“Atmosphere: The mood and feeling, the intangible quality which appeals to extra-sensory as well as sensory perception, evoked by a work of art. For instance, the opening scene in Hamlet where the watch is tense and apprehensive, even “jumpy.” By contrast, the beginning of Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist indicates clearly that the play is going to be comic to the point of knockabout. An excellent example in the novel is Hardy’s depiction of Egdon Heath in The Return of the Native.”
Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.
Posted in English Language Arts, Essays/Readings, Quotes, Reference Materials
Tagged art, diction/grammar/style/usage, drama, fiction/literature, poetry, professional development, readings/research, term of art
“As a young theater critic and aspiring playwright, Kaufman was assigned to cover a new Broadway comedy. In his review he wrote: ‘There was laughter in the back of the theater, leading to the belief that somebody was telling jokes back there.’”
Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.
“Little Shop of Horrors: A cult horror movie (1960) directed by Roger Corman (b. 1926) about a carnivorous talking plant that quickly outgrows the flower shop of its dimwitted owner and becomes a voracious man-eating monster. The success of Corman’s original inspired stage musical with the same title in the 1980s and an inferior film remake in 1986.”
Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.
“Deus Ex Machina: (Lat, “god from the machine) A theatrical device used in Greek tragedy. In several plays of Euripides, a god appears at the last moment to provide the solution to the tangled problems of the main characters. The god is let down from the sky on a sort of crane. The phrase has come to refer to a playwright’s use of external means to solve the problems of his characters—a practice generally frowned upon.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.