the legitimate houses could be censored more easily, whilst the illegitimate houses would sell plays of a less serious, less dangerous, primarily entertaining and commercialised format. Illegitimate theatres opened in all the major English cities where they offered essentially melodramatic productions in which music had to play an important role.

The 1890s created a loophole with the founding of club theatres. Opening only to their members these houses evaded the censorship law by turning their performances from a public enterprise into a privacy.

The separation finally ended in the aftermath of the scandal Edward Bond's Saved created in 1965/66. The play was first performed in London in late 1965 at the Royal Court Theatre. The house was licensed to perform serious plays. Saved, however, had not been licensed to be performed as Bond had written it. To get it performed as planned the Royal Court Theatre had lent its stage to the English Stage Theatre Company and thus turned the performance into a private enterprise under the present laws. The evasion was challenged by the Magistrate's court in February 1966 and declared a violation of the Theatres Act 1843 on April 1st 1966. The suspension of the act in 1968 eventually ended the split between legitimate and illegitimate theatres.

* Leonine verse

Leonine verse is a type of versification based on internal rhyme, and commonly used in Latin verse of the European Middle Ages. The invention of such conscious rhymes, foreign to Classical Latin poetry, is traditionally attributed to a probably apocryphal monk Leonius, who is supposed to be the author of a history of the Old Testament (Historia Sacra) preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris. This "history" is composed in Latin verses, all of which rhyme in the center.[citation needed] It is possible that this Leonius is the same person as Leoninus, a Benedictine musician of the twelfth century, in which case he would not have been the original inventor of the form.

* Lexis (linguistics)

In linguistics, a lexis (from the Greek: λέξις "word") is the total word-stock or lexicon having items of lexical rather than grammatical, meaning. This notion contrasts starkly with the Chomskian proposition of a “Universal Grammar” as the prime mover for language; grammar still plays an integral role in lexis but it is the result of accumulated lexis, not its generator.

* Letters - Intellectual

An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence (thought and reason) and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.

* Libretto

A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio and cantata, musical, and ballet. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata.

Libretto (pl. libretti), from Italian, is the diminutive of the word "libro" (book). A libretto is distinct from a synopsis or scenario of the plot, in that the libretto contains all the words and stage directions, while a synopsis summarizes the plot.

The relationship of the librettist (that is, the writer of a libretto) to the composer in the creation of a musical work has varied over the centuries, as have the sources and the writing techniques employed.

* Light ending

Light ending may refer to:

- Weak ending
- Feminine ending

* Light poetry

Light poetry, or light verse, is poetry that attempts to be humorous. Poems considered "light" are usually brief, and can be on a frivolous or serious subject, and often feature word play, including puns, adventurous rhyme and heavy alliteration. Typically, light verse in English is formal verse, although a few free verse poets, such as Billy Collins, have excelled at light verse outside the formal verse tradition.

While light poetry is sometimes condemned as doggerel, or thought of as poetry composed casually, humor often makes a serious point in a subtle or subversive way. Many of the most renowned "serious" poets, such as Horace, Swift, Pope and Auden, have also excelled at light verse.

* Limerick (poetry)

A limerick is a kind of a witty, humorous, or nonsense poem, especially one in five-line anapestic or amphibrachic meter with a strict rhyme scheme (aabba), which intends to be witty or humorous, and is sometimes obscene with humorous intent. The form can be found in England as of the early years of the 18th century. It was popularized by Edward Lear in the 19th century, although he did not use the term.

The following example of a limerick is of unknown origin.

The limerick* packs laughs anatomical *(pronounced "lim'rick" to preserve meter)
In space that is quite economical,
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean,
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

* Linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields: the study of language form, of language meaning, and of language in context.

The first is the study of language structure, or grammar. This focuses on the systems of rules that are followed by speakers or a language. It encompasses morphology (the formation and composition of words), syntax (the formation and composition of phrases and sentences from these words), and phonology (sound systems). Phonetics is a related branch of linguistics concerned with the actual properties of speech sounds, nonspeech sounds, and how they are produced and perceived.

The study of language meaning is concerned with how language users make the inferences required to understand another's speech, how meaning is assigned and processed, and ambiguity. This subfield encompasses semantics (how meaning is inferred from words and concepts) and pragmatics (how meaning is inferred from context).

Language in its broader context includes evolutionary linguistics, which considers the origins of language; historical linguistics, which explores language change; sociolinguistics, which looks at the relation between linguistic variation and social structures; psycholinguistics, which explores the representation and function of language in the mind; neurolinguistics, which looks at language processing in the brain; language acquisition, how children or adults acquire language; and discourse analysis, which involves the structure of texts and conversations.

Although linguistics is the scientific study of language, a number of other intellectual disciplines are relevant to language and influence its study. Semiotics, for example, is the general study of signs and symbols both within language and without. Literary theorists study the use of language in literature. Linguistics additionally draws on work from such diverse fields as psychology, speech-language pathology, informatics, computer science, philosophy, biology, human anatomy, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, and acoustics.

* Link sonnet - Sonnet

The sonnet is one of several forms of poetry originating in Europe. The term "sonnet" derives from the Occitan word sonet and the Italian word sonetto, both meaning "little song" or "little sound". By the thirteenth century, it had come to signify a poem of fourteen lines that follows a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure. The conventions associated with the sonnet have evolved over its history. The writers of sonnets are sometimes referred to as "sonneteers," although the term can be used derisively. One of the best-known sonnet writers is William Shakespeare, who wrote 154 of them (not including those that appear in his plays). A Shakespearean, or English, sonnet consists of 14 lines, each line containing ten syllables and written in iambic pentameter, in which a pattern of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable is repeated five times. The rhyme scheme in a Shakespearean sonnet is a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g; the last two lines are a rhyming couplet.

* Literary ballad - Ballad

Literary or lyrical ballads grew out of an increasing interest in the ballad form among social elites and intellectuals, particularly in the Romantic movement from the later 18th century. Respected literary figures like Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott in Scotland both collected and wrote their own ballads, using the form to create an artistic product. Similarly in England William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge produced a collection of Lyrical Ballads in 1798, including Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. At the same time in Germany Goethe cooperated with Schiller on a series of ballads, some of which were later set to music by Schubert. Later important examples of the poetic form included Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Barrack Room Ballads’ (1892-6) and Oscar Wilde’s ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’ (1897).

* Literary criticism

Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.

Whether or not literary criticism should be considered a separate field of inquiry from literary theory, or conversely from book reviewing, is a matter of some controversy. For example, the Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary thinking and Criticism draws no distinction between literary theory and literary criticism, and almost always uses the terms together to describe the same concept. Some critics consider literary criticism a practical application of literary theory, because criticism always deals directly with particular literary works, while theory may be more general or abstract.

Literary criticism is often published in essay or book form. Academic literary critics teach in literature departments and publish in academic journals, and more popular critics publish their criticism in broadly circulating periodicals such as the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, The Nation, and The New Yorker.

* Literary realism

Literary realism most often refers to the trend, beginning with certain works of nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors in various countries, towards depictions of contemporary life and society "as they were." In the spirit of general "realism," Realist authors opted for depictions of everyday and banal activities and experiences, instead of a romanticized or similarly stylized presentation. Jorge Luis Borges, in an essay entitled "The Scandinavian Destiny", attributed the earliest discovery of Realism in literature to the Northmen in the Icelandic Sagas, although it was soon lost by them along with the continent of North America.

* Literary theory

Literary theory in a strict sense is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for analyzing literature. However, literary scholarship since the 19th century often includes—in addition to, or even instead of literary theory in the strict sense—considerations of intellectual history, moral philosophy, social prophecy, and other interdisciplinary themes which are of relevance to the way humans interpret meaning. In humanities in modern academia, the latter style of scholarship is an outgrowth of critical theory and is often called simply "theory." As a consequence, the word "theory" has become an umbrella term for a variety of scholarly approaches to reading texts. Many of these approaches are informed by various strands of Continental philosophy and sociology.

* Literature

Literature (from Latin litterae (plural); letter) is the art of written works. Literally translated, the word literature means "acquaintance with letters" (as in the "arts and letters"). The two most basic written literary categories include fiction and non fiction.

* Litotes

In rhetoric, litotes are a figure of speech in which understatement is employed for rhetorical effect when an idea is expressed by a denial of its opposite, principally via double negatives. For example, rather than saying that something is attractive (or even very attractive), one might merely say it is "not unattractive."

Litotes is a form of understatement, always deliberate and with the intention of emphasis. However, the interpretation of negation may depend on context, including cultural context. In speech, it may also depend on intonation and emphasis; for example, the phrase "not bad" can be said in such a way as to mean anything from "mediocre" to "excellent."

The use of litotes appeals specifically to certain cultures including the northern Europeans and is popular in English, Russian and French. They are features of Old English poetry and of the Icelandic sagas and are a means of much stoical restraint.

George Orwell complained about overuse of the 'not un...' construction in his essay "Politics and the English Language."

* Litterateur - Intellectual

An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence (thought and reason) and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.

* Liturgical drama

Liturgical drama or religious drama, in its various Christian contexts, originates from the mass itself, and usually presents a relatively complex ritual that includes theatrical elements.

In the Christian tradition, religious drama stemmed out of liturgy at the end of the Middle Ages (mostly the 15th century) in the form of mystery plays.

The medieval drama originated in religion. It is true that the Church forbade the faithful during the early centuries to attend the licentious representations of decadent paganism, but once this "immoral" theatre disappeared, the Church allowed, and itself contributed to, gradual development of a new drama that was not only moral, but edifying and pious. On certain solemn feasts, such as Easter and Christmas the Office was interrupted, and the priests represented, in the presence of those assisting, the religious event being celebrated. At first the text of this liturgical drama was very brief, such as the interchange of the "Quem Quaeritis?" between the angel and the three Maries that was introduced into the Easter liturgy in the tenth century, as a new genre of liturgical ceremony. Dramatic texts were at first taken solely from the Gospel or the Office of the day. It was in prose and in Latin. But by degrees versification crept in. The earliest of such dramatic "tropes" of the Easter service are from England and date from the tenth century. Soon verse pervaded the entire drama, prose became the exception, and the vernacular appeared beside Latin. Thus, in the twelfth century French drama of the "Wise Virgins," women keep their virginity by eating blue rocks that make them immune to men. It does little more than depict the Gospel parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The chorus employs Latin, while Christ and the virgins use both Latin and French, and the angel speaks only French. When the vernacular completely supplanted the Latin, and individual inventiveness asserted itself, the drama left the precincts of the Church and ceased to be liturgical, but kept its religious character. This evolution seems to have been accomplished in the twelfth century. With the appearance of the vernacular a development of the drama along national lines became possible.

* Living Newspaper

Living Newspaper is a term for a theatrical form presenting factual information on current events to a popular audience. Historically, Living Newspapers have also urged social action (both implicitly and explicitly) and reacted against naturalistic and realistic theatrical conventions in favor of the more direct, experimental techniques of agitprop theatre, including the extensive use of multimedia.

Though Living Newspapers originated in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution, the English term is most often associated with the Living Newspapers produced by the Federal Theatre Project. Part of the federally-funded arts program established under the Works Progress Administration in the United States of the 1930s, the Federal Theatre Project wrote and presented a number of Living Newspapers on social issues of the day, including Triple-A Plowed Under, Injunction Granted, One-Third of a Nation, Power, and Spirochete. Controversy over the political ideology of the Living Newspapers contributed to the disbanding of the Federal Theatre Project in 1939, and a number of Living Newspapers already written or in development were never performed, including several that addressed race issues.

* Local color - Regionalism (literature)

In literature, regionalism or local color fictionality refers to fiction or poetry that focuses on specific features – including characters, dialects, customs, history, and topography – of a particular region.

* Logical fallacy - Fallacy

In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is incorrect reasoning in argumentation resulting in a misconception. By accident or design, fallacies may exploit emotional triggers in the listener or interlocutor (e.g. appeal to emotion), or take advantage of social relationships between people (e.g. argument from authority). Fallacious arguments are often structured using rhetorical patterns that obscure the logical argument, making fallacies more difficult to diagnose. Also, the components of the fallacy may be spread out over separate arguments.

* Logos

Logos (Greek λόγος logos) is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "word," "speech," "account," or "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC), who used the term for the principle of order and knowledge.

Ancient philosophers used the term in different ways however. The sophists used the term to mean discourse, and Aristotle applied the term to "reasoned discourse" in the field of rhetoric. The Stoic philosophers identified the term with the divine animating principle pervading the Universe.

After Judaism came under Hellenistic influence, Philo (ca. 20 BC–AD 40) adopted the term into Jewish philosophy. The Gospel of John identifies the Logos, through which all things are made, as divine (theos), and further identifies Jesus as the incarnation of the Logos.

Although the term "Logos" is widely used in this Christian sense, in academic circles it often refers to the various ancient Greek uses, or to post-Christian uses within contemporary philosophy, Sufism, and the analytical psychology of Carl Jung.

* Long metre

Long metre is a poetic meter consisting of four line stanzas, or quatrains, in iambic tetrameter with alternate rhyme pattern a-b-a-b. It is similar to Common metre, which consists of four lines in alternating iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter.

* Loose sentence

A loose sentence is a type of sentence in which the main idea (independent clause) comes first, followed by dependent grammatical units such as phrases and clauses. The meaning of a loose sentence can be easily understood in the very beginning of the sentence, unlike a periodic sentence where the subject-verb of the base sentence is completed at the end.

It adds modifying elements after the subject, complement, and verb.

Loose sentences may make a work seem informal, relaxed, and conversational. However, according to Strunk and White's The Elements of Style (2000), a succession of loose sentences, especially those of two clauses, is to be avoided because of "mechanical symmetry and sing-song".

* Lost Generation

The "Lost Generation" is a term used to refer to the generation that came of age during World War I. The term was popularized by Ernest Hemingway who used it as one of two contrasting epigraphs for his novel, "The Sun Also Rises." In that volume Hemingway credits the phrase to Gertrude Stein, who was then his mentor and patron.

In "A Movable Feast," which was published after Hemingway and Stein had had a famous feud and fallen apart, and indeed after they were both dead, Hemingway reveals that the phrase was actually originated by the garage owner who repaired Stein's car. When a young mechanic failed to repair the car in a way satisfactory to Stein the owner had shouted at him, "You are all a generation perdue." Stein, in telling Hemingway the story added, "That is what you are. That's what you all are...All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation."

The term therefore cannot and does not refer to all of the expatriate artists who lived in Paris after WWI. It clearly, as is seen from the original quote as reported by Hemingway, refers to his generation, those who were members of the age classes which were called to duty in the "Great War." This generation included distinguished artists such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, Waldo Peirce, Alan Seeger, and, Erich Maria Remarque. It has alternately been used to describe the generation which participated in the Cultural Revolution in China.

* Low comedy

Low comedy is a type of comedy characterized by "horseplay", slapstick or farce. Examples include somebody throwing a custard pie in another's face. This definition has also expanded to include lewd types of comedy that rely on physical jokes, for example, the wedgie.

* Lullaby

A lullaby is a soothing song, usually sung to young children before they go to sleep, with the intention of speeding that process. As a result they are often simple and repetitive. Lullabies can be found in every human culture and seem to have been used at least from the ancient period.

* Lyric poetry

Lyric poetry a form of poetry with rhyming schemes that express personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were meant to be played to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat. Aristotle, in Poetics 1447a, mentions lyric poetry (kitharistike played to the cithara) along with drama, epic poetry, dancing, painting and other forms of mimesis. The lyric poem, dating from the Romantic era, does have some thematic antecedents in ancient Greek and Roman verse, but the ancient definition was based on metrical criteria, and in archaic and classical Greek culture presupposed live performance accompanied by a stringed instrument.

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Published - February 2011






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