• Acmeism is a school in modern Russian poetry, formed after fracturing away from symbolism.
  • Acmeism, or the Guild of Poets, was a transient poetic school, which emerged in 1912 in Russia under the leadership of Nikolay Gumilev and Sergei Gorodetsky.
  • The term was coined after the Greek word ákmē, i.e., “the best age of man”.
  • Major poets in this school include Osip Mandelstam, Nikolay Gumilev, Mikhail Kuzmin, Anna Akhmatova, and Georgiy Ivanov.
  • The group originally met in The Stray Dog Cafe, St. Petersburg, then a celebrated meeting place for artists and writers.
  • Mandelstam’s collection of poems Stone (1912) is considered the movement’s finest accomplishment.
  • The Acmeist movement reacted against the refined and beautiful obscurities of Symbolism.
  • They reasserted the poet as craftsman and used language freshly and with intensity. 
  • They wanted to bring the art form back down to earth.
  • They did not believe poetry was tied to mysticism and thought that poets should express ideas about culture, the word, and human existence.
  • Time was transparent to them, the past, present and future met in the lines of their poetry. 
  • Acmeism became one of the major currents in the post-Symbolist Russian literary avant-garde.


  • An acrostic poem is a poem where certain letters in each line spell out a word or phrase. 
  • Acrostics are common in medieval literature.
  • It is most frequent in verse works but can also appear in prose. 
  • In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, the final chapter “A Boat, Beneath A Sunny Sky is an acrostic of the real Alice’s name: Alice Pleasance Liddell.                             

A boat, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July –

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear – 

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.                                        

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.                                           

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Ever drifting down the stream –
Lingering in the golden gleam –
Life, what is it but a dream?                    

  • A less common and slightly more difficult type of an acrostic poem is where the last letter of each line spells out the word or phrase.
  • The more difficult type is where letters in the middle of the acrostic spell out the word or phrase.
  • The term is derived from the Greek words akros, “at the end,” and stichos, “line,” or “verse.”
  • An example of an acrostic written by the popular Edgar Allan Poe was found in his cousin Elizabeth Herring’s album.
  • Another example Vladimir Nabokov’s short story “The Vane Sisters” .


  • Aestheticism, late 19th-century European arts movement which centred on the doctrine that art exists for the sake of its beauty alone, and that it need serve no political, didactic, or other purpose.
  • Aesthetic Movement is an intellectual and art movement supporting the emphasis of aesthetic values more than social-political themes for literature, fine art, music and other arts.
  • Prominent in Europe during the 19th century.
  • It was supported by notable figures such as Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde.
  • According to them arts should provide refined sensuous pleasure, rather than convey moral or sentimental messages.
  • They developed a cult of beauty, which they considered the basic factor of art. 
  • Predecessors of the Aesthetics included John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and some of the Pre-Raphaelites who themselves were a legacy of the Romantic spirit.
  • The Aesthetic Movement, also known as “art for art’s sake”.
  • The Aesthetic Movement provided a challenge to the Victorian public when it declared that art was divorced from any moral or narrative content. 
  • In literature, aestheticism was championed by Oscar Wilde ,  Algernon Swinburne.


  • Named after the ever-so-heroic Alexander the Great.
  • It is a line of verse made up of six iambs.
  • Alexandrine is a verse form that is the leading measure in French poetry.
  • It consists of a line of 12 syllables with major stresses on the 6th syllable and on the last syllable.
  • The term probably derived from the early use of the verse in the French Roman d’Alexandre, a collection of romances that was compiled in the 12th century about the adventures of Alexander the Great. 
  •  In English versification, the alexandrine is also called Iambic hexameter.
  •  French alexandrine is syllabic, the English is accentual-syllabic.
  •  In English it is used, eg: as the last line of Spenserian stanza or as a variant in a poem of heroic couplets, rarely in a whole work.
  •  Eg: An Essay On Criticism by Alexander Pope, To Some Birds Flown Away by Victor Hugo.


  • Allegory is a figure of speech in which abstract ideas and principles are described in terms of characters, figures, and events. 
  • It can be employed in prose and poetry to tell a story. 
  • As a literary device, an allegory is a metaphor in which a character, place or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences. 
  • It usually uses as a literary device or as rhetorical device.
  • The word allegory comes from Latin allegoria.
  • The origins of Allegory can be traced at least back to Homer.
  • In classical literature two of the best-known allegories are the Cave in Plato’s Republic.
  • Other early allegories are found in the Hebrew Bible.
  • The story of the apple falling onto Isaac Newton’s head is another famous modern allegory.
  • Allegorical poetry has two meanings – a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning. 
  • The objective of its use is to teach some kind of a moral lesson.
  • Although an allegory uses symbols, it is different from symbolism. An allegory is a complete narrative that involves characters and events that stand for an abstract idea or event.
  • Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is a spiritual allegory about a spiritual journey.


  • Alliteration is the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.
  • In other words Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sounds at the beginning of words that are in close proximity to each other.
  • Eg: But a better butter makes a batter better.
  • Alliteration is also called Head rhyme or Initial rhyme.
  • “Alliteration” is originated from the Latin word “littera”(Latira), meaning of the word is “letter of the alphabet”.
  • It was first coined by the Italian humanist Giovanni Pontano in the 15th century. 
  • “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” etc used this device.
  • “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes;
    A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life”
    ( William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet ).
  • Alliteration has a great role in poetry and prose.
  • It creates a musical effect in the text.
  • It was used to excess by many late 19th century writers.
  • A tradition of old and Middle English prose used alliteration.
  • “Alliterative Revival” is a collective term used for the group of alliterative poems written in the second half of 14th century.


  • An anapaest is a metrical foot used in formal poetry.
  • This word comes from the Greek word “anápaistos” literally means “struck back”.
  • It consists of two short syllables followed by a long one.
  • It consists of two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable.
  • It may be seen as a reversed dactyl, because a dactyl is a long syllable followed by two short syllables.
  • “The Destruction of Sennacherib” by Lord Byron:
    “The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold”
  • “The Cloud” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare etc used this. 


  • An anapaest is a metrical foot used in formal poetry.
  • This word comes from the Greek word “anápaistos” literally means “struck back”.
  • It consists of two short syllables followed by a long one.
  • It consists of two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable.
  • It may be seen as a reversed dactyl, because a dactyl is a long syllable followed by two short syllables.
  • “The Destruction of Sennacherib” by Lord Byron:
    “The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold”
  • “The Cloud” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare etc used this. 


  •  In rhetoric, an anaphora is a rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses.
  • It is used for giving emphasize and also to give rhythm.
  • It gives more pleasurable reading experience.
  • Possibly the oldest literary device, has its roots in Biblical Psalms.
  • Elizabethan and Romantic writers brought this device into practice.
  • Eg: What the hammer? what the chain?
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
    — William Blake, The Tyger 

Angry Young Men

  • A journalistic catch-phrase loosely applied to a number of British playwrights and novelist from the mid 1950’s.
  • Often applied to the British ‘kitchen sink’ playwrights of the 1950s.
  • Adverse impacts of World War II helped to create several new traditions in literature. One such movement was Angry Young Men Movement.
  • The phrase was originally coined by the Royal Court Theatre’s press officer in order to promote Osborne’s 1956 play Look Back in Anger
  • It is sometimes said to derive from the title of a work by the Irish writer Leslie Paul, Angry Young Man (1951).
  • They were mostly of working class or of lower middle-class origin.
  • It was popularized through John Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger (1956).
  • Kingsley Amis, John Arden, Stan Barstow, Edward Bond, John Braine, Michael Hastings, Thomas Hinde, Stuart Holroyd, Bill Hopkins, Bernard Kops, John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Alan Sillitoe, David Storey, Kenneth Tynan, John Wain, Keith Waterhouse, Arnold Wesker, Colin Wilson are writers included in this group.
  • Chiefly represented a rebellious and critical attitude towards the postwar British society. 
  • They expressed scorn and disaffection with the established sociopolitical order of their country.
  • A major concern in Angry Young Men Movement writings is the dissatisfaction of the lower-class towards the established socio-political system.
  • They criticized the hypocrisy of the middle and the upper classes. 
  • They depicted the abject position of the youth in society. 
  • Their work revolted against all the accepted norms and ideals.
  • Their novels and plays typically feature a rootless, lower-middle or working-class male protagonist to express their thoughts.
  • In the 1960s these writers turned to more individualized themes and were no longer considered a group.

Apocalyptic literature

  • The term “Apocalyptic literature” is used in a broader sense to describe prophetic writing generally.
  • It is a genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture and was popular among millennialist early Christians.
  • “Apocalypse” is a Greek word meaning revelation or an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known.
  • As in literature it details the authors’ visions of the end times as revealed by an angel or other heavenly messenger.
  • In the transition from Jewish literature to that of early Christianity, there is a continuation of the tradition of apocalyptic prophecy.
  • The Book of Daniel offers a fully matured and classic example of this genre of literature.
  • Apocalyptic Literature is marked by imagery and style.
  • Apocalyptic Literature is generally, though not always, pseudonymous.
  • Apocalyptic literature is written in symbolism, poetry, and imageries, as well as in an Old Testament prophetic style.
  • Apocalypses contain a sharp dualism, a contrast between the present age dominated by evil, and a coming age of change.


  • The impressionist style of painting developed in the late 1870s in France. The artists sought to represent objects in their atmospheric veil, enveloped with light and air; it was not paint local colours, but the effects of light under which everything momentarily changes colour.
  • They were an intellectual and social group of painters whose members sought to bring about a radical power shift in the world of art.
  • Impressionism was a 19th century art movement.
  • Originated in the field of painting.
  • It was a reaction to the academic style of that day.
  • The name of the movement is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression Sunrise.
  • The desire to present life with frank objectivity led certain early 20th century writers to question the validity of long accepted narration.
  • Literature tries to adapt new techniques of painting to writings.
  • It was the time in which the people broke from the traditional standards or styles.
  • They wanted bring new ways of expressing their ideas.
  • It was influenced by the impressionist art movement.
  • Writers borrowed the term from painters who revolted against conventional belief about art.
  • It is a highly personal manner of writing.
  • A few selected details suffice to convey the sensory impressions of an incident or scene.
  • Impressionistic literature is closely related to symbolism.
  • The style of work which the impressionistic artists produced changed the way a lot of people approached art.
  • The ambition of impressionist was depicting the world not only as it was seen and known, but also as it was felt and experienced.
  • They stress subjectivity.
  • Rejecting old traditional emphasis upon order, thought and clearness.
  • A break with sequential, developmental, cause and effect presentation of reality of realistic fiction.
  • Presentation of experience as layered, allusive, discontinuous, juxtaposition, motif, symbol.
  • Focuses on mental life of characters their impressions and emotions.
  • Less focus on concrete interpretation.
  • A key aim of impressionistic literature is to convey through small details and impressions, something of a bigger scene or idea.
  • They focused on transient effect of light and colour.
  • Shows emotions and feelings through vagueness, colour, light, mood appeal to the senses.
  • It is an interaction between human consciousness and the object of that consciousness.
  • Critics argued that Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Stephen Crane, Virginia Woolf and others could all be considered to have impressionistic ideas in their writing.
  • Stephen Crane wrote notable works in the Realist tradition as well as early examples of American Naturalism and Impressionism.
  • In this novel Red Badge of the Courage Crane follows impressionism.
  • Crane used impressionistic technique in this story Open Boat.
  • James Joyce’s Araby is an example of Impressionistic literature.
  • Impressionism was a powerful development in literature and its legacy is wide-reaching. Impressionism was considered a radical departure from tradition. Looking back, we can see that Impressionism was more than a departure – It changed the very nature of the way people think about literature today.
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