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149702833-glossary of terms

Comentario de Textos Literarios en Lengua Inglesa
ACADEMIC JOURNALS: Learned magazines which publish scholarly articles.
AGEISM: A term which refers to the systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people
because they are old.
ALLEGORY: A story, play, poem, picture, etc., in which the meaning or message is represented
ALLUSION: A reference to another work of literature or art, to a person or an event.
ANDROTEXTS: Books written by men (Elaine Showalter).
ANTITHESIS: Contrast or opposition between two things.
ANTITHESIS: The direct opposite.
ANXIETY OF AUTHORSHIP: The woman author’s fear that she is unable to create or that writing will
destroy her.
ANXIETY OF INFLUENCE: The male author‟s fear that he is not his own creator and that previous
male authors have priority over his writings.
ANXIETY OF INFLUENCE: The struggle for identity by male poets who feel threatened by the
achievements of their predecessors.
AUTHOR: Must die in order for the reader to be born.
AUTHOR: Poststructuralist criticism challenges the category of the ‘author’ as omniscient or the
single source of power in relation to a text, as an authority; meaning is not limited to, fixed by or
located in the person of the author.
AUTHOR: The solely responsible for the meaning of the literary work.
AUTHOR: The term which ordinary culture uses when referring to the person who produces a literary
BINARY OPPOSITION: “The principle of contrast between two mutually exclusive terms: on/off,
up/down, left/right” (Baldick). Post-structuralists also argue that each term of the binary is dependent
on the other in order to constitute itself.
BLACK-WOMAN IDENTIFIED ART: Art which focuses on, is inspired by and gives the perspective
of Black women.
BLACK-WOMAN INVISIBILITY: Black women´s existence, experience and culture and the brutally
complex systems of oppression which shape these (B.Smith).
CAPITALISM: A system that emphasizes private initiative and individual effort and enterprise.
CO-TEXT: A historical document which is contemporary with and studied alongside a literary
COLONIALISM: The direct political control of one country or society by another and refers first of all
to historical episodes, like the long history of British rule in India.
COMEDY: A play or literary composition written chiefly to amuse its audience by appealing to a
sense of superiority over the characters depicted with a (usually) happy ending for the leading
COMPULSORY HETEROSEXUALITY: A term in radical and lesbian theory for the enforcement of
heterosexuality. It includes the ideological and political control of women’s sexuality
COMPULSORY HETEROSEXUALITY: The main mechanism underlying and perpetuating male
dominance (Adrienne Rich).
CONTESTANT: Someone who takes part in a dispute or challenge.
CULTURAL CONTESTANT: “Historically, the Orient has challenged or rivaled the West in cultural
terms” (E.Said).
CULTURAL MATERIALISM: A critical practice that concentrates on the interventions whereby men
and women make heir own history and situate the literary text in the political situation of our own (and
now of its own day as New Historicists do).
CULTURAL MATERIALISM: A critical practice that reads the literary text in a way as to enable us to
“recover histories”.
CULTURAL MATERIALISM: A critical practice that uses the technique of close textual analysis but
often employ structuralist and post-structuralist techniques.
CULTURAL MATERIALISM: A critical practice that works mainly within traditional notions of the
DEATH OF THE AUTHOR: the resistance to using information derived from the writer’s life or
known intentions as part of the process of interpretation since this presumes that the author imposes
the final limit on meaning and attributes to him (or her) a godlike status.
DEATH OF THE AUTHOR: The author must die in order for the reader to be born.
DECONSTRUCTION: A way of reading that aims to uncover the disunity within the text.
DECONSTRUCTION: A way of reading that notices what the writer “commands and what he does
not command of the … language that he uses”.
DISCOURSE: An instance of language or utterance that involves the speaker/writer-subject and
listener/reader-object. Foucault argued that discourse colludes with power.
DISEMPOWER: Weakens, removes power from (in this case, women).
DOUBLING COMMENTARY/DOUBLING THE TEXT: Reading and interpretation reproducing what
the writer thought and expressed in the text (J.Derrida).
ÉCRITURE FÉMININE: The term for women’s writing in French feminist theory. It describes how
women’s writing is a specific discourse closer to the body, to emotions and to the unnameable, all of
which are repressed by the social contract.
EMPLOTMENT: The process by which a text is organized into a plot.
EMPLOTTED: Organized into a plot.
ENDORSE: To confirm, to declare support or approval of.
EPIC: A long narrative poem celebrating the great deeds of one or more legendary heros in a grand
ceremonious style.
EQUAL WEIGHTING: A combined interest in “the textuality of history, the historicity of texts”
ETHNIC STUDIES: A critical approach to literature which challenges the universality of white
discourse and standards.
FEMALE: A matter of biology (T. Moi)
FEMININE: A set of cultural defined characteristics (T. Moi)
FEMINIST CRITICISM: A critical practice that asks whether men and women are essentially
(because biologically) different, or whether difference is one more social construct.
FEMINIST CRITICISM: A critical practice that challenges hierarchies (power rations) in writing and in
real life with a view to breaking them down, seeing reading as a political act and exposing patriarchy.
FEMINIST CRITICISM: A critical practice that examines representations of women literature by men
and women.
FEMINIST CRITICISM: A critical practice that explores the question of whether there is a female
language or écriture féminine (a feminine practice of writing) and whether men can practice that
writing too.
FEMINIST CRITICISM: A critical practice that goes back to psychoanalysis to continue exploring
male and female identity.
FEMINIST CRITICISM: A critical practice that questions constructions of women as “Other”, as
“lack”, as part of “nature”.
FEMINIST CRITICISM: A critical practice that re-asses women´s lives (revalue women experience).
FEMINIST CRITICISM: A critical practice that re-writes the canon and seek to rediscover womenauthored texts (rethinks the canon for the rediscovering of texts written by women).
FEMINIST: A political position (Toril Moi).
FICTION-MAKING: The historian bestows a particular significance upon certain historical events and
then matches them up with a precise type of plot.
FOIL: A person or thing that enhances the qualities of another by contrast
GALLING: (adj.) Causes extreme indignation, irritation, annoyance.
GENDER STUDIES: The study of gender as an analytical reference.
GENDER: Denotes the cultural constitution of femininity or masculinity, the notions concerning what
is ‘appropriate’ to either gender, and the ways in which these serve ideologically to maintain
gendered identities.
GYNOCENTRISM: Literally, woman-centred. In critical practice, it refers to the presumption that the
reader and the writer of a literary work are both female, and that the critical act is also aimed towards the
woman reader
GYNOCRITICS: Literally, criticism of women. The term was coined in English by Elaine Showalter to
describe a literary-critical presumption that feminist criticism would focus its attention on the works of
women writers
GYNOTEXTS: Books written by women (E. Showalter).
HETEROCENTRITY: The belief that heterosexuality is the only “normal‟ mode of sexual and social
HETEROCENTRITY: The practice of viewing reality (or human relations) from a heterosexual
IMAGERY: Convers the use of language to represent objects, actions, feelings, thoughts, ideas,
states of mind and any sensory or extra-sensory experience. An image does not necessarily mean a
mental picture.
IMAGINARY ORIENT: Represents one of the West´s most deep-rooted and persistent images of the
INTERTEXTUALITY: It refers to the ways in which all utterances (whether written or spoken) necessarily
refer to other utterances, since words and linguistic/grammatical structures pre-exist the individual speaker
and the individual speech. Intertextuality can take place consciously, as when a writer sets out to quote
from or allude to the works of another.
KINGLY ADMONITIONS: Stern advice uttered by a male monarch
LESBIAN CONTINUUM: Term that avoid the clinical ring of lesbianism asn refers to all experiences
shared by women, experiences that strengthen bonds among themselves and against male
LESBIAN EXISTENCE: Term that avoid the clinical ring of lesbianism and refers to the actual
presence of lesbians, past and present
LESBIAN/GAY CRITICISM: A critical practice in which the defining feature is making sexual
orientation a fundamental category of analysis and understanding.
LESBIAN/GAY CRITICISM: A critical practice that creates an alternative canon of lesbian/gay writer
´s works.
LESBIAN/GAY CRITICISM: A critical practice that equates the sense of being lesbian or gay with the
metaphorical transgression of boundaries or limits of the “normal”.
LESBIAN/GAY CRITICISM: A critical practice that exposes homosexual characteristics of standard
literary works.
LESBIAN/GAY CRITICISM: A critical practice that focuses on literary genres which have strongly
shaped western standards of masculinity or femininity.
LESBIAN/GAY CRITICISM: A critical practice that reveals the homophobia of standard literature and
criticism which suppress certain explicitly homosexual material or simply fail to study it.
LESBIAN/GAY CRITICISM: A critical practice that selects lesbian/gay passages in standard literary
works and analyze them as such.
LOGOCENTRISM: Refers to the nature of western thought, language and culture since Plato’s era. The
Greek signifier for ‘word’, ‘speech’ and ‘reason’, logos possesses connotations in western culture for law
and truth. Hence, logocentrism refers to a culture that revolves around a central set of supposedly
universal principles or beliefs (J.Derrida).
MAINSTREAM LITERARY HISTORY: Old historicism, dominant historical scholarship, monological,
earlier historicism, single political vision, internally coherent and consistent, the status of historical
fact, a stable point of reference.
MALE COUNTERPART: Male equivalent or complement.
MALE RIGHT OF ACCESS: The moral and legal privilege to intervene in all aspects of a woman´s
MATERIAL ORIENT: Is a form of discourse supported by institutions, language, academic study,
principles, bureaucracy and a certain way of doing things (style).
MODERN SCRIPTOR: Differs from the Author in that he is not held to be responsible for a book in
the same way.
MODERN SCRIPTOR: Has no authority over what he writes.
MODERN SCRIPTOR: Is born simultaneously with the text.
NARRATIVE: A set of events (The story) recounted in a process of narration (or discourse).
NARRATIVE: A telling of some true or fictitious event or connected sequence of events, recounted by
a narrator.
NEW HISTORICISM: A critical practice that gives equal weighting to literary and non-literary texts.
NEW HISTORICISM: A critical practice that insists on the textualization of reality (from Derrida) and
the premise that society is governed by the collusion between discourse and power (from Foucault).
NEW HISTORICISM: A critical practice that places literary and non-literary texts in conjunction and
interprets the former through the latter.
NEW HISTORICISM: A critical practice which looks for manifestations in text and co-text of State
power, patriarchy and colonization.
NUMBING: (v. numb) To remove all sensations from; to paralyze, stupefy.
OBLIVIOUS: Ignorant of, blind or insensitive towards.
OEDIPAL STRUGGLE: (feminist criticism) The male author must “kill his father” in order to survive
and become his own person.
ORDINARY CULTURE: Reads and interprets literature through its author.
ORIENTALISM: An academic meaning through its doctrines and theses about the Orient and the
Oriental (E. Said).
ORIENTALISM: The corporate institution or Western Style for controlling and shaping the Orient
ORIENTALISM: The distinction between the Orient and the Occident, East and West (E. Said).
ORIENTALISM: The ensemble of western, usually though not exclusively European discourses and
other forms of representation of non-western cultures (E. Said).
OSTENSIBLE FEMINISTS: Apparent seeming, not real feminists (Barbara Smith).
OTHER/OTHERNESS: Term that names the quality or state of existence of being other or different
from established norms and social groups.
OTHER/OTHERNESS: The distinction that one makes between one’s self and others, particularly in
terms of sexual, ethnic and relational senses of difference.
OVERWHELMING: (v. overwhelm) To overpower with emotion, bury or drown beneath a huge
mass, submerge utterly.
PARADIGM: Model, example.
PATRIARCHAL: A system of male authority which oppresses women through its social, political, and
economical institutions.
PERSONAE: (plural pf persona) Has come to denote the person (the “I” of an alter ego) who speaks
in a poem or novel or other form of literature.
PHONOCENTRISM: Depends on the association of truth with the logos as the philosophical and
theological origin of truth understood as self-revealing thought or cosmic reason... phonocentrism [is]... the
powerful idea that there is a difference between spoken words and written signs, with all the privilege
being on the side of the former (J.Derrida).
PLOT: A particular selection and reordering of the full sequence of events (story).
PLOT: The pattern of events and situations in a narrative or dramatic work.
POST-COLONIAL CRITICISM: A critical practice that examines the representation of other cultures
in literature as a way of achieving this end.
POST-COLONIAL CRITICISM: A critical practice that looks therefore at how other cultures are
represented in literature.
POST-COLONIAL CRITICISM: A critical practice that refutes the claim that mainstream Western
literature is somehow universal and stress its limited perspective and blindness to cultural and ethnic
POST-COLONIAL LITERATURE: Centers on the conflicts and contradictions, as well as the
advantages and sense of liberation, that accompany life as an individual in a postcolonial state.
POST-COLONIALISM: A critical practice which stresses and examines cultural difference and
diversity in literature.
POSTSRUCTURALISM: A critical practice that look for shifts and breaks in the text and see these as
evidence of what is passed over in silence by the text.
POSTSRUCTURALISM: A critical practice that looks for hidden meanings in a text which may
contradict its surface or apparent meaning.
POSTSTRUCTURALISM: A critical practice that foreground superficial similarities in words and
make them central to the text´s meaning.
POSTSTRUCTURALISM: A critical practice that reads the text against itself.
QUEER THEORY (OR QUEER STUDIES): A critical practice that rejects female separatism and
istead sees an identity of political and social interests with gay men. The term is intended to mark a
critical distance from the earlier and marginalized ‘gay and lesbian’.
RACIAL POLITICS: The political character of race which is based on the unequal power of whiteblack relations.
READER: Must eliminate the Author in order to liberate meaning through the act of reading.
READER: the reader and the act of reading are necessary for a text to constitute itself.
REFERENT: A term which is more or less interchangeable with signified and refers to the concept to
which the signifier is related.
ROMANCE: A fictional story in verse or prose that relates improbable adventures of idealized
characters in some remote or enchanted setting.
ROMANCE: A tendency in fiction opposite to that of realism.
SATIRE: A mode of writing that exposes the failings of individuals, institutions, or
SEMIOTIC (LANGUAGE): Characterized not by logical order but by displacement, slippage and
condensation which suggest a much loser and randomized way of making connections (J. Kristeva).
SEXUAL POLITICS: The political character of sexuality which is based on the unequal power of
sexual relations.
SIGNIFIED: The conceptual referent of the sign (word). (meaning)
SIGNIFIER: The materially identifiable element such as a sound or visible mark (meaning). (word)
societies to ridicule and scorn.
SORY: The full sequence of events as we assume them to have occurred in their likely order,,
duration and frequency.
STEREOTYPES: Standardized, simplified and fixed conception (according to Gubert and Gilbert,
female writer is reduced to stereotypes by her male precursor).
STORY: In modern narratology, the sequence of imagined events that we reconstruct from the actual
arrangement of a narrative.
STORY: In the everyday sense, any narrative or tale recounting a series of events.
SURROGATE: (n.) Substitute.
SYMBOLIC (LANGUAGE): Associated with authority, order, fathers, repression and control;
maintains the fiction that the self is fixed and unified (Julia Kristeva).
SYNESTHESIA: The evocation of one sene in terms of another.
TAILORING: Adapting the facts to a particular story form.
TO GET THE BETTER OF: Overcome, defeat.
TRAGEDY: A serious play or novel representing the disastrous downfall of a central character, the
TRASCENDENTAL SIGNIFIED: Denotes an ultimate, fixed meaning.
VALUE-NEUTRAL: Historical events acquire narrative value only after the historian organizes them
into a specific plot type.
VAUNTED: (adj. from v. to vaunt) To boast, to brag (synonyms: boastful, swaggering).
VERBAL FICTIONS: A construct which is made of words and based on invention rather than reality.
WESTERN DESIRE AND NEED: The desire and need of the West to use the African continent to
emphasize its own state of grace.
WESTERN DESIRE AND NEED: The desire in Western psychology to set Africa up as a foil to
WOMAN IDENTIFICATION: To feel an identification with women (as opposed to men).