Active movement to end slavery in the U.S. North before the Civil War in the 1860s.

An implied or indirect reference in a literary text to another text.

Artistic and literary rebellion against established society of the 1950s and early 1960s, associated with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and others. "Beat" suggests holiness ("beatification") and suffering ("beaten down").

Boston Brahmins
Influential and respected 19th-century New England writers who maintained the "genteel tradition"of upper- class values.

Strict theological doctrine of the French Protestant church reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) and the basis of Puritan society. Calvin held that all humans were born sinful and only God s grace (not the church) could save a person from hell.

Captivity narrative
Account of capture by Native American tribes, such as those created by writers Mary Rowlandson and John Williams in colonial times.

Character writing
Popular 17th- and 18th-century literary sketch of a character who represents a group or type.

Civil War
The war (1861-1865) between the northern U.S. states, which remained in the Union, and the southern states, which seceded and formed the Confederacy. The victory of the North ended slavery and preserved the Union.

Extended metaphor. Term used to describe Renaissance metaphysical poetry in England and colonial poetry, such as that of Anne Bradstreet, in colonial America.

Late 19th- and early 20th-century "aesthetic" artists and writers, chiefly British and French, involved with "turn of century" ideas of endings, decay, and artificiality.

Controversial mode of textual analysis that can reveal hidden ideological assumptions. Questions hierarchical thinking in which one term is privileged over another (e.g. culture versus nature, man versus woman). Draws on thought of French theorist Jacques Derrida, who elaborated on linguist Ferdinand de Saussure s vision of language as a system of differences.

An 18th-century Enlightenment religion emphasizing reason, not miracles; partly a reaction against Calvinism and religious superstition.

A Puritan doctrine in which God "elects," or chooses, the individuals who will enter heaven according to His divine will.

Omission from a text of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction gramatically correct.

An 18th-century movement that focused on the ideals of good sense, benevolence, and a belief in liberty, justice, and equality as the natural rights of man.

A philosophical movement embracing the view that the suffering individual must create meaning in an unknowable, chaotic, and seemingly empty universe.

Post-World War I artistic movement, of German origin, that distorted appearances to communicate inner emotional states.

Literary character who sells his soul to the devil in order to become all-knowing, or godlike; protagonist of plays by English Renaissance dramatist Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) and German Romantic writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).

The view, articulated in the 19th century, that women are inherently equal to men and deserve equal rights and opportunities. More recently, a social and political movement that took hold in the United States in the late 1960s, soon spreading globally.

A category of literary forms (novel, lyric poem, epic, for example).

Hartford Wits
Patriotic but conservative late 18th-century literary circle centered at Yale College in Connecticut (also known as the Connecticut Wits).

A mock-heroic satire by English writer Samuel Butler (1612-1680). Hudibras was imitated by early revolutionary-era satirists.

Concrete representation of an object, or something seen.

A group of mainly American poets, including Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell, who used sharp visual images and colloquial speech; active from 1912 to 1914.

A meaning (often contradictory) concealed behind the apparent meaning of a word or phrase.

Knickerbocker School
New York City-based writers of the early 1800s who imitated English and European literary fashions. "Light" literature - Popular literature written for entertainment.

McCarthy era
The period of the Cold War (late 1940s and early 1950s) during which U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy pursued American citizens whom he and his followers suspected of being members or former members of, or sympathizers with, the Communist party. His efforts included the creation of "blacklists" in various professions -- rosters of people who were excluded from working in those jobs. McCarthy ultimately was denounced by his Senate colleagues.

Metaphysical poetry
Intricate type of 17th-century English poetry employing wit and unexpected images.

Middle Colonies
Present-day Atlantic or eastern U.S. states -- colonial New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and sometimes Delaware -- known for commercial activities centering on New York City and Philadelphia.

The central area of the United States, from the Ohio River to the Rocky Mountains, including the Prairie and Great Plains regions (also known as the Middle West).

Seventeenth-century Puritan belief that Jesus Christ would return to Earth and inaugurate 1,000 years of peace and prosperity, as prophesied in the New Testament.

A parody using epic form (also known as mock-heroic).

International cultural movement after World War I expressing disillusionment with tradition and interest in new technologies and visions.

A recurring element, such as an image, theme, or type of incident.

American journalists and novelists (1900-1912) whose spotlight on corruption in business and government led to social reform.

The creative interchange of numerous ethnic and racial subcultures.

Legendary narrative, usually of gods and heroes, or a theme that expresses the ideology of a culture.

Late 19th- and early 20th-century literary approach of French origin that vividly depicted social problems and viewed human beings as helpless victims of larger social and economic forces.

An 18th-century artistic movement, associated with the Enlightenment, drawing on classical models and emphasizing reason, harmony, and restraint.

New England
The region of the United States comprising present- day Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut and noted for its early industrialization and intellectual life. Traditionally, home of the shrewd, independent, thrifty "Yankee" trader.

Mid-20th-century poetic movement, associated with William Carlos Williams, stressing images and colloquial speech.

Old Norse
The ancient Norwegian language of the sagas, virtually identical to modern Icelandic.

Oral tradition
Transmission by word of mouth; tradition passed down through generations; verbal folk tradition.

Plains Region
The middle region of the United States that slopes eastward from the Rocky Mountains to the Prairie.

Media-influenced aesthetic sensibility of the late 20th century characterized by open-endedness and collage. Post-modernism questions the foundations of cultural and artistic forms through self-referential irony and the juxtaposition of elements from popular culture and electronic technology.

The level, unforested farm region of the midwestern United States.

Belief that nature provides truer and more healthful models than does culture. An example is the myth of the "noble savage."

God s will, as expressed through events on Earth. Fate is seen as revelation.

English religious and political reformers who fled their native land in search of religious freedom, and settled and colonized New England in the 17th century.

A northern European political and religious movement of the 15th through 17th centuries that attempted to reform Catholicism; eventually gave rise to Protestantism.

Self-referential. A literary work is reflexive when it refers to itself.

Regional writing
Writing that explores the customs and landscape of a region of the United States.

Revolutionary War
The War of Independence, 1775-1783, fought by the American colonies against Great Britain.

Emotionally heightened, symbolic American novels associated with the Romantic period.

A reaction against neoclassicism. This early 19th- century movement elevated the individual, the passions, and the inner life. It stressed strong emotion, imagination, freedom from classical correctness in art forms, and rebellion against social conventions.

An ancient Scandinavian narrative of historical or mythical events.

Salem Witch Trials
Proceedings for alleged witchcraft held in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Nineteen persons were hanged and numerous others were intimidated into confessing or accusing others of witchcraft.

Self-help book
Book telling readers how to improve their lives through their own efforts. A popular American genre from the mid- 19th century to the present.

A strict Puritan sect of the 16th and 17th centuries that preferred to separate from the Church of England rather than reform. Many of those who first settled America were separatists.

Slave narrative
First black literary prose genre in the United States; accounts of life of African-Americans under slavery.

Region of the United States including Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, West Virginia, and eastern Texas.

European literary and artistic movement that uses illogical, dreamlike images and events to suggest the unconscious.

Syllabic versification
Poetic meter based on the number of syllables in a line.

Blending of two senses, used by Edgar Allan Poe and others to suggest hidden correspondences and create exotic effects.

Tall tale
A humorous, exaggerated story common on the American frontier, often focusing on cases of superhuman strength.

Abstract idea embodied in a literary work.

Wealthy pro-English faction in America at the time of the Revolutionary War in the late 1700s.

A broad, philosophical movement in New England during the Romantic era (peaking between 1835 and 1845). It stressed the role of divinity in nature and the individual s intuition, and exalted feeling over reason.

Cunning character of tribal folk narratives (particularly those of African-Americans and Native Americans) who breaks cultural codes of behavior; often a culture hero.

Vision song
Poetic song which members of some Native American tribes created when purifying themselves through solitary fasting and meditation.