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Study Guide How to Read Literature Like A Professor

“How to Read Literature Like A Professor” by Thomas Foster
Study Guide Notes:
Important vocabulary
Linguistic- relating to language or the study of languages
Allusion- relating to referencing someone or something famous or well-known
Archaic- very old or old-fashioned
Epitome- perfect example of a type
Mythology- for the purposes of literature and to avoid negative connotation, a body of stories that
“matter” *Myths are considered timeless and can be important and impactful in any society.
Ancestral- Of, belonging to, or inherited from an ancestor
Epigraph- a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme.
Allegory- a work of literature that reveals a hidden message that goes beyond plot
Paradoxical- seemingly absurd at the onset but upon investigation may very well be true and wellfounded
Symbolism- the idea that some things can represent other things- concrete that represents the abstract
Quest- a long and challenging journey or test
Communion- the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings
Vampirism- in literature, the act of preying on or exploiting others
Autonomy- In its simplest sense, autonomy is about a person's ability to act on his or her own values and
Dictum- a formal pronouncement from an authoritative source
Sublimation- changing form; in literature, usually to a more repressed state
Intertextuality- the relationship between texts, especially literary ones. "every text is a product of
Universalism / universality- Some of the more common universal themes found in literature
include individual struggle towards a personal goal, a person's struggle with humanity, falling in love, life
cycles, karma, coping with tragedy, adolescence, and discovering the world around us.
Sectarian / nonsectarian- sectarian is a word to describe something having to do with smaller groups or
sects. Nonsectarian describes something not limited to a smaller group.
Character developmentThematic developmentCharacter revelationPlot complication
Denouement“Heading south” in literature- means more than geography- characters who “so south” or “head south”
almost always experience chaos of some sort- sometimes funny and sometimes disastrous
Sublime- awe-inspiringly grand, excellent, or impressive
Literary geography- typically about humans inhabiting spaces and the spaces that inhabit humans. *
Geography, in literature, can shape and even define the character.
Direct characterization
Indirect characterizationSexual symbolism-