Literary Glossary: Q–R

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Realism

A literary style predominantly found in the latter part of the 19th century that attempted to provide an accurate, objective portrayal of life without embellishment. Frank Norris famously claimed that "Realism is the minute, it is the drama of a broken teacup, the tragedy of a walk down the block." Practitioners of a realist style in the American tradition include William Dean Howells, Mark Twain, and Henry James.

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Regionalism

The literary presentation of qualities unique to certain geographic locations, such as Willa Cather’s portrayal of Nebraska or Kate Chopin’s vision of Creole culture in Louisiana. Local color, though the two terms overlap, more specifically refers to a regionalist form of writing in the United States prominent during the latter part of the 19th century. See the EDSITEment-reviewed Documenting the American South for further discussion.

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Repetition

A technique used to provide emphasis through the repeated use of sounds, words, or phrases within a literary work.

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Rhetoric

The art of persuasive speech and writing. See the EDSITEment-reviewed Silva Rhetoricae website for an extensive definition.

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Rhythm

In poetry, a series of stressed and unstressed syllables. See: meter.

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Romanticism

A broad cultural movement of the 19th century that developed as a reaction to the rationalism of the Enlightenment. The Romantics prized the imagination as the supreme faculty and championed the use of intuition as well as emotion railing against the imperatives of a society they saw as corrupt and deceitful.

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