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Literary Terms Glossary
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_literary_terms






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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.

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* Narrative mode

The narrative mode (also known as the mode of narration) is the set of methods the author of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical story uses to convey the plot to the audience. Narration, the process of presenting the narrative, occurs because of the narrative mode. It encompasses several overlapping areas of concern, most importantly narrative point-of-view, which determines through whose perspective the story is viewed; narrative voice, which determines the manner through which the story is communicated to the author to be the same person. However, the narrator may be a fictive person devised by the author as a stand-alone entity, or even a character. The narrator is considered participant if an actual character in the story, and nonparticipant if only an implied character, or a sort of omniscient or semi-omniscient being who does not take part in the story but only relates it to the audience.

Ability to use the different points of view is one measure of a person's writing skill. The writing mark schemes used for National Curriculum assessments in England reflect this: they encourage the awarding of marks for the use of viewpoint as part of a wider judgment.

The narrative mode encompasses not only who tells the story, but also how the story is described or expressed (for example, by using stream of consciousness or unreliable narration).

* Narrator

A narrator is, within any story (literary work, movie, play, verbal account, etc.), the person who tells the story to the audience. When the narrator is also a character within the story, he or she is sometimes known as the viewpoint character. The narrator (or the female equivalent, narratress) is one of three entities responsible for story-telling of any kind. The others are the author and the audience; the latter called the "reader" when referring specifically to literature.

The author and the audience both inhabit the real world. It is the author's function to create the universe, people, and events within the story. It is the audience's function to understand and interpret the story. The narrator only exists within the world of the story (and only there—although in non-fiction the narrator and the author can share the same persona, since the real world and the world of the story may be the same) and present it in a way the audience can comprehend.

A narrator may tell the story from his own point of view (as a fictive entity) or from the point of view of one of the characters in the story. The act or process of telling the particulars of a story is referred to as narration. Along with exposition, argumentation, and description, narration (broadly defined) is one of four rhetorical modes of discourse. More narrowly defined, narration is the fiction-writing mode whereby the narrator communicates directly to the reader.

The concept of the unreliable narrator (as opposed to "author") became more prominent with the rise of the novel in the 18th century. Until the late 19th century, literary criticism as an academic exercise dealt solely with poetry (including epic poems like the Iliad and Paradise Lost, and poetic drama like Shakespeare). Most poems did not have a narrator distinct from the author. But novels, with their immersive[peacock term] fictional worlds, created a problem, especially when the narrator's views differed significantly from that of the author.

* Naturalism (literature)

Naturalism was a literary movement taking place from 1880s to 1940s that used detailed realism to suggest that social conditions, heredity, and environment had inescapable force in shaping human character. It was depicted as a literary movement that seeks to replicate a believable everyday reality, as opposed to such movements as Romanticism or Surrealism, in which subjects may receive highly symbolic, idealistic, or even supernatural treatment. Naturalism is the outgrowth of literary realism, a prominent literary movement in mid-19th-century France and elsewhere. Naturalistic writers were influenced by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. They believed that one's heredity and social environment determine one's character. Whereas realism seeks only to describe subjects as they really are, naturalism also attempts to determine "scientifically" the underlying forces (e.g. the environment or heredity) influencing the actions of its subjects. Naturalistic works often include uncouth or sordid subject matter; for example, Émile Zola's works had a frankness about sexuality along with a pervasive pessimism. Naturalistic works exposed the dark harshness of life, including poverty, racism, sex, violence, prejudice, disease, corruption, prostitution, and filth. As a result, naturalistic writers were frequently criticized for being too blunt.

* Neologism

A neologism (Greek νέο-, néo-, "new", and λόγος, lógos, "speech", "utterance") is a newly coined term, word or phrase, that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event. Neolexia (Greek: a "new word", or the act of creating a new word) is a fully equivalent term.

The term neologism is first attested in English in 1772, borrowed from French néologisme (1734).

In psychiatry, the term neologism is used to describe the use of words that only have meaning to the person who uses them, independent of their common meaning. This is considered normal in children, but a symptom of thought disorder (indicative of a psychotic mental illness, such as schizophrenia) in adults. People with autism also may create neologisms. In addition, use of neologisms may be related to aphasia acquired after brain damage resulting from a stroke or head injury.

In theology, a neologism is a relatively new doctrine (for example, rationalism). In this sense, a neologist is one who proposes either a new doctrine or a new interpretation of source material such as religious texts.

* Non-fiction

Non-fiction or nonfiction is an account, narrative, or representation of a subject which an author presents as fact. This presentation may be accurate or not; that is, it can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question. However, it is generally assumed that the authors of such accounts believe them to be truthful at the time of their composition. Note that reporting the beliefs of others in a non-fiction format is not necessarily an endorsement of the ultimate veracity of those beliefs, it is simply saying that it is true that people believe that (for such topics as mythology, religion). Non-fiction can also be written about fiction, giving information about these other works.

Non-fiction is one of the two main divisions in writing, particularly used in libraries, the other being fiction. However, non-fiction need not be written text necessarily, since pictures and film can also purport to present a factual account of a subject.

* Non-fiction novel

The non-fiction novel or faction is a literary genre which, broadly speaking, depicts real events narrated with techniques of fiction. The non-fiction novel is an otherwise loosely-defined and flexible genre.

* Novel

A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century.

Further definition of the genre is historically difficult. The construction of the narrative, the plot, the way reality is created in the works of fiction, the fascination of the character study, and the use of language are usually discussed to show a novel's artistic merits. Most of these requirements were introduced in the 16th and 17th centuries in order to give fiction a justification outside the field of factual history. The individualism of the presentation makes the personal memoir and the autobiography the two closest relatives among the genres of modern histories.

* Novelette

A novelette (or, rarely, novelet) is a piece of short prose fiction. The distinction between a novelette and other literary forms, like a novella, is usually based upon word count. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula awards for science fiction define the novelette as having a word count of between 7,500 and 17,499, inclusive.

The terms novelette and novelettish can also be derogatory, suggesting fiction which is "trite, feeble or sentimental".

The word was used by the composer Robert Schumann as a title for some piano pieces, a choice that reflected his literary background and interests. The music in question (op. 21, and op. 99 no. 9) is episodic, however, and does not especially resemble a narrative. He was followed by Niels Gade, Theodor Kirchner, Stephen Heller and much later by Poulenc, Lutosławski ("Novelette for Orchestra"), Chaminade, Tcherepnin, and George Gershwin ("Novelette in Fourths").

Jesse Lee Kercheval believes that the term novelette is an alternative term for the novella, which "enjoyed a vogue".

* Novella

A novella (also called a short novel) is a written, fictional, prose narrative longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000. Other definitions start as low as 10,000 words and run as high as 70,000 words.

The novella is a common literary genre in several European languages. English language novellas include Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, Herman Melville's Billy Budd, George Orwell's Animal Farm, Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's, Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Jack Kerouac's The Subterraneans.

The English word "novella" is derived from the Italian word "novella", feminine of "novello" which means new.

* Narrative poetry

Narrative poetry is poetry that has a plot. The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be simple or complex. It is usually nondramatic, with objective regular scheme and meter. Narrative poems include epics, ballads, idylls and lays.

Some narrative poetry takes the form of a novel in verse. An example of this is The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning. In terms of narrative poetry, a romance is a narrative poem that tells a story of chivalry. Examples include the Romance of the Rose or Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Although these examples use medieval and Arthurian materials, romances may also tell stories from classical mythology.

Shorter narrative poems are often similar in style to the short story. Sometimes these short narratives are collected into interrelated groups, as with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Some literatures contain prose narratives that include poems and poetic interludes; much Old Irish poetry is contained within prose narratives, and the Old Norse sagas include both incidental poetry and the biographies of poets. An example is "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service.

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Published - February 2011






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