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Unfamiliar literary terms: Ekphrasis

Crumbly Writer

While looking up the literary term "Anaphora" (to get the correct spelling, since I'd accidentally run across it earlier), I ran across another I was unfamiliar with. Anyone know what "Ekphrasis" is? I'm guessing you don't, but I won't spoil your surprise when you look it up. It's a surprisingly apt term, one I'm sure many of us here at SOL have used on occasion, especially when describing a naked women to the classical painting.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Sorry, it's all Greek to me. :)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

Sorry, it's all Greek to me. :)

Even the English definitions are all Greek to me. :)

richardshagrin

I was taught a lot of languages use "Its Greek to me" but the Greeks use "Its Chinese to me."

Crumbly Writer

Aside from its Ancient Greek origins (once upon a time, you couldn't call yourself 'educated' without continually referring to the ancient Greeks), it's very simple. It's one art form trying to describe another art form to try to explain the attraction of something those viewing the work cannot appreciate for themselves.

I haven't done this a lot, but in a couple of stories, I've included an artistic tertiary character, and to help readers get a feel for the character, I describe their artwork, describing the style, how it fits into a particular art movement and how the artist's style fits into her lifestyle and personality. It's a bit of work, but it gives readers a better appreciation of who the character is by giving them a peek into their heads, so they can see how they view the work and thinks of things.

Of course, if you're trying to describe things you don't quite understand, it can go horribly wrong, very quickly.

JohnBobMead

@Crumbly Writer

Of course, if you're trying to describe things you don't quite understand, it can go horribly wrong, very quickly.


Oh God, YES! Personal experience proclaims the Vaster Truth or this sentence!

samuelmichaels

@Crumbly Writer

Of course, if you're trying to describe things you don't quite understand, it can go horribly wrong, very quickly.

Unless you are Alan Sokal, in which case they may go horribly right.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@samuelmichaels

Unless you are Alan Sokal, in which case they may go horribly right.

For many of us, 'horribly wrong' is the best solution (for us, at least). Disaster is always a wonderful introduction to any story, and the eventual resolution is always appreciated. The key for the author, is getting from the starting point to the end without losing the reader.

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