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A literary trope is a common pattern, theme, motif in literature, or a figure of speech in which words are used in a sense different from their literal meaning. The term trope derives from the τρόπος - tropos "turn, direction, way, related to the root of the verb τρέπειν (trepein), "to turn, to direct, to alter, to change".[1]

Rhetoricians have closely analyzed the bewildering array of "turns and twists" used in poetry and literature and have provided an extensive list of very precise labels for these poetic devices. Some examples include:

For a longer list, see Rhetorical remedies.

Various scholars throughout history, beginning with Quintilian, Ramus, and Vico, have argued that a great deal of our conceptualization of experience, even the foundation of human consciousness, is based on figurative schemes of thought which include not only metaphor, but also metonymy, synecdoche and irony. Tropes (in the sense of figures of speech) do not merely provide a way for us to talk about how we think, reason, and imagine, they are also constitutive of our experience.[2]

In modern usage, "trope" often means "a common or overused theme or device: cliché."[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ "trope", Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2009, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trope, retrieved 2009-10-16  
  2. ^ Gibbs, Raymond W. Jr.: Process and products in making sense of tropes from : Metaphor and Thought (Ortony, Andrew (Editor), Cambridge University Press, 1993), page 252
  3. ^ "trope", Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2009, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trope, retrieved 2009-01-13  
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