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Stories by S. Maugham.doc
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English Literary Terms

1. allusion – аллюзия, намек A hint at something, presumably known to the reader, frequently from literature or mythology. E.g.:

“’No,’ he said wistfully, ‘I suppose not. It’s time to dress.’ To dress – to dine, and if to dine, to sleep – to sleep, to dream. And then what dreams might come!” (GALSWORTHY).

The allusion here is to the famous monologue of Hamlet (“To be or not to be”).

2. anaphora (Gr. anaphora ‘carrying back’) – анафора

A phonetic stylistic device; the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of successive clauses, sentences or lines.

3. antithesis (Gr.) – антитéза, противопоставление

An opposition or contrast of ideas expressed by parallelism of strongly contrasted words placed at the beginning and at the end of a single sentence or clause, or in the corresponding position in two or more sentences or clauses. Antithesis is often based on the use of antonyms and is aimed at emphasizing contrasting features.

E.g.: Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,

Were these hours – can their joy or their bitterness cease? (BYRON)

4. climax – кульминация

The highest point of an action in a story; culmination preceding the dénouement.

5. dénouement (Fr.) – развязка

The unwinding of the action; the events in a story or play immediately following the climax and bringing the action to an end.

6. Detached construction

A stylistic device when one of the secondary parts of the sentence is placed so that it becomes formally independent of the word it logically refers to. The detached part, being torn away from its referent, assumes a greater degree of significance and is given prominence by intonation.

''Sir Pitt came in first, very much flushed, and rather unsteady in his gait.'' (W. Thackeray)

7. ellipsis – эллипс

A syntactic stylistic figure; omission from a construction of one or more words which are obviously understood, but must be supplied to make the expression grammatically complete.

E.g.:“Don’t know… He had a loud cardiac murmur. Might be anything. That’s why I said I’d call anyhow to-night. Couldn’t come any sooner. Been on my feet since six o’clock this morning.” (BENNET)

8. emphatic inversion (L. inversio ‘displacement”) – стилистическая инверсия

A syntactic stylistic device: placing a word or a phrase at an unusual position in a sentence; it is a device of style which gives liveliness and sometimes vigour to the sentence.

E.g.:Down came the storm and smote again

The vessel in its strength. (LONGFELLOW)

9. enumeration – перечисление

A stylistic device by means of which homogeneous parts of an utterance are made heterogeneous from the semantic point of view.

E.g.: The principal production of these towns … appear to be soldiers, sailors, Jews, chalk, shrimps, officers and dock-yard men. (DICKENS. “Pickwick Papers”)

10. epithet – эпитет

A word used to express the subjective attitude of a person towards some object or phenomenon. Epithets are not necessarily be attributes, nor need they precede the noun they modify. If they refer to a verb they take the form of adverbial modifiers; an epithet to a noun may be used predicatively.

E.g.: The glow of an angry sunset. (CH. DICKENS)

Carrying himself straight and soldierly. (E. HEMINGWAY)

11. flash-back – ретроспективное описание, обращение к прошлому.

A part of a story in which the author turns back to earlier experiences in order to deepen the meaning of present experiences.

E.g. Hemingway in The Snows of Kilimanjaro and in his later novel Across the River and into the Trees often makes use of this device; the same can be said about Aldington’s Death of a Hero.

12. framing – обрамление

A kind of repetition in which the opening word is repeated at the end of a sense-group or a sentence (in prose), or at the end of a line or stanza in a verse).

E.g.:“No wonder his father wanted to know what Bossiney meant, no wonder.” (GALSWORTHY)

13. gradation - нарастание, градация

A syntactic figure of speech in which a number of ideas are so arranged that each succeeding one rises above its predecessor in impressiveness and force.

E.g.:“Little by little, bit by bit, and day by day and year by year, the baron got the worst of some disputed question.” (DICKENS)

14. grotesque (Fr.) – гротеск

An artistic device characterized by fantastic exaggeration and aimed at representing human-beings or their life as comically distorted, awkward. G. Often implies interweaving the fantastic with the real. Satirists often resort to G.

15. humour ( L. humor “moisture”) – юмор

A device used in literature and intended to improve slight imperfections. The object of humour is a funny incident or an odd feature of human character, which we laugh at good-naturedly. It shouldn’t be confused with irony and satire (see), the latter being aimed at eracinating grave vices, mostly from the sphere of social life.

16. hyperbole (Gr. hyperbatos “transferred”) – гипербола

A figure of speech in which the expression is an evident exaggeration,

E.g.: ''Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.'' (SHAKESPEARE. MACBETH)

H. may have an ironical ring, as is often the case in Dickens's prose, e.g.: ''The earth was made for Dombey and Son to trade in, and the sun and moon were made to give them light.Rivers and seas were formed to float their ships; rainbows gave them promise of fair weather; winds blew for or against their enterprises; stars and planets circled in their orbits, to preserve inviolate a system of which they were the centre.''

17. inner represented speech - несобственно-прямая речь

A stylistic device expressing feelings and thoughts of the character which were not materialized in spoken or written language. It abounds in exclamatory words and phrases, elliptical constructions, breaks, colloquial words and other means of conveying the feelings and psychological state of the character when a person is alone with his thoughts and feelings, he can give vent to these strong emotions which he usually keeps hidden.

Represented Speech demands that the tense should be switched from present to past and that the personal pronouns should be changed from 1st and 2nd person to 3rd person as in indirect speech, but the syntactical structure of the utterance does not change.

E.g.: Clyde… returned to his room again for he was tired. Why didn’t they search more if there was hope of finding her? Where was she now – at this moment?

( In indirect speech it would be ‘’Why don’t they search her if there is hope of finding her? Where is she now – at this moment?’’)

Inner represented speech is usually closely interwoven with the author’s narration.

18. irony – ( Gr. eironeia ‘dissimulation’) – ирония

A figure of speech expressing either an attitude or a situation in which words or actions mean the opposite of their customary acceptance for purpose of ridicule; as when expressions of praise are used where blame is meant.

E.g. Dickens in Oliver Twist while portraying workhouses writes:

‘’It was a regular place of public entertainment for the poorer classes; a tavern where there was nothing to pay; a public breakfast, dinner, tea and supper all the year round; a brick and mortar elysium, where it was all play and no work.’’

19. litotes – литота

A figure of speech, a type of ironical understatement (see), made for emphasis, whereby an affirmation is expressed by denying its contrary: ''He is not a silly man'' for ''He is a clever man''.

E.g.:''My guardian will be awfullly keen for you to come and stay with us. He is not half bad when you know him.'' (GALSWORTHY)

20. metaphor - метафора

A figure of speech in which words or phrases denoting one object are transferred to others in order to indicate a resemblance between them.

By its structure a M. can be simple or sustained (prolonged).

E.g.: anaesthetic of her charm

  1. Mr. Dombey’s cup of satisfaction was so full at this moment, however, that he felt he could afford a drop or two of its contents, even to sprinkle on the dust in the by-path of his little daughter.’’(DICKENS)

21. metonymy - метонимия

A figure of speech; the use of one word for another that it suggests, as the effect for the cause, the cause for the effect, the sign for the thing signified, the container for the thing contained, the instrument for the action, etc.


to whose young love

The vines of France and milk of Burgundy

Strive to be interess’d.


Here the italicized words stand for ‘’the King of France’’ and ‘’the Duke of Burgundy’’.

22. oxymoron - (Gr. oxys ‘sharp’ + moros ‘foolish’) –оксюморон, оксиморон

A figure of speech consisting in the use of an epithet or attributive phrase in contradiction to the noun it defines.

E.g.: His humble ambition, proud humility,

His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet.


Speaking silence, dumb confession


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