Tag Archives: fiction and literature

Term of Art: Affective Fallacy

“affective fallacy: A critical term denoting the confusion between what a literary work is and what it does. That is, a work should be judged solely on its literary components, not by its emotional (or affective) impact on the reader. It was first identified as a critical ‘error’ by Monroe Beardsley and W.K. Wimsatt in The Verbal Icon (1954). It is related to intentional fallacy, in which a work is judged according to what the author presumably intended to say or in relation to the author’s biography.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Book of Answers: Zora Neale Hurston

“What did Zora Neale Hurston do before becoming a novelist? Hurston was a folklorist who studied with anthropologist Franz Boas at Barnard College. In Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938), she compiled black traditions of the South and the Caribbean. Her novels include Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

A Learning Support on Poetry Terms

This short learning support on poetry terms is the last of the English Language Arts learning supports I have to publish for the time being. I expect, as I continue to teach, I’ll develop more of them. Maybe you can use this cogent explanation of basic terms of art in poetry.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Rotten Reviews: Revolutionary Road

“There is a certain cheapness, even and intellectual dishonesty, in pretending that the suburbanites…are pseudo-vertebrates who bend in the middle when confronted by the pressures of living their own lives.

New York Herald Tribune Lively Arts

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Term of Art: Analogue

“Analogue: A word or thing similar or parallel to another. As a literary term it denotes a story for which one can find parallel examples in other languages and literatures. A well-known example is Chaucer’s The Pardoner’s Tale, whose basic plot and theme were widely distributed in Europe in the Middle Ages. The tale is probably of oriental origin and a primitive version exists in a 3rd century Buddhist text known as the Jatakas; but the version usually taken to be the closest analogue to Chaucer’s tale is in the Italian Libro di Novelle e di Bel Parlar Gentile (1572) which is nearly two hundred years later than Chaucer’s story.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

To Kill a Mockingbird

“The only novel (1960) by the US writer Harper Lee (1926-2016), which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman and its aftermath are seen through the eyes of Scout, the six-year-old daughter of the white defense lawyer, Atticus Finch. Though clearly innocent, the man is found guilty and is subsequently shot 17 times by prison guards while, it is claimed, he was trying to escape. The editor of a local paper writes a courageous leader comparing the death to ‘the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.’ The common, or northern, mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is a noted songbird and mimic, and its range extends from the northern USA to Mexico. It particularly favors suburban habitats, and sometimes sings at night. A film version (1962) was directed by Robert Mulligan, with an Oscar-winning performance by Gregory Peck as Finch.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

The Leopard

“(II gattopardo, 1958; tr 1960) A historical novel by Giuseppi Tomasi, Prince of Lampedusa. It describes the impact of Garibaldi’s invasion of Sicily and the subsequent unification of Italy on an aristocratic Sicilian family who had flourished under the Bourbon kings. The novel’s depiction of the failure of the Risorgimento created heated political debates when it was first published. However, the controversy subsided and the book was widely recognized as a penetrating psychological study of an age, written in a highly symbolic and richly poetic style.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.