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literary terminology—A glossary of literary terms

Welcome to The Muse Of Literature's pages on literary terminology. This is where The Muse defines words and concepts used in discussions and written works about literature and literary works.


Look up terms in the muse's literary glossary

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about literary terminology

A terminology is a system of terms belonging to a science, art, or specialized subject; it is the nomenclature of that subject. A literary terminology is the system of terms that belong to the technique and practice of reading and writing literature.

A literary vocabulary—a related term—is the stock of words or phrases that express the concepts and objects belonging to the vocabulary of literature. One uses these terms to describe and talk about literature. A familiarity with literary terminology and its vocabulary is essential for anyone who would understand and appreciate writing or reading.

A glossary a list of terms in a special subject, field or area of usage, with accompanying definitions. A literary glossary is a list of literary terms and their definitions.

 the glossary of literary terms

The Muse Of Literature is pleased to be able to offer you an automated literary glossary containing a large number of definitions of a variety of different kinds of literary terms. The terms in this glossary all belong to the vocabulary of literature.

These definitions are arranged in the form of an automated table. Each entry (row) in the table provides a definition of a single term. Columns in a row contain the name of the term, its definition, an example, and an indication of the term's literary type or role. For example:

The term adventure fiction is defined as a novel or short story in which exciting events are the most important aspect, rather than character development or theme. An example of adventure fiction is The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas. The type of term is literary genre; that is, The Three Musketeers is an example of the literary genre known as adventure fiction.

A variety of different types of words are included in the glossary. Among them are literary genres (particular kinds of themes and subjects), literary periods (eras), and literary forms (novels, short stories, etc.). For example, The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser is an example of an allegory, which is a literary form; the line Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers from Mother Goose is an example of a kind of rhyme called alliteration.

With the aid of the table's automated facilities, you can conveniently search entries for occurrences of text strings that represent and express your interests. For example, entering the text allegory in the SEARCH box will produce a list of all literary terms and definitions in the Glossary that are related to the term allegory. The list of literary terms produced in this manner may be sorted and otherwise arranged for presentation on the monitor screen or for printing.

  • Look up terms in the Glossary Of Musical Terms now: click here.

about compiling this handy literary glossary

With this glossary, The Muse Of Literature's goal is to provide visitors with a handy, quick, easy way to look up the meanings of literary terms they are likely to encounter in general and miscellaneous activities, on pages at Electricka's web site, or on pages at other web sites. The Muse offers this quick and easy path because a reference that's handy is more likely to be of help in developing an understanding and appreciation of literature and in growing a personal vocabulary of literary terms than a tome would be.


ETAF Recommends

If you are a visitor who needs an in-depth definition of literary terms, you may wish to consult a text book, reference book, scholarly work, or web site specializing in literary terminology. Of course, the public library or a school library are good places to find such works.

For those inclined to acquire works or other works that treat literary terminology in depth, The Muse Of Literature will provide citations to relevant reference works found in the ETAF-Amazon Association.



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