Some Literary Terms Coined by Writers in Literature

This post provides a list of some basic terms coined by writers in literature and their respective creators or originators. These terms are important for understanding literary theory and criticism.

  1. Objective Correlative by T.S. Eliot - A literary device used to express emotions or ideas through a set of objects, situations, or events that serve as a symbolic representation of those emotions or ideas.
  2. Dissociation of Sensibility by T.S. Eliot - A concept describing the separation of thought and feeling in the literature that occurred during the 17th century.
  3. Willing Suspension of Disbelief by Coleridge - The reader's willingness to accept the implausible or supernatural events in a work of fiction as being possible, in order to fully engage with the story.
  4. Negative Capability by Keats - The ability of a writer to embrace ambiguity and uncertainty, and to accept the limitations of human understanding.
  5. American Renaissance by F.O. Matthiessen - A period of American literature in the mid-19th century characterized by a surge in literary output and the emergence of a distinctly American literary voice.
  6. Natyashastra by Bharata - An ancient Indian text that provides guidelines for theatrical performances, including acting, music, and dance.
  7. Rasa concept by Bharata - A concept in Indian aesthetics that refers to the emotional impact or mood evoked in the audience by a work of art, particularly in theatrical performances.
  8. Kavya Prakasha by Mamata - An Indian treatise on poetics that outlines the principles of Sanskrit poetry.
  9. Dhvanyaloka or Suggestion by Anandvardhana - An Indian literary theory that emphasizes the power of suggestion in poetry and other forms of literature.
  10. Vakrokti by Kuntaka - An Indian literary theory that emphasizes the use of figurative language and indirect expression in poetry.
  11. Riti, Guna, Kavyalankara by Vaman - Concepts in Indian poetics that refer to style, virtues, and literary ornaments, respectively.
  12. Positivism by August Compte - A philosophical approach that emphasizes the scientific method and the empirical observation of the natural world.
  13. Romantic by Friedrich Schlegel - A literary and artistic movement that emerged in Europe in the late 18th century, characterized by an emphasis on emotion, individualism, and the sublime.
  14. Metaphysical Poets by Dr. Johnson - A group of 17th-century poets in England who used complex metaphysical conceits and unconventional themes in their poetry.
  15. Upstart Crow by Robert Green - A phrase used by Robert Greene to describe William Shakespeare, suggesting that he was an uneducated and unqualified actor who had no business writing plays.
  16. Cultural Materialism by Raymond Williams - A literary theory that examines the relationship between literature and the social, economic, and historical contexts in which it was produced.
  17. Imagism by T.E. Hume - A poetic movement that emerged in the early 20th century, characterized by the use of precise, concrete images and a rejection of traditional poetic forms.
  18. Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson - A book that explores the concept of nationalism and the role of literature and media in the formation of national identity.
  19. The Horizon of Expectation by H.R. Jauss - A literary theory that examines the ways in which readers' expectations and assumptions influence their interpretation of literature.
  20. Strategic Essentialism by Gayatri Spivak - A concept in postcolonial theory that suggests that marginalized groups may strategically essentialize their identity in order to gain political power.
  21. Utilitarianism by J.S. Mill - A philosophical theory that holds that actions are morally right if they maximize happiness and minimize suffering.
  22. Incunabula means Books published before 1501 - A term used to describe books printed in Europe before the year 1501.
  23. Tension by Allen Tate: A concept in the literature referring to the balance between opposing forces or ideas in a work of literature.
  24. Strong Lined Poetry by G.M. Hopkins: A style of poetry developed by Gerard Manley Hopkins characterized by the use of sprung rhythm and a reliance on a strong, musical cadence.
  25. Dictum 'Life Imitates Art' by John Ruskin: A statement made by John Ruskin suggesting that art has a powerful influence on society and can shape the way people live their lives.
  26. Theatre of Cruelty by Jerzy: A style of avant-garde theater developed by Jerzy Grotowski that emphasizes physical and emotional intensity and seeks to break down the barriers between actor and audience.
  27. Epic Theatre by Bertold Bretch: A style of theater developed by Bertolt Brecht that aims to distance the audience emotionally from the characters and events onstage in order to encourage critical thinking about the issues raised.
  28. Theatre of Oppressed by Augusto Bal: A type of theater developed by Augusto Boal that aims to empower marginalized groups and promote social and political change through interactive, participatory performances.
  29. Expressionist Theatre by George Kaiser: A style of theater characterized by a heightened, exaggerated portrayal of emotions and a rejection of realism.
  30. The Gilded Age by Mark Twain: A term coined by Mark Twain to describe the period of rapid economic growth and ostentatious display of wealth in the United States during the late 19th century.
  31. Ambiguity by William Empson: The presence of multiple possible meanings or interpretations in a work of literature.
  32. Intertextuality by Julia Kristeva: A concept in literary theory that emphasizes the ways in which a text is influenced by and in conversation with other texts.
  33. Heteroglossia by M. Bakhtin: A term coined by Mikhail Bakhtin to describe the presence of multiple, competing discourses or voices in a work of literature.
  34. Dialogic Imagination by M. Bakhtin: A concept developed by Mikhail Bakhtin that emphasizes the role of dialogue and interaction in the creation of meaning in literature.
  35. Sublime by Longinus: A term used in aesthetics to describe the experience of overwhelming greatness or grandeur, often associated with nature or divine power.
  36. Carnivalesque by M. Bakhtin: A term coined by Mikhail Bakhtin to describe a literary style characterized by humor, parody, and a subversion of social hierarchies.
  37. Jacobian Novel by Garry Kelly: A term used to describe the literature of the reign of King James I of England (1603-1625), characterized by its focus on political and social upheaval and its interest in psychology and morality.
  38. Surrealism by Andre Breton: An artistic and literary movement that began in the early 20th century and emphasized the irrational and unconscious aspects of the human mind.
  39. Decorum by Horace: A term used in classical rhetoric to describe the use of language appropriate to a given subject, audience, and context.
  40. The wasp of Twickenham by Pope: A nickname for the 18th-century English poet Alexander Pope, referencing his caustic wit and satirical writing style.
  41. Theory of Avant-Garde by Peter Berger: This theory discusses how the Avant-Garde, a group of artists who create new and experimental works, can challenge and transform society's values.
  42. Chaucer of Scotland is William Dunbar: William Dunbar was a Scottish poet who lived in the 15th and 16th centuries and was compared to the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer due to his use of vernacular language and satirical tone.
  43. Poetic Justice by Rhymer: Poetic justice is a literary device where virtue is rewarded and vice is punished in a work of literature. The Scottish poet, Rhymer, was known for his use of this device in his poetry.
  44. Touchstone method by M. Arnold: The Touchstone method, named after the Shakespearean character Touchstone, is a method of literary criticism developed by Matthew Arnold. It involves using a few select works as a benchmark for evaluating other works.
  45. Pathetic Fallacy by John Ruskin: Pathetic fallacy is a literary device where nature is given human emotions and characteristics. John Ruskin was a British writer and art critic who first used the term in his work "Modern Painters."
  46. Theory of Population by Malthus: The theory of population, proposed by economist Thomas Malthus, argues that population growth will eventually outstrip resources, leading to famine, disease, and war.
  47. Provincialising Europe by Dipesh Chakravarthy: Provincialising Europe is a concept developed by Dipesh Chakravarthy, which critiques Western-centric views of history and seeks to decenter Europe in discussions of global history.
  48. Egotistical Sublime is to William Wordsworth: The egotistical sublime is a concept coined by William Wordsworth to describe a feeling of awe and transcendence experienced by the individual, often through nature.
  49. Young Juvenile is Thomas Nash: Thomas Nash was an Elizabethan writer and pamphleteer who was known for his satirical works and was nicknamed the "Young Juvenal" after the Roman poet Juvenal.
  50. Macabre element by John Webster: The macabre element refers to the use of gruesome or unsettling themes and images in literature. John Webster was a Jacobean playwright known for his use of this element in his plays.
  51. Sprung Rhythm and Curtal Sonnet and Inscape and Instress are by G.M. Hopkins: Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Victorian poet who coined several terms, including "sprung rhythm" (a poetic meter) and "curtal sonnet" (a shortened form of the sonnet). He also wrote about "inscape" (the unique essence of an object) and "instress" (the force that allows the viewer to perceive the inscape).
  52. Life Force by G.B. Shaw: The life force is a concept used by George Bernard Shaw to describe the vital energy that drives all living things.
  53. Light of Asia is Admin Arnold: "The Light of Asia" is a long narrative poem by Sir Edwin Arnold, which tells the story of the life of the Buddha.
  54. Only Connect by E.M. Forster: "Only connect" is a famous quote from E.M. Forster's novel "Howards End" which emphasizes the importance of human connection and empathy.
  55. Sports of Time by W. Wordsworth: "The Sports of Time" is a phrase used by William Wordsworth to describe the changes and transformations that occur over time.
  56. Orientalism by E. Said: Orientalism is a term coined by Edward Said to describe the Western tradition of representing and stereotyping the cultures of the Middle East and Asia.
  57. Competency and Performance by N. Chomsky: Competency refers to the knowledge a speaker has of their language system, while performance refers to how that knowledge is applied when speaking.
  58. Readerly and Writerly Text by R. Barthes: A readerly text is one that is easily comprehensible and follows conventional literary conventions, while a writerly text is one that challenges these conventions and invites the reader to participate in creating meaning.
  59. Ironic and Indexical by C.S. Pierce: Pierce used the term "ironic" to describe language that intentionally conveys a different meaning than its literal definition, while "indexical" refers to language that points directly to its referent.
  60. Habitus by Julia Kristeva: Habitus refers to the set of socially learned habits, behaviors, and dispositions that shape an individual's actions and perceptions within a given culture.
  61. Flaneur by Walter Benjamin: The flaneur is a figure in literature and culture who is an urban stroller, a detached observer of modern life who wanders the streets and observes the crowds.
  62. Chora by J. Kristeva: Kristeva used the term "chora" to describe a pre-symbolic, bodily realm that lies outside of language and rational thought.
  63. Simulacrum or Simulacra by Jean Baudrillard: A simulacrum is a copy or imitation of something that has lost its original meaning or value and has become divorced from reality.
  64. Subaltern by G. Spivak: A subaltern is a person or group of people who are socially, politically, and economically marginalized or oppressed by those in power.
  65. Metahistory by Hayden White: Metahistory is a term used to describe the study of historical writing itself, and how it is shaped by the values, beliefs, and ideologies of the historian.
  66. Polyphony by M. Bakhtin: Polyphony refers to the presence of multiple voices and perspectives in a literary or cultural work, where no one perspective is privileged.
  67. Hegemony by Antonio Gramsci: Hegemony refers to the cultural and intellectual domination of one group over another, where the dominant group's values and beliefs are accepted as the norm.
  68. Theoretician of Sociability is Malcolm Bradbury: Malcolm Bradbury was a British novelist, critic, and academic who wrote extensively about the social and cultural dynamics of modern life.
  69. New Historicism by Greenblatt: New Historicism is a critical approach to literature that focuses on the historical context and cultural influences that shape literary works, emphasizing the interconnectedness of literature and society.
  70. Womanism by Alice Walker: Womanism is a social theory that highlights the experiences and perspectives of Black women and their struggles against social, economic, and political oppression. It is different from feminism, which focuses more on gender equality and the experiences of white women.

  71. Third Space by Edward Doha: Third Space is a concept in cultural studies that describes the meeting point of different cultures, languages, and identities. It is a space of hybridity and intercultural exchange, where new meanings and identities can emerge.

  72. Hybridity by Homi Bhabha: Hybridity is a concept that describes the mixing of cultures and identities, resulting in the emergence of new cultural forms and practices. It is often used in postcolonial studies to describe the complex and dynamic interactions between colonizers and colonized peoples.

  73. Reception Aesthetics by Wolfgang Iser: Reception aesthetics is a theory of literary criticism that focuses on the relationship between the reader and the text. It emphasizes the active role of the reader in interpreting and constructing meaning from the text, rather than simply receiving meaning from the author.

  74. Langue and Parole by Ferdinand Saussure: Langue and Parole are concepts in linguistics that describe the difference between the underlying structure of language and its actual use in communication. Langue refers to the abstract system of language that is shared by all speakers of a language, while Parole refers to the individual instances of language use by speakers.

  75. Interlanguage by M.A.K. Halliday: Interlanguage is a term used in second language acquisition to describe the language system that learners develop as they acquire a second language. It is influenced by the learner's first language, as well as the target language they are trying to learn.

  76. Difference and Deference by Derrida: Difference and deference are concepts in deconstruction theory that describe the ways in which meaning is created and subverted in language. Difference refers to the way in which language creates meaning through oppositions and contrasts, while deference refers to the way in which meaning is always deferred or postponed.

  77. Signs by Saussure: Signs are the basic units of language that combine to create meaning. They are composed of a signifier, which is the physical form of the sign, and a signified, which is the concept or meaning that the sign represents.

  78. Stock Responses by I.A. Richards: Stock responses are automatic, habitual, or preprogrammed responses to certain stimuli. In literary criticism, they refer to the predictable or formulaic reactions that readers may have to certain types of texts or genres.

  79. Deep Structure by N. Chomsky: Deep structure is a concept in generative grammar that describes the underlying syntactic structure of sentences, regardless of their surface form. It is contrasted with surface structure, which refers to the actual order and arrangement of words in a sentence.

Cookie Consent
We serve cookies on this site to analyze traffic, remember your preferences, and optimize your experience.
It seems there is something wrong with your internet connection. Please connect to the internet and start browsing again.
AdBlock Detected!
We have detected that you are using adblocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website, we request you to whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.
Site is Blocked
Sorry! This site is not available in your country.