The following glossary of critical and theoretical terms does not
pretend to be complete.  I have not included words traditionally
associated with literary theory (symbol, metaphor, genre, etc.),
unless they have a special relevance to recent theory.  On the
other hand, I have included a number of common words widely used
in recent theory (agenda, project, complicitous, etc.).  I also
have not attempted to define whole theories, such as
deconstruction or new historicism; for such terms, reference
should be made to other handbooks or summaries of critical
theories.  In some cases I have provided quotes, usually as
examples of the words being used.  I welcome any corrections or
additions or examples of use: these may be given to me on disk or
sent by e-mail to  Many people have made
helpful suggestions: my thanks.  There are certainly errors here
as well, for which I apologize, but I hope these will be
corrected as this list evolves.  The list of terms may be searched
by means of the search command, /.

                         Malcolm Hayward
                          June 22, 1995

ABSENCE             A felt lack of a particular quality,
                    particularly as that quality is called to
                    mind by other values in the text.  In
                    deconstruction, the gap that is left after
                    the meanings implied in the text are
                    deconstructed; silence.

ABSOLUTIST          Having a strictly defined sense of values
                    that are not open to question.

ADVERSARIAL         A controversy in which two sides are opposed
                    with opposite and irreconcilable differences.

AESTHETIC DISTANCE  A term from Hans Robert Jauss's reception
                    theory designating the distance between the
                    reader's expectations about a work (from the
                    horizon of expectations) and the work's
                    actual ability to fulfill these expectations.

AFFILIATION         Having a connection, especially between two

AGENCY              The power by which a particular individual,
                    group, or text could act, or the mode or
                    means of action.

AGENDA              A program or plan for using one's theory to
                    arrive at a particular pre-determined
                    conclusion, usually for purposes that are
                    seen as political.  Critics have agendas for
                    their projects.

AGON                Contestatory or conflictual.

AHISTORICAL         Denoting universal or ideal qualities; the
                    idea that a literary work transcends or
                    exists outside of its historical context.  A
                    formalist reading attempts to be ahistorical.

ALEATORY            Depending on chance or having a random

ANALEPTIC           Restorative or stimulating.

ANTI-COLONIAL       Writing which attempts to resist the forces
                    of colonization.

ANTIHEGEMONIC       A force of resistance to a dominant ideology
                    or power, with an attempt to weaken or call
                    into question that power.

ANTISYSTEMIC        In opposition to a particular system or
                    theoretical stance.

APORIA              A moment of undecidability in a text
                    (Lentricchia); a kind of gap in the meaning,
                    particularly as a part of deconstruction.

APPARATUS           The methodological structure of a particular

APPROPRIATION       Taking something over and using it for one's
                    own ends, particularly when one theory takes
                    over parts of another theory.

ARCHITECTONIC       Relating to the scientific systemization of
                    knowledge; relating to architecture.  "All
                    the values of actual life and culture are
                    arranged around the basic architectonic
                    points of the actual world of the performed
                    act or deed" (Bakhtin, 54).

ART                 A signification system in which an audience
                    is expected to evaluate and respond to
                    individual works (structures, constructions)
                    according to a formal set of criteria
                    determined within the system.  This
                    signification system (aesthetics) is bound
                    within and interdependent with other systems
                    (culture, language, etc.), but at the same
                    time contains its own logic, axioms,
                    hypotheses, definitions, terms, etc., which
                    go to make up the set of criteria used
                    (though the criteria may change according to
                    time, culture, viewer, and so on).  A "work
                    of art" is an object, structure, or concept
                    that an artist, critic, or any person
                    choosing to operate from within this
                    aesthetic signification system chooses to
                    evaluate or respond to according to the
                    principles operating within the system,
                    making the object, structure, or concept a
                    subject of the aesthetic response.

AUTHORITY           Having control or power or assumed or real

AUTOELIC            Bringing oneself forth.

AXIOMATICS          General principles or initial hypotheses,
                    self-evident or universally recognized

BINARY OPPOSITION   A dialectical relation in which there are two
                    units: a thing and its opposite or its
                    negative.  The two opposing forces are
                    binaries.  In Hegelian dialectics, a force
                    may generate an opposite or negative.

BOUNDARY            That set of points which a theory marks out
                    for itself as the extreme limit of its
                    discursive reach or the sum total of the
                    negative oppositions that are generated by
                    qualities that lie at the center of the
                    theory; see also margins and centers.

CANONIZE            To make a work of art part of a set of good
                    or pure or worthy works that everyone should
                    react to as being good or worth knowing

CARNIVALESQUE       Contravening expected social, ideological,
                    and traditional norms using different voices
                    as a subversive move (from Bakhtinian

CARNIVALIZATION     From Bakhtinian dialogics, a linking, within
                    a discourse, such as a novel, of different,
                    disparate qualities, such as the sacred and
                    the profane, the high and the low, formal and
                    informal, and so on.

CATACHRESIS         An improper use of words or misapplied term;
                    a "metaphor without an adequate literal
                    referent" (Spivak).

CATHECT             To concentrate psychic energy on a particular
                    person, thing, or idea.

CLOSURE             A completion, a bringing together of open or
                    unreconciled themes, ideas, and images in a

CODED               A process in which a set of meanings may be
                    inscribed or written within a text or
                    discourse, though such meanings may not by
                    obvious or visible at first.

COMMODITY           A Marxist conception that a thing or a person
                    or an idea may be turned into an object of
                    commercial exchange and thus subject to the
                    rules of capitalism.  "Turning art into a
                    commodity leads to a valorization of concepts
                    that insists [sic] on its form as closed, on
                    its aspect as finished or polished product. .
                    . .  True art resists commodification by
                    resisting this closure" (Godzich 44).

COMPLICITOUS        Being a partner in some wrong-doing.

CONFIGURATION       A pattern of images, ideas, or meanings.

CONJUNCTURAL        Occurring together.

CONTAINMENT         A process by which a potentially resistive or
                    confrontational or contestatory statement or
                    meaning is weakened or held in by other

CONTEXT             The environment in which a discourse or a
                    section of a discourse occurs.

CONTINGENCY         A pattern or set of meanings which limits or
                    controls another meaning pattern.

CONTRAPUNTAL        Finding alternative viewpoints, used to
                    describe the critical approach of Edward Said
                    (and others):  "Said, in other words, offers
                    a set of alternatives and at the same time
                    legitimates the most attractive alternative
                    of all ■ for intellectuals: the image of the
                    non-dogmatic critic, who has not succumbed to
                    hermeticism, unstoppably generating
                    alternative images of intellectuals,
                    intellectual practice, and the social order ■
                    images whose value is determined
                    competitively in a battle for authority"
                    (Bove, 223).  

CONVERSATION        A dialogic relationship in a discourse
                    between two or more speakers.

CRISIS              A point at which a paradigm or other
                    structure might seem to break down.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT   Using a number of different techniques and
                    approaches in order to solve a particular
                    problem in a literary text.

CRITIQUE            A statement of critical evaluation.

CULTURAL REPRESENTATION  The creation of an image of a culture
                    contains elements of key features of that

CULTURAL PRODUCTION The concept that a work of art is a product
                    of a
                    particular culture at a particular time, and
                    is influenced by such factors as publication
                    variables (price, market, editorial
                    policies), review policies, audience
                    awareness and expectations, etc.

DECENTER            To undermine the usual hierarchy of a
                    dominant system by showing that its center
                    may hold only a relative, not a fixed point,
                    or that the center may be exchanged with a
                    place on the margins.

DECOLONIZATION      The attempt to cleanse a particular culture
                    or its cultural productions of the influence
                    of a colonial culture.

DEDIFFERENTIATION   The loss of a specialized form.

DEFAMILIARIZATION   The process which occurs to make a previously
                    known and accepted image, meaning, or idea
                    seem strange and unsuitable, to lose its
                    familiar nature.

DEFER               To put off assigning meaning or value to an
                    item or concept until a larger framework or
                    system is completed.  As in deconstruction
                    the larger framework is never completely
                    fixed, there will an ongoing deference of
                    meaning.  Deference is conjoined, by Derrida,
                    with difference to create the concept of
                    différance, a constant play of meaning that
                    never reaches closure.

DEHISTORICIZE       To deny that ideas and beliefs are "specific
                    to a particular time, place, or social group"
                    (Eagleton 59).

DEIXIS              Indicating or pointing; deictic.  "Deixis is
                    the linguistic mechanism that permits the
                    articulation of all of these distinctions
                    between the here and the there, the now and
                    the then, the we and the you.  It establishes
                    the existence of an 'out there' that is not
                    an 'over here,' and thus it is fundamental to
                    the critical enterprise" (Godzich 166).

DELEGITIMATION      To question or negate the legitimacy of a
                    particular position, usually by questioning
                    or contesting its underlying assumptions.

DENATURALIZE        To make something which seems natural and
                    universal strange or incoherent by exposing
                    its devices, to defamiliarize.

DEPLOY              To use, as one might use parts of a theory.

DEVALUATE           To undervalue or lessen the value of a
                    particular text or theoretical position.

DIALECTIC           The development which arises from the
                    resolution of contradictions inherent in a
                    particular aspect of reality (Hegel).

DIALOGICS           A system of literary analysis developed by
                    Mikhail Bakhtin emphasizing that meaning
                    develops from the interplay of different
                    voices in the text ■ polyvalence.  Dialogical
                    voices in a novel represent multiple and
                    unmerged voices.

DIEGESIS            "The spatial and temporal universe in which a
                    story unfolds, the linguistic actualization
                    of linguistic structures" (Riffaterre).

DIFFERENCE          The idea, from deconstruction, that the
                    meaning of a term derives primarily from the
                    differences between it and other terms.

DISCOURSE           The actual use of language between particular
                    human subjects for the production of specific
                    effects (Eagleton 9).

DISCURSIVE          Related to the particular discourse in which
                    the element under study is found.

DISCURSIVE SPACE    The area in which a discourse takes place,
                    bounded by actual space or by an ideological

DISINTERESTEDNESS   The concept that a work of art can proceed to
                    give pleasure without seeming to speak to any
                    particular ideological or cultural

DISPLACEMENT        The substitution of one set of theories or
                    ideas by another set, in distinction to a
                    development or evolution of ideas.

DOMAIN              The area in which a particular discourse may
                    take place.

DOMINANCE           The control that one particular ideology or
                    set of meanings may have over other
                    ideologies or ways of thinking.

DYSTOPIC            An anti-utopic vision, in which the future is
                    seen only in negative terms ■ often used to
                    comment on unfavorable qualities in
                    contemporary life.

ÉCRITURE FÉMININE   The new language of the female Other which
                    deliberately ruptures binary systems of
                    synchronic and diachronic oppression.

EFFACE              To erase or to make one unaware of a thing.

ELITE               One group that is assumed to have higher
                    powers of intelligence, cultural awareness,
                    or power.

EMERGING            Coming forth, generally after a period of

EMPLOTMENT          The creation of a narrative plot.

EMPOWERMENT         The gaining of economic, political, or
                    cultural power by a group or individual
                    previously oppressed.

ENABLEMENT          Finding the power to express or develop a
                    particular potential.

ENGAGE              To come into contact with for the purpose of
                    changing, challenging, or otherwise altering
                    a set of ideas or principles that might
                    previously have been in control.

ENUNCIATIVE         Spoken or pronounced publicly.

EPISTEMOLOGY        The study of ways of knowing, the theory of
                    the nature and limits of knowledge.  "What
                    gives this model such persuasive power is its
                    way of translating spatial or perceptual
                    metaphors into a semblance of epistemological
                    rigor" (Norris, 37).

ESSENTIALIST        The idea that ideas, words, or meanings have
                    an actual reality which may be discovered.

ETHNICIST           A reading or placement of ideas into a
                    specific ethnic context.

EXCHANGE            The concept that there is a transference
                    between two subjects or a subject and an
                    object of some value.

EXHAUSTION          The end result of studying for a Ph.D. in
                    literature; the point at which a particular
                    literary genre or critical theory has found
                    all possible explorations for its purposes.

EXPRESSIVIST        The theory that a work of art is the direct
                    expression of qualities in the mind or
                    imagination of the artist and bears marks of
                    his or her personality, intentions, feelings,

FETISHIZED          To create a sense that a material object, an
                    idea, a person, an institution, a work of
                    art, etc., may have magical or extraordinary

FORMALIST           A system of theory which emphasizes that
                    meanings are found directly in the text, with
                    little input from the reader, and little hope
                    of finding there traces of the author or the

GAPS                Points in a text or discourse in which there
                    is a silence ■ something unsaid which might
                    be inserted by the reader ■ or in which two
                    ideas are juxtaposed but not connected.

GENDERING           Assigning a gender specificity to a
                    particular element of culture or pattern of
                    behavior or theme, idea, or image.

GENEALOGY           An attempt to trace the history of an idea by
                    looking at the role of that idea in a
                    culture, the ways it influences other
                    cultural forms, and the traces that it

GROUNDED            Based upon a set of theories or principles.

GYNESIS             The French feminist theory that looks to
                    undermine dualism in thought and culture,
                    believing that the Other, the female, must be
                    resituated not in opposition but within, to
                    open the unconscious (Alice Jardine), destroy
                    polarity and balance, and explore new thought
                    modes employing chaos, flux, playfulness,
                    jouissance (Mellor).  Anglo-Americans
                    critique French feminists as apolitical;
                    French feminists see Anglo-Americans as co-
                    opted by the repressive structures they fight

GYNOCRITICISM       The Anglo-American feminist theory that women
                    read and write differently than men because
                    of their biological differences and the
                    cultural construction of gender, and the
                    critic is to define the differences located
                    in biographical experiences and cultural
                    ideologies the condition the behavior and
                    modes of discourse open to women (Showalter). 
                    It finds anger at patriarchal oppression but
                    positive values in the community,
                    cooperation, self-sacrifice, and care, and it
                    has a definite political agenda (Mellors).

HEGEMONY            The way a governing power wins consent to its
                    rule from those it subjugates, or the ways it
                    coerces those it rules (Eagleton citing
                    Gramsci 112).  Having complete control over a
                    system or a structure.  A hegemonic discourse
                    is a language that orders and organize the
                    things that it talks about.

HERMENEUTICS        The study of interpretation and systems of
                    interpretation.  "Hence the seductive power
                    of any theory that promises to reconcile
                    these disjunct dimensions, to provide an all-
                    embracing hermeneutic model" (Norris 39).

HETEROGLOSSIA       Having many written or spoken voices; the
                    intertextuality of different discourses under
                    the main ideology of the work.

HISTORICAL MOMENT   A point in a particular culture at a
                    particular time when one or more than one
                    forces may be seen empowered or dominant.

HISTORICITY         Finding a historical occasion for a
                    particular ideology or event.

HOLISTIC            Having to do with the whole meaning, work,
                    ideology, etc.

HOMOLOGOUS          Having the same value, structure, or

HORIZON OF EXPECTATION   From Hans Robert Jauss's reception
                    (Rezeptionasthetik), the "sum total of
                    reactions, prejudgments, and verbal and other
                    behavior that greet a work upon its
                    appearance" (Godzich, 40-41).  

HYPOGRAM            A semantic or other pattern which calls
                    attention to itself.

HYPOTAXIS           A dependent or subordinate relationship of
                    clauses or ideas.

IDEOLOGY            A pattern of beliefs held by a group of
                    people, usually assumed to be the dominant
                    group, which beliefs may or may not have a
                    basis in reality, may or may not be
                    questioned by those who hold the beliefs, and
                    may or may not be propagated as "truths"
                    through representation or misrepresentation. 
                    According to Althusser, ideology is "the
                    imaginary relationship of individuals to
                    their real conditions of existence" but at
                    the same time, "an ideology always exists in
                    an apparatus, and its practice, or
                    practices."  Thus, "What is represented in
                    ideology is therefore not the system of the
                    real relations which govern the existence of
                    individuals, but the imaginary relation of
                    those individuals to the real relations in
                    which they live."  For Lukacs, the "true
                    bearers of ideology in art are the very
                    forms, rather than abstractable content, of
                    the work itself" (Eagleton).

IDIOLECT            One's individual mode of speaking.

INDETERMINACY       The idea that within a text, there are
                    meanings that cannot be determined;
                    indeterminacy may focus more on the text,
                    undecidability on the reader.

INFRASTRUCTURES     Structures within the body of the text,
                    discourse, or ideology that are specific to
                    it and serve to organize it and direct its

INSCRIBE            To write, either physically or
                    metaphorically, especially with reference to
                    theories such as deconstruction which are
                    concerned with emphasizing the distinct
                    nature of the act of writing.

INSCRIPTION         The "non-cognitive, material dimension of
                    language at the level of the letter, 'prior'
                    even, say, to its phenomenal presence in the
                    syllable or the word" (de Man).  "Art, then,
                    is for Adorno at the inscription of social
                    conflicts, unfree and subject to ideological
                    control" (Godzich 43).  

INSTITUTION         A formally or informally organized unit
                    within society that has as its purpose the
                    accomplishment of a given set of goals or
                    objectives.  Institutions tend to run on
                    their own inertia even when the goals are
                    accomplished or changed.  "This is the
                    decisive proposition for modernity: language
                    is the originally instituting institution; it
                    provides the framework within which the
                    practice of the subject will be that of a
                    self-positing of the Self in language"
                    (Godzich 142).

INTERPELLATE        To question formally, or to cause within the
                    reader formal questioning and interaction
                    with a text.  "All ideology hails or
                    interpellates concrete individuals as
                    concrete subjects, by the functioning of the
                    category of the subject" (Althusser).

INTERPRETATIVE COMMUNITY That body within a larger culture or
                    community which shares a set of assumptions,
                    terminologies, reading strategies, and
                    ideologies, who are assumed to be reading a
                    text in more or less the same ways with the
                    same results, or for whom the text was
                    assumed to be written, with the assumption
                    that they would read the text in a
                    particular, more or less fixed way.  
INTERROGATION       A questioning of the methods and assumptions
                    of a theory.

INTERSUBJECTIVITY   The idea that individuals always exist in a
                    relationship with other individuals, with the
                    medium of language as mediating their
                    relationships.  "For Kant, the fact that the
                    individual could not experience the object as
                    it was in itself required the postulation of
                    another dimension among individuals:
                    intersubjectivity" (Godzich, 46).

ITERABILITY         Repeatability; capable of or performing

LEGITIMATION        "The process by which a ruling power comes to
                    secure from its subjects at least tacit
                    consent to its authority" (Eagleton 54).

LIBERAL HUMANISM    A concept from the Enlightenment that
                    proposes that individualism is of a high
                    value and that rationalism and reason will
                    provide a means to work out problems.

LOCALIZED           Confined to a particular area, said of a
                    culture or an interpretation.

LOCATE              To situate, to place a particular idea within
                    a particular context.

LOGOCENTRISM        A theory or proposition that language is at
                    the center of all things; a kind of extreme
                    nominalism.  "To treat logocentrism as an
                    epoch, in the wake of Heidigger and
                    Nietzsche, is to still hold out for a
                    possibility of undeceived language" (Godzich,

MAGISTERIAL         Used pejoratively: Assuming the role as a
                    master; having inside knowledge.  "Said or
                    any other magisterial intellectual modifies
                    and perpetuates one central component of
                    humanism: the sublime role of the leading ■
                    even if adversarial ■ intellectual whose work
                    is able both to shake the order of forces and
                    make possible a new accommodation" (Bove,

MARGINAL            Existing at the edges of an authoritatively
                    or hegemonically defined structure,
                    institution, or culture, either by choice (as
                    from a desire to resist the structure or
                    institution) or not, as when the institution
                    or culture consigns individuals or groups to
                    the edges, with correspondingly fewer rewards
                    from the dominant group.

MARGINALIZATION     The process of putting an individual or a
                    group at the margins and denying them access
                    to the main benefits that the dominant group
                    has under its control.

MEDIATING           Creating a relationship between two
                    individuals, groups, texts, etc., with the
                    purpose of gaining something new by this

MEDIATION           The outcome of the act of creating a
                    relationship between two different things
                    where no relationship might normally exist. 
                    Mediation creates a flow of meaning between

METALEPSIS          A reversal.

METONYMY            The use of a part to represent the whole
                    (eg., I saw two skirts coming down the
                    street).  This is compared to metaphor, which
                    finds an identity between two unlike objects. 
                    Metonymy is seen to be a mark of the novel,
                    especially the realistic novel, and metaphor
                    a mark of poetry.

MISE EN ABYME       "A mini-narrative encapsulating the narrative
                    that contains it, a specularity, a mirroring
                    of text by subtext reminiscent of the
                    Romantic conceit of the oak tree potential
                    within the acorn" (Riffaterre).

MISE EN SCENE       The stage space in which the action of a play
                    or a movie takes place, together with the
                    properties within that space; the physical
                    environment of the play or movie.

MISPRISION          Misapprehension or misreading.  Often used in

MISREADING          Bloom says that all readings are misreadings:
                    a recognition that when you read a text there
                    is always an interaction between you and the
                    text which will affect you and the your
                    interpretation.  Strong misreadings open
                    bold, new interpretations; weak misreadings
                    only serve to capture and canonize the text
                    in limited structures.

MOMENT              A key point within the text which a critic
                    can isolate as a center for interpretive
                    activity; the moment is related to the type
                    of theoretical approach.  "What matters most,
                    in Adorn's view, is that each individual
                    analysis bring out the fundamentally critical
                    moment in the artefact, whereby it stands in
                    opposition to, and negates, the order and
                    ideology of its society" (Godzich 44).

MONOLOGICAL         Having one single voice, or representing one
                    single ideological stance or perspective,
                    often used in opposition to the Bakhtinian
                    dialogical.  In a monological form, all the
                    characters' voices are subordinated to the
                    voice of the author.

MOVES               The process of applying critical or
                    theoretical procedures or methods to a text
                    in order to further the process of the

MYSTIFICATION       By looking at a text in a deconstructive way,
                    you may turn a certainty into an uncertainty. 
                    This opens a space in the text and
                    recuperates the text for the reader.

NARRATIVE MOMENT    That point in a narrative when a number of
                    issues and events take a major turn or change
                    or find momentary or complete closure.

NARRATIVE SPACE     The setting or physical context in which the
                    work takes place.  The narrative space may or
                    may not coincide with the actual space that
                    the writer may claim for the story (eg.,
                    Dickens's London in David Copperfield may be
                    different than the actual London).

NARRATIVIZE         To turn something into a narrative ■
                    especially to take an historical event (the
                    Gulf War) and treat it as an unfolding story
                    (cops vs. robbers).

NATURALIZATION      Making something purely fictional or mystical
                    seem real ■ in opposition to denaturalization
                    or defamiliarization, in which the real is
                    made to seem unreal or exceptional.

NEGOTIATION         A relationship that is worked out between a
                    reader and a text or characters within a
                    text, in which meaning (especially) is not
                    imposed by one on the other, but arises from
                    an interaction.

NEUTRALIZE          To take a critical argument that makes a
                    strong assertion and undermine it by showing
                    that the premises of the argument are

NOMINALIST          A philosophical idea beginning in the late
                    Middle Ages that believes names are merely
                    conventional ■ something everyone agrees on ■
                    and not indicative of any higher reality
                    behind the names.  This is in distinction to
                    Realism, Platonism or Idealism, which assumes
                    that there is a reality, especially a higher
                    reality, connected with names.  Nominalism is
                    to Realism as Materialism is to Idealism. 
                    Deconstruction can be seen as an extreme form
                    of nominalism.

NORMATIVE           Making something conform to external norms or
                    standards or patterns, as a normative reading
                    of a work is a canonical reading.  "It
                    [writing] opposes principles of
                    classification and is against normative rules
                    upheld by so many institutions that live off
                    them without any qualms" (Godzich 26).

NUANCE              To make a thing more complex, more finely
                    tuned according to the standards and methods
                    of a theory.  "Jauss's response was more
                    nuanced and addressed criticism from both
                    sides . . . " (Godzich 42).

OBJECTIFICATION     "The moment of empathizing is always followed
                    by the moment of objectification, that is, a
                    placing outside oneself of the individuality
                    understood through empathizing, a separating
                    of it from oneself, a return into oneself"
                    (Bakhtin 14).

OCCASION            A moment for critical or theoretical inquiry.

ONTOLOGY            The study of ultimate being and universal
                    truths.  "The question does not make any
                    sense, for it presupposes an ontological
                    answer" (Godzich 28).

OPACIFICATION       Making something that seemed clear opaque or
                    cloudy.  "It [theory which seeks difference]
                    attempts to render visible all the language
                    that has been erased by the imperatives of
                    transparency, thus becoming a labor of
                    opacification, of restoring opacity where it
                    has been glossed over" (Godzich 26).

OPPOSITIONAL        Attempting to resist a dominant theory or
                    practice, as in an oppositional pedagogy. 
                    For Foucault, even the "leading oppositional
                    discourses, Marxism and psychoanalysis, do
                    not constitute break within the history of
                    power, but . . . completions of
                    impulses . . . already pervading culture"
                    (Bove, 225). 

OTHER               A notion from the psychology of Jacques Lacan
                    that we project negative feelings or fears
                    from within ourselves onto our images of
                    other people, creating a view of that other
                    person or group of people as being totally
                    opposite to ourselves.

PARABASIS           "A gesture of address that suddenly confronts
                    the audience of a representation with the
                    framework of its performance"; "the author's
                    intrusion that disrupts the fictional
                    illusion" (de Man).  Schlegel defines irony
                    as "permanent parabasis."

PARADIGM            The way a discipline studies its subject,
                    including methods, theories, facts,
                    hypotheses, instrumentation, standards,
                    systems of knowledge production and
                    dissemination, and so on.  "This essay . . .
                    examines a paradigmatic shift in the nature
                    of pleasure and its consequences for our
                    conception of art that occurred between the
                    Enlightenment and Romanticism" (Godzich 49).

PARADIGMATIC        Relationships between words based on
                    similarities in sound, meaning, and so on, as
                    compared to syntagmatic relations based on

PARALEPTIC          Calling attention to a thing by stating its
                    omission, for example, "not to mention his
                    rudeness" (which is thereby mentioned and

PARATAXIS           The coordinate relationship of clauses or
                    ideas that do not have connectives.

PATRIARCHAL         Having to do with the idea that males
                    dominate in society.

PERFORMATIVE        Language which attempts to get something
                    done, as opposed to constative language

PHENOMENAL          Existing in reality, directly apprehendable
                    by sense.  The phenomenal aspects of language
                    are its sound and apparent formal structure.

POLYSEMOUS          Having many meanings; a layered text with
                    many levels of meaning is polysemous ■ and
                    there may be intertextual interweavings of
                    meaning.  "With respect to the conceptual
                    system which establishes the organic unity of
                    the text, the discovery textual polysemy
                    takes on the form of an irruption which is
                    unexplainable" (Godzich, 178).

POST-ANTI-COLONIAL  Theories which recognize the limits of anti-
                    colonial writing.

POSTCOLONIAL        After a period of colonization.  Postcolonial
                    literature is written when a colony achieves

POSTMODERN          A trend in modern art in which the creator
                    de-emphasizes the mimetic and defamiliarizes
                    the traditional generic forms.  The work of
                    art calls attention to itself as artificially
                    constructed and claims itself to be a work of
                    art and only a work of art ■ without denying
                    that art may have a function as social
                    comment.  Often the structural seams of the
                    work are left visible and even highlighted
                    and commented upon (in architecture, the
                    first postmodern form, structural supports
                    may not be hidden; a novelist may comment on
                    the plot being created).  Postmodern (Po Mo)
                    works often re-use earlier forms of the
                    genre, but do not try to integrate them with
                    one another; rather, they are dealt with

POSTURE             A particular critical or theoretical stand.

PRACTICE            The employment of theory.

PRAXIS              Employing theory and critical methods in a
                    particular way.  The indissolubility of
                    action and significance (Eagleton re Marx

PRIVILEGED          Given a higher value than would be granted in
                    the normal course of events; assigning a high
                    value within a particular critical or
                    theoretical or ideological system.  "What is
                    at issue here is the high valuation of
                    artistic creativity vested in privileged
                    poetic tropes, especially metaphor and
                    symbol" (Norris, 28).

PROBLEMATIC         "A particular organization of categories
                    which at any given historical moment
                    constitutes the limits of what we are able to
                    utter and conceive" (Eagleton 137).

PROBLEMATIZE        To concentrate on an issue or point or moment
                    in a text which seems to be easily resolved
                    and show that it is not easily resolved.

PROSOPOPEIA         Impersonation of an imagined or removed
                    speaker; personification.

PRODUCTION          The cultural, historical, and physical
                    elements that create a text's material being
                    in the world.

PROJECT             The methods and intentions of a particular
                    critic or theorist.

READING             A process of interpretation in which all
                    parts of a text are made to fit one pattern.

RECEPTION           The way a reader or a group of readers
                    receive a particular text, including the
                    reasons for their reactions to it and the way
                    it affects readers.

RECONTEXTUALIZATION After a thing is taken out of a particular
                    context, putting it into a new context in
                    order to reinterpret it.

RECUPERATIVE        Recovering or remaking something that was
                    previously disregarded seem new and
                    important.  "Echo can thus be transformed
                    from a symptom of loss into the force of
                    recuperation ■ but always on the
                    understanding that recuperation does not look
                    backward but advances cumulatively" (Godzich

REFLEXIVE           Something which turns back on itself

REGISTER            In discourse theory, the way diction, syntax,
                    and other linguistic features go to create a
                    particular tone or feel or intention for a
                    part of a text.

REPRODUCE           To recreate in a text the dominant forces in
                    a culture.

RESISTANCE          A force which is put in opposition to a
                    dominant force, by direct or indirect means. 
                    It might be claimed that direct resistance
                    (as in a dialectic) is co-opted by the
                    system, since the system defines the forms
                    which resistance might take.  "This
                    resistance [of theory to a system] is not
                    determined by a negation.  It results from a
                    calculated distanciation from identity"
                    (Godzich 30).

RETERRITORIALIZATION     To put a thing back into its territory.

ROOM                The area in which critical or theoretical
                    discourse can operate.

RUPTURE             A moment in a text when there are
                    irreconcilable meanings or events that cannot
                    be brought together into a smooth meaning.

SELF-REFLEXIVITY    Referring to itself and awareness of itself,
                    usually said of a text which calls attention
                    to itself as a text.  Postmodern work is
                    often self-reflexive.

SIGNIFICATION       The process of connecting a meaning with a
                    particular sign, usually a word.

SIGNIFIED           The object or idea that is purported to be
                    represented by a particular sign.  In one
                    what, the signified can be seen as the object
                    or thing itself; in another way, it could be
                    that space that is created in terms of
                    difference from other signifieds.

SIGNIFIER           The sign, such as a spoken or written word,
                    which is taken to represent a particular
                    signified, or object or idea.

SILENCE             An emptiness that occurs when a text refuses,
                    as a result of a conscious or unconscious,
                    purposeful or non-purposeful decision by the
                    creator of the text to mention a particular
                    object or quality, but when there are
                    elements in the text that force us to
                    recognize that that particular thing is not
                    being mentioned.  An excellent example of
                    silence is

SITUATE             To place a text or theory or idea within a
                    particular context, and to examine it from
                    that point of view.

SOLIPSISM           The theory that the self can be aware of
                    nothing but its own experience.

SPACE               The bounded area in which something takes
                    place, such as a narrative space, a critical
                    space, usually referring to a place in which
                    the boundaries are purposefully set by the
                    artist, critic, or theorist.

SPECIALISM          The confinement of a theory or critical
                    analysis to one particular set of procedures                    or one particular point of view.

STANCE              The position one adopts vis a vis a
                    particular issue or topic under discussion or

STRATEGIES          Methodological tactics for dealing with a
                    particular critical or theoretical problem or

SUBALTERN           Having a lower rank or position, especially
                    in terms of existing in a role of being
                    dominated or subject to authority, as being a
                    woman or a member of a colonized or
                    previously colonized nation.

SUBJECT             According to Althusser, an individual is
                    always a reaction to and in an ideology:
                    "there is no ideology except by the subject
                    and for subjects," while we all "are always
                    already subjects."  The ideology
                    "interpellates individuals as subjects" and
                    at the same the individual himself or herself
                    always exists only in the subject, and thus
                    "individuals are always-already subjects."

SUBJECT-CONSTITUTING     A discourse in which the topic of the
                         discourse or
                    the person speaking or the person spoken to
                    is created by that discourse.

SUBLATE             "In Hegelian dialectics, negativity is the
                    movement of the concept toward its 'other,'
                    and a necessary stage in the passage to
                    Aufhebung, the overcoming or sublation of the
                    initial concept" (Godzich, 44-45).

SUBSTANTIALIST      Based on the assumption that there is a true
                    reality or identity to the thing being
                    discussed, such as a universalist or realist
                    might propose.

SUBVERT             To undermine fixed or unquestioned
                    assumptions usually associated with a
                    particular ideology.  "There are, according
                    to de Man, rhetorical forces at work in this
                    passage which effectively resist and subvert
                    that claim" (Norris, 50).

SURFACE             The words themselves that make up a text,
                    together with their prosaic, everyday

SUTURE              A point in the text at which two divergent
                    meanings may be joined together.

SYNTAGMATIC         Relationships between words which occur by
                    virtue of the syntactic context of the words,
                    as compared to paradigmatic relations (other
                    words that are like that word).

TACTIC              The employment of a critical or theoretical
                    procedure to accomplish one part of a larger

TELEOLOGICAL        Finding within natural processes evidence of
                    a purpose related to the structure of the
                    whole system.

TEXT                A combination of operations within a work
                    resulting in continuous, creative,
                    constructive activities, that could be
                    influenced by many stands.  

TRACE               A kind of clue showing the presence of an
                    idea, even when its actual appearance cannot
                    be seen.  "In our effort to define things, we
                    look for origins

TRANSCENDENTAL      Reaching beyond the everyday world to an
                    assumed higher reality.

TRANSFORMATIVE      The act or process that occurs to change the
                    whole being of a subject to an Other which
                    might or might not be a part of this subject.

TRANSHISTORICAL     Meanings or elements of a culture which are
                    said to be beyond the influence of the
                    particular time and place in which they may
                    be found; universal or essential.

TROPE               The use of an artistic construction of a
                    typical form, such as metaphor, simile, or

UNDECIDABILITY      The idea that within a work there may be
                    meanings that cannot be resolved either
                    within the work or within the reader, whether
                    by means of reason and logic, historical
                    analysis, critical method, or subjective
                    interpretation.  Compare indeterminacy.

UNGROUNDED          Not based on a particular theoretical

UNIVERSALIZATION    The idea that ideas and ideals may be true
                    for all people at all times.

UTTERANCE           "A link in the chain of speech communication,
                    which cannot be broken off from the preceding
                    links that determine it both from within and
                    without giving rise within it to unmediated
                    responsive reactions and dialogic
                    reverberations" (Bakhtin).  According to
                    Bakhtin, "the utterance is constructed while
                    taking into account possible responsive
                    reactions for whose sake, in essence, it is
                    actually created."

VALORIZE            To treat a thing as being of higher worth
                    than it might otherwise deserve, generally
                    not because of valuable qualities in the
                    thing itself, but rather because it serves
                    some other agenda.  

VERISIMILITUDE      Seeming to be "true to life" or lifelike. 
                    According to Riffaterre, fictional
                    verisimilitude can take two forms: a
                    "conformity with ideological models" or
                    "consecution rather than in the mimesis
                    superimposed on it" ■ a kind of motivation in
                    the "visible coherence in the sequence of
                    causes and effects."  They assume "two
                    [parallel] signifying chains" that create the
                    narrative and descriptive sequences.  "The
                    former privileges the mimesis, a sign system
                    seemingly based on the referentiality of its
                    components" ■ ie, words refer.  "The latter
                    privileges the narrative sequentiality that
                    is entirely within the text's boundaries." 
                    But R. argues that "exterior referentiality
                    is but an illusion" in that "verbal
                    representations in the text refer to verbal
                    givens borrowed from the sociolect" and that
                    these exist in the text, explicitly or
                    implicitly "as presuppositions." "Thus the
                    narrative sequence and its diegetic
                    implementation (the mimesis) are both
                    intratextual, since both are derivations from
                    a given that selects simultaneously the
                    abstract structure that serves as a model for
                    the narrative sequence and the representation
                    that will first actualize that structure and
                    make it visible and readable.  The reader can
                    neither perceive nor decode the one without
                    the other, since the narrative structural
                    invariant must be actualized, and it is the
                    diegetic sequence that performs this function
                    by transforming it into coherent variants."

VICTIMIZATION       The result of an act of oppression by a
                    dominant culture or ideology.  In traditional
                    terms, the dominant group is at the center,
                    the victims are marginalized.  In current
                    theories, the victims become the center, the
                    dominant forces marginalized.

VOICE               The idea of a speaking consciousness.

VOLITIONAL INTERDEPENDENCE    Decisions are never completely free
                    or determined but rather rest upon an
                    interconnected set of factors, none of which
                    are, themselves, solely determinant (Murphy).