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a break in thought, so the thought of the whole poem thus continues steadily to the end (Milton’s “On His Blindness”).

Sonnet Sequence – a series of sonnets connected by some thread of thought (Elizabeth Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese).

M

Malaproprism (from Mrs. Malaprop in Sheridan’s play The Rivals) - a ludicrous blunder in the use of words, committed by using a word which sounds like the intended one, but whose meaning is absurdly different.

The people in Hardy’s novels are mostly farmers and pheasants.

In almost every book there is some inclination of a moral teaching.

Masculine Ending – one ending on a stressed syllable.

“Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach”

Masculine Rhyme -  one ending on accented syllables ( before and restore, today and delay)

Masque – (also spelled Mask) – a form of dramatic performance in vogue especially in the 16th and 17th centuries, in which the players wore masks and usually represented mythological or allegorical characters. The acting ordinarily consisted only in dancing and dumb show.

Melodramatic – a term used to describe any literary work abounding in romantic sentiment, sensationalism, violence, and exaggerated situations, such as narrow escapes, wild pursuits, etc. If, however, the use of violence and sensationalism is logical and meaningful to the author’s purpose (as in Faulkner’s Light in August), the work is not necessarily melodramatic.

Metamorphosis – a radical change in a character, either physical or emotional

In Kafka’s aptly titled The Metamorphosis, a man is transformed overnight into a large bug. In the movie The Fly, a scientist gradually changes, because of his experimentation, from a man into a fly.

Metaphor – a figure of speech giving an implied comparison without using like or as between two essentially unlike things.

The red sun was a wafer pasted in the sky.

The jet left its calling card across the sky.

Metathesis (me tath’ e sis) – the transposition of letter, sounds, or syllables of words (such as in a Spoonerism). For example, Shakespeare is thought to have formed the name of his character Sir John Falstaff by metathesis from that of the actual person Sir John Fastolph (the vowel sounds of the last name having been interchanged). Samuel Butler’s Erewhon is a metathesis of the word nowhere.

Meter – a definite and systematic rhythm established in a poem. The principal kinds are monometer, dimeter, trimeter, tetrameter, pentameter, and hexameter.

Metonymy – a figure of speech that replaces the name of something with a word or phrase closely associated with it (similar to synecdoche)

Do you prefer Melville or Hawthorne (that is, their books)?

The pen (that is, the writer) is mightier than the sword (soldier).

The child likes a sweet dish (that is, the contents).

The private saluted the  “brass”. (Indicates a military officer)

Wall Street is full of “suits”! (businessmen)

Metrical Romance – a narrative poem, ordinarily dealing with knights and ladies, romantic in theme, more pretentious than the ballad and shorter and less heroic than the epic (Scott’s “Lady of the Lake”, Keats’s “Eve of St. Agnes”).

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