UNED Literatura II Previous Exams

Heroic couplet
A rhymed pair of iambic pentameter lines. It dominated English poetry of the 18th century.

Oxymoron
A condensed form of paradox in which two contradictory words are used together, as in “sweet sorrow” or “original copy”.

Sensibility
An important 18th century term designating a kind of sensitivity or responsiveness that is both aesthetic and moral, showing a capacity to feel both for others’ sorrows and for beauty.

Epistolary novel
A narrative in the form of letters. It was a particularly popular form in the 18th century.

Criminal biography
A work which recounts the ancestry, upbringing, criminal career and incarceration of the central character, tried before court and sentenced, often to death. Typically, the character also confesses and repents his/her life of crime.

Malapropism
A funny, mangled idiom named after Mrs Malaprop, a character in R. B. Sheridan’s play “The Rivals”. For example, saying “contagious” instead of “contiguous”.

Gothic
A literary genre that idealised medieval culture and architecture in opposition to neo-classical form and design. Terror, horror, and supernatural are key words to characterise this genre.

Elegy
A poetic form that conveys the poet’s meditation on loss and death. The most celebrated poem by Thomas Gray is an example of this poetic mode.

The Scriblerus Club
The name of the literary club founded in London by John Gay, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, John Arbuthnot, and Thomas Parnell.

Jonathan Swift
The name of a writer born in Dublin and who wrote “A Tale of a Tub”.

Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave
The title of the novel written in 1688 by Aphra Behn which represents and debates England’s new colonial adventure.

Aphra Behn
The name of England’s first professional female writer, presenting fifteen plays between 1670 and 1687, or nearly one each year.

Dissenting academies
The name of the colleges started in the late 1760s and organised by those who did not subscribe to the Anglican religion, required for attendance at Oxford and Cambridge.

Charles II
The name of the king who reopened the theatres, which had been officially closed since 1642 by the Long Parliament.

Heroic couplet
The versification pattern chosen for the poem “The Rape of the Lock”; Alexander Pope used it masterfully, producing exemplary lines, balanced and self-contained.

Parody
A literary form/work that mimics and ridicules another, often by exaggerating or distorting its defining traits; Jonathan Swift used it to target the work of projectors, and John Gay used it to target Italian operas.

Joseph Addison
The name of the author who, in a famous essay in The Spectator, states that the market redresses inequalities and represents new freedoms, not only from a commercial but also from a personal point of view.

Epistolary novel
A novel retold by the use of letters. Richardson’s Clarissa is a good example.

Robinsonade
A literary genre which is slightly dystopian about the friendliness of nature, but slightly utopian about the powers of human achievement. A desert island story, a genre that takes its name from one of Daniel Defoe’s best known works.

The Beggar’s Opera
The title of a play published in 1727 during Walpole’s administration which narrates the socio-historical situation in Great Britain. It intertwines a series of musical asides called “airs” in which most satirical comments are contained.

Robert Walpole
The name of the English Prime minister at the time of John Gay’s “The Beggar’s Opera”.

Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College
The title of a famous ode written by Thomas Gray which refers to a famous English college.

The Castle of Otranto
The title of a Gothic romance by Horace Walpole set in medieval, 13th century, Italy.

Sensibility, sentimentalism
An 18th century ovement that stressed the importance of the emotions and feelings, of sentiment and sympathy, in human relations. This current thought and taste influenced the work of novelists like Samuel Richardson and Laurence Sterne.

Drury Lane, Covent Garden
The name of either of the two London theatres whose activity the Theatre Licensing Act of 1737 aimed to control.

Terror
The feeling that Gothic novelists aspired to produce in their readers. Accordng to Edmund Burke, this feeling was an expression of “the sublime”.

Papist, popish
The derogatory term used by the author of “A Modest Proposal” to refer specifically to Catholics, whose number he proposes to lessen.

Eliza Haywood
The name of the female novelist and essayist who published a novel in reaction to the huge success of Samuel Richardson’s “Pamela”.

Graveyard poets/school
A group of 18th century poets who, because of their imagery and themes, can be related to the Gothic genre in fiction.

Coffeehouses
In the 18th century, places where the expanding public sphere of political, civil, and intellectual life was developed in contrast with the private sphere. They were venues for drinking, but also reading and debating information.

Nell Gwynn
The most famous actress of the Restoration. She went from selling oranges in a theatre to acting on the stage to living publicly as a mistress of Charles II.

Novel
The most important literary genre which emerged during the Restoration and the 18th century. Among other topics, it deals with the tensions between city and country, or the differences between poor residents of the provinces and wealthier city residents.

Graveyard poets
A group of poets that turned from neoclassical aesthetics and suggested a new preromantic sensibility towards the transitory nature of human life, decandence, and death.

Sentimentalism
A particular cultural phenomenon of the 18th century and a kind of literature. Its background was a moral philosophy that developed against reason and unemotional will. It claimed an innate feeling of sympathy for others and connoted an intense emotional responsiveness to beauty and sublimity regarding nature and art.

Heroic couplet
Lines of iambic pentameter which rhyme in pairs. The term originated in the 17th century due to the frequent use of this type of verse in epic poems and plays.

Satire, parody
A term which designates literary forms which diminish or derogate a subject by making it ridiculous and by evoking toward it amusement, scorn, or indignation.

Periodical essay
A prose that originated in the 18th century and can be considered both jounalistic and literary. The topics of texts belonging to this category are wide-ranging: social lide, literary taste, philosophical debate, domestic economy, among others.

Musical airs
A musical composition to be sung by a single voice in opera or some forms of musical theatre. In “The Beggar’s Opera”, for instance, it is effectively used for characterisation purposes.