A local private school has asked me to help revise and standardize the English curriculum. By the time its students graduate and head off to college, they should know, in my opinion, at least these core terms, arranged under three headings:I've reformatted the list, but otherwise that is the whole thing. Is it idiosyncratic? Just one scholar's way of distilling the essential of his discipline? Or is this kind of list routine? It's certainly alien to British experience although I do note that it is a private school, and "local" presumably mean "in Texas".
Allegory, Comedy, Drama, Elegy, Epic, Fiction, Lyric, Melodrama, Novel, Poetry, Satire, Sonnet, Short story, Tragedy
Formal components and structural devices:
Character, Couplet, Imagery, Meter, Monologue, Plot, Point of view (First-person Omniscient Unreliable narrator), Prose, Rhyme, Setting, Stanza, Stream of consciousness, Symbol, Theme and motif, Verse, Blank verse, Free verse, Iambic verse
Elements of style:
Alliteration, Cliché, Conceit, Connotation and denotation, Diction, Irony, Metaphor, Onomatopoeia, Personification, Tone, Wit
The accomplished student ought to progress from definition to recognition of literary examples and finally to application of the terms in criticism.
But how would you feel if confronted by that list--or its equivalent in your own discipline--as a curriculum? Free? Lacking boundaries? Heaving a sigh of relief? Bewildered?
I note that despite all of this being (potentially) about literature, it is totally non-prescriptive about literature itself...