What is Pathetic Fallacy?

What is pathetic fallacy, or ‘the pathetic fallacy’? And what is its relation to art and literature? We can define the term ‘pathetic fallacy’ easily enough, but it’s worth unpicking the origins and implications of this phrase with some literary examples.

First, though, by way of introduction: a brief definition of what ‘pathetic fallacy’ means. Put simply, pathetic fallacy is when a writer ascribes human emotions to something inanimate, such as the weather, a landscape, or a natural feature.

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What is Enjambment?

What is enjambment? Or, if you prefer, what is ‘enjambement’, or, if you prefer another, what is a ‘run-on line’? These three terms – enjambment, enjambement, and run-on lines – are all used to refer to the same thing, which is when a poet carries over a sentence from one line of verse to the next, rather than pausing at the end of the verse line. The best way to understand enjambment and why it is useful for poetry is to examine a few examples, so that’s what this introduction to the term will do. But before we go any further, here’s a question for you that’s fraught with peril, which the great critic Sir Christopher Ricks likes to ask: what’s the opening line of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land? We’ll return to this question at the end of this article.

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What is Stream of Consciousness?

‘Stream of consciousness’ is a common term in literary criticism, and often used to describe the distinctive style employed by some of the most famous writers of the twentieth century. But what is ‘stream of consciousness’? Why a ‘stream’? A few words of introduction may help to clarify this common, and widely misunderstood, literary term.

In fact, ‘stream of consciousness’ began life not as a literary term at all, but – perhaps unsurprisingly – a psychological one.

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