- Active movement to end slavery in the
North before the Civil War in the 1860s.
- An implied or indirect reference in a
text to another text.
- Artistic and literary rebellion against
established society of the 1950s and early 1960s, associated with
Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and others. "Beat" suggests
holiness ("beatification") and suffering ("beaten down").
- Boston Brahmins
- Influential and respected
New England writers who maintained the "genteel tradition"of
upper- class values.
- Strict theological doctrine of the French
Protestant church reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) and the basis
of Puritan society. Calvin held that all humans were born sinful
and only God s grace (not the church) could save a person from
- Captivity narrative
- Account of capture by Native
American tribes, such as those created by writers Mary Rowlandson
and John Williams in colonial times.
- Character writing
- Popular 17th- and 18th-century
literary sketch of a character who represents a group or type.
- Civil War
- The war (1861-1865) between the northern
states, which remained in the Union, and the southern states,
which seceded and formed the Confederacy. The victory of the
North ended slavery and preserved the Union.
- Extended metaphor. Term used to describe
Renaissance metaphysical poetry in England and colonial poetry,
such as that of Anne Bradstreet, in colonial America.
- Late 19th- and early 20th-century
artists and writers, chiefly British and French, involved with
"turn of century" ideas of endings, decay, and artificiality.
- Controversial mode of textual
that can reveal hidden ideological assumptions. Questions
hierarchical thinking in which one term is privileged over
another (e.g. culture versus nature, man versus woman). Draws on
thought of French theorist Jacques Derrida, who elaborated on
linguist Ferdinand de Saussure s vision of language as a system
- An 18th-century Enlightenment religion
emphasizing reason, not miracles; partly a reaction against
Calvinism and religious superstition.
- A Puritan doctrine in which God "elects,"
chooses, the individuals who will enter heaven according to His
- Omission from a text of one or more words
are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a
construction gramatically correct.
- An 18th-century movement that focused
the ideals of good sense, benevolence, and a belief in liberty,
justice, and equality as the natural rights of man.
- A philosophical movement embracing
view that the suffering individual must create meaning in an
unknowable, chaotic, and seemingly empty universe.
- Post-World War I artistic movement,
German origin, that distorted appearances to communicate inner
- Literary character who sells his soul to the
devil in order to become all-knowing, or godlike; protagonist of
plays by English Renaissance dramatist Christopher Marlowe
(1564-1593) and German Romantic writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- The view, articulated in the 19th century,
that women are inherently equal to men and deserve equal rights
and opportunities. More recently, a social and political
movement that took hold in the United States in the late 1960s,
soon spreading globally.
- A category of literary forms (novel, lyric
epic, for example).
- Hartford Wits
- Patriotic but conservative late
18th-century literary circle centered at Yale College in
Connecticut (also known as the Connecticut Wits).
- A mock-heroic satire by English writer
Butler (1612-1680). Hudibras was imitated by early
- Concrete representation of an object, or
- A group of mainly American poets,
Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell, who used sharp visual images and
colloquial speech; active from 1912 to 1914.
- A meaning (often contradictory) concealed
the apparent meaning of a word or phrase.
- Knickerbocker School
- New York City-based writers of
early 1800s who imitated English and European literary fashions.
"Light" literature - Popular literature written for
- McCarthy era
- The period of the Cold War (late 1940s
early 1950s) during which U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy pursued
American citizens whom he and his followers suspected of being
members or former members of, or sympathizers with, the Communist
party. His efforts included the creation of "blacklists" in
various professions -- rosters of people who were excluded from
working in those jobs. McCarthy ultimately was denounced by his
- Metaphysical poetry
- Intricate type of 17th-century
English poetry employing wit and unexpected images.
- Middle Colonies
- Present-day Atlantic or eastern
states -- colonial New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and
sometimes Delaware -- known for commercial activities centering
on New York City and Philadelphia.
- The central area of the United States, from
Ohio River to the Rocky Mountains, including the Prairie and
Great Plains regions (also known as the Middle West).
- Seventeenth-century Puritan belief
Jesus Christ would return to Earth and inaugurate 1,000 years of
peace and prosperity, as prophesied in the New Testament.
- A parody using epic form (also known as
- International cultural movement after
War I expressing disillusionment with tradition and interest in
new technologies and visions.
- A recurring element, such as an image, theme,
type of incident.
- American journalists and novelists
(1900-1912) whose spotlight on corruption in business and
government led to social reform.
- The creative interchange of numerous
ethnic and racial subcultures.
- Legendary narrative, usually of gods and
or a theme that expresses the ideology of a culture.
- Late 19th- and early 20th-century
approach of French origin that vividly depicted social problems
and viewed human beings as helpless victims of larger social and
- An 18th-century artistic movement,
associated with the Enlightenment, drawing on classical models
and emphasizing reason, harmony, and restraint.
- New England
- The region of the United States
present- day Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, and Connecticut and noted for its early industrialization
and intellectual life. Traditionally, home of the shrewd,
independent, thrifty "Yankee" trader.
- Mid-20th-century poetic movement,
associated with William Carlos Williams, stressing images and
- Old Norse
- The ancient Norwegian language of the
virtually identical to modern Icelandic.
- Oral tradition
- Transmission by word of mouth;
passed down through generations; verbal folk tradition.
- Plains Region
- The middle region of the United
that slopes eastward from the Rocky Mountains to the Prairie.
- Media-influenced aesthetic
of the late 20th century characterized by open-endedness and
collage. Post-modernism questions the foundations of cultural and
artistic forms through self-referential irony and the
juxtaposition of elements from popular culture and electronic
- The level, unforested farm region of the
midwestern United States.
- Belief that nature provides truer and
healthful models than does culture. An example is the myth of the
- God s will, as expressed through events
Earth. Fate is seen as revelation.
- English religious and political reformers
fled their native land in search of religious freedom, and
settled and colonized New England in the 17th century.
- A northern European political and
movement of the 15th through 17th centuries that attempted to
reform Catholicism; eventually gave rise to Protestantism.
- Self-referential. A literary work is
reflexive when it refers to itself.
- Regional writing
- Writing that explores the customs
landscape of a region of the United States.
- Revolutionary War
- The War of Independence,
fought by the American colonies against Great Britain.
- Emotionally heightened, symbolic American
novels associated with the Romantic period.
- A reaction against neoclassicism. This
early 19th- century movement elevated the individual, the
passions, and the inner life. It stressed strong emotion,
imagination, freedom from classical correctness in art forms, and
rebellion against social conventions.
- An ancient Scandinavian narrative of
- Salem Witch Trials
- Proceedings for alleged
held in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Nineteen persons were
hanged and numerous others were intimidated into confessing or
accusing others of witchcraft.
- Self-help book
- Book telling readers how to improve
their lives through their own efforts. A popular American genre
from the mid- 19th century to the present.
- A strict Puritan sect of the 16th and
17th centuries that preferred to separate from the Church of
England rather than reform. Many of those who first settled
America were separatists.
- Slave narrative
- First black literary prose genre in
United States; accounts of life of African-Americans under
- Region of the United States including
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky,
Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas,
Florida, West Virginia, and eastern Texas.
- European literary and artistic movement
uses illogical, dreamlike images and events to suggest the
- Syllabic versification
- Poetic meter based on the
of syllables in a line.
- Blending of two senses, used by Edgar
Poe and others to suggest hidden correspondences and create
- Tall tale
- A humorous, exaggerated story common on
American frontier, often focusing on cases of superhuman
- Abstract idea embodied in a literary work.
- Wealthy pro-English faction in America at the
of the Revolutionary War in the late 1700s.
- A broad, philosophical movement
New England during the Romantic era (peaking between 1835 and
1845). It stressed the role of divinity in nature and the
individual s intuition, and exalted feeling over reason.
- Cunning character of tribal folk
(particularly those of African-Americans and Native Americans)
who breaks cultural codes of behavior; often a culture hero.
- Vision song
- Poetic song which members of some
American tribes created when purifying themselves through
solitary fasting and meditation.
Outline of American Literature: