The Literary World

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21 min
Essential Vocabulary for the GRE - The Literary World

Essential Vocabulary for the GRE
novellanoun

a work of fiction with an intermediate length, which could be considered a short novel

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epicnoun

a long poem in narrative form giving an account of the extraordinary deeds and adventures of a nation's heroes or legends

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chroniclenoun

*** a work of fiction or nonfiction that describes a particular series of events

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odenoun

a lyric poem, written in varied or irregular metrical form, for a particular object, person, or concept

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parodynoun

a piece of writing, music, etc. that imitates the style of someone else in a humorous way

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fablenoun

a short story on morality with animal characters

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parablenoun

a short fictitious story with a moral or spiritual lesson, especially one told by Jesus Christ in the Gospels

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haikunoun

a Japanese poem with three unrhymed lines that have five, seven and five syllables each

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epigramnoun

a short poem or phrase that expresses a single thought satirically, often ending in a clever or humorous way

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saganoun

a long story of heroic actions and bravery in old Norse or Icelandic in the Middle Ages, or a modern narrative resembling such a narrative

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epigraphnoun

a short quotation or phrase that is written at the beginning of a book or any chapter of it, suggesting the theme

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limericknoun

a humorous poem of five anapestic lines with a rhyme scheme of aabba

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lyricismnoun

the creative and imaginative expression of powerful feelings in art, poetry, music, etc.

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prosenoun

spoken or written language in its usual form, in contrast to poetry

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oeuvrenoun

the collection of artistic or literary works produced by a particular painter, author, etc.

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motifnoun

a subject, idea, or phrase that is repeatedly used in a literary work or musical composition

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characterizationnoun

the way in which characters in a movie, book, etc. are created and represented by a writer

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antagonistnoun

someone who strongly opposes another person or thing

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protagonistnoun

the main character in a movie, novel, TV show, etc.

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to abridgeverb

to make a book, play, etc. short by omitting the details and including the main parts

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to depictverb

to describe or portray someone or something in words

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addendumnoun

a section of additional material that is usually added at the end of a book

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forewordnoun

a short introductory section at the beginning of a book, usually written by someone other than the author

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afterwordnoun

a part at the end of a book including some final words that may not be written by the author

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stanzanoun

a series of lines in a poem, usually with recurring rhyme scheme and meter

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versenoun

a set of words that usually have a rhythmic pattern

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sonnetnoun

a verse of Italian origin that has 14 lines, usually in an iambic pentameter and a prescribed rhyme scheme

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grippingadjective

exciting and intriguing in a way that attracts someone's attention

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conciseadjective

giving a lot of information briefly and clearly

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canonicaladjective

(of an author or literary work) accepted as highly acclaimed authors or pieces of literature, which are collectively referred to as the literary canon

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floweryadjective

(of writing or speech) full of literary or complicated words and phrases

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manneredadjective

behaving in an artificial way that is too formal, trying to impress others

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raunchyadjective

sexually explicit or morally obscene

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highbrowadjective

scholarly and highly interested in cultural or artistic matters

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sequelnoun

a book, movie, play, etc. that continues and extends the story of an earlier one

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codexnoun

an ancient book, written by hand, especially of scriptures, classics, etc.

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ghostwriternoun

an author whose work is published under someone else's name

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humoristnoun

someone who is known for writing or telling humorous stories or jokes about real people and events

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tragediannoun

a playwright who writes tragedies

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man of lettersnoun

a male literary author or scholar

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satiristnoun

a person who writes or uses satires in order to criticize or humor someone or something

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