Archaism

Entertainment / Literature / Archaism: A word, expression, spelling, or phrase that is out of date in the common speech of an era, but still deliberately used by a writer, poet, or playwright for artistic purposes. Until fairly recently, it was still common to find poets using 'I ween,' 'steed,' and 'gramercy' in their poems, even though they wouldn't use these terms in normal daily speech. Artists might choose an archaism over a more familiar word because it is more suitable for meter, for rhyme, for alliteration, or for its associations with the past. It also might be attractive as a quick way to defamiliarize an everyday phrase or object. Note that for Shakespeare in the sixteenth century, the use of thy and thine is not particularly archaic, but for John Updike in the twentieth century, the use of thy and thine is definitely archaic. Spenser, an avid Chaucer fan, used archaisms to imitate fourteenth-century Chaucerian spelling and language in his fifteenth-century poem, The Faerie Queen. The translators of the King James Version of the Bible (1611) revived archaisms to give weight and dignity to sonorous passages. Later in the seventeenth century, Milton employed Latinate archaisms in Paradise Lost, even going so far as to imitate the periodic sentence structure preferred by classical Roman poets, even though Latin was a dead language by his day. Coleridge, Keats, William Morris, and Tennyson also used archaisms for creating pseudo-medieval effects in specific poems, such as Tennyson's Idylls of the King (1842-1885). This tendency in nineteenth-century poetry mirrors the growth of romanticized pseudo-medieval visual art among the nineteenth-century Pre-Raphaelites. An extended example of deliberate archaisms appears in Keats's The Eve of Saint Mark (c. 1819).

Poetic Diction

Entertainment / Literature / Poetic Diction: Distinctive language used by poets, i.e., language that would not be common in their everyday speech. The most common signs of poetic diction include involve archaisms, neologisms, rhyme, and unusual MORE

Penny Dreadful

Entertainment / Literature / Penny Dreadful: A sensational novel of crime, adventure, violence, or horror. The term is an English archaism referring to cheaply printed books bound in paper at only a few pennies' cost. English schoolboys also cal MORE

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