“Isabel Allende: (1942-) Chilean novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. Touted as the first major female figure in Latin America’s book of narrative fiction, she has become one of the continent’s best known and bestselling authors, but has been dismissed by some as an epigone of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his school of Magic Realism. Born in Lima, Peru, she worked as a journalist in Chile. After President Salvador Allende, her father’s cousin, was deposed in 1973, she emigrated to Venezuela and then to the U.S. Her best-known novel is her first book, La casa de los espiritus (1982; tr The House of the Spirits, 1985); set in a nameless Latin American country, it is the story of several generations of the upper-class Trueba family. It was followed by the novels De amor y de sombra (1984; tr Of Love and Shadows, 1985) and Eva Luna (1987; tr 1988), and the short-story collection Cuentos de Eva Luna (1990; tr The Stories of Eva Luna, 1991). Later books include El plan infinito (1991; tr The Infinite Plan, 1993), the story of a Chicano lawyer in San Francisco, and Paula (1994; tr 1995), a moving account of her daughter’s illness and death.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
“Nominal: 1. Relating to nouns: a nominal group. 2. A noun or pronoun: He and bridge are the nominals in the sentence He crossed the bridge. 3. An adjective functioning as a noun: the poor (poor people); the accused (the accused person). The terms nominal group and nominal clause mean the same as noun phrase and noun clause. A nominal clause is a finite or non-finite clause that resembles a noun phrase in the range of its functions; for example, as the subjects of sentences, That he can’t lift his arm in That he can’t lift his arm worries me, and Smoking cigarettes in Smoking cigarettes can cause cancer.”
Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
“Prolixity (noun): Speech or writing that is wordy or lengthy, sometimes tediously; a tendency to long-windedness; verbosity. Adjective: prolix; adverb: prolixly.
‘Mann writes in a manner inimitable by anyone else; the density and prolixity of his novels would be intolerable in a writer who did not also possess his extraordinary sweep and complexity of mind.’ Robertson Davies, One Half of Robertson Davies.”
Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.
“visual perception: The ability to recognize and interpret visual information provided to the brain. Difficulties in visual perception are separate from and unrelated to impairment in the visual system that may diminish visual acuity or result in visual impairment or blindness. Visual perception involves the determination and discrimination of spatial information, as well as performance on tasks such as the discrimination of letters and words, geometric designs, and pictures.
Visual perception is an essential component of learning, especially in regard to reading development and to acquiring classroom information. Difficulties with visual perception may significantly affect and individuals ability to discriminate letters and words, and to work with mathematical information.”
Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.
“Tour de Force: (French, ‘Turn of Force’) As a literary term it may be applied to a work which provides an outstanding illustration of a writer’s skill and mastery; a sort of ‘one-off’ brilliant display. Among modern examples one might suggest: Hemingway’s short story The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber (1938); Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon (1940); Orwell’s fable Animal Farm (1945); Anthony Burgess’s novel A Clockwork Orange (1962); Daniel Keyes’s short story Flowers for Algernon (1965); and Vikram Seth’s extraordinary ‘novel’ The Golden Gate (1986)—a narrative which consists of 590 sonnets in rhyming tetrameters.”
Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.