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Related to Literary conceit: Metaphysical conceit


in literature, fanciful or unusual image in which apparently dissimilar things are shown to have a relationship. The Elizabethan poets were fond of Petrarchan conceits, which were conventional comparisons, imitated from the love songs of Petrarch, in which the beloved was compared to a flower, a garden, or the like. The device was also used by the metaphysical poetsmetaphysical poets,
name given to a group of English lyric poets of the 17th cent. The term was first used by Samuel Johnson (1744). The hallmark of their poetry is the metaphysical conceit (a figure of speech that employs unusual and paradoxical images), a reliance on
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, who fashioned conceits that were witty, complex, intellectual, and often startling, e.g., John Donne's comparison of two souls with two bullets in "The Dissolution." Samuel Johnson disapproved of such strained metaphors, declaring that in the conceit "the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together." Such modern poets as Emily Dickinson and T. S. Eliot have used conceits.


(the lesser) boastful and insolent; drowns due to vanity. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 14]
Bunthorne, Reginald
fleshly poet; “aesthetically” enchants the ladies. [Br. Lit.: Patience]
Butler, Theodosius
thinks he is a wonderful person. [Br. Lit.: Sketches by Boz]
Collins, Mr.
pompous, self-satisfied clergyman who proposes to Elizabeth Bennet. [Br. Lit.: Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice]
Dalgetty, Rittmaster Dugald
self-aggrandizing, pedantic soldier-of-fortune. [Br. Lit.: Legend of Montrose]
Dedlock, Sir Leicester
contemplates his own greatness. [Br. Lit.: Bleak House]
Dogberry and Verges
ignorant and bloated constables. [Br. Lit.: Much Ado About Nothing]
Grosvenor, Archibald
idyllic poet of no imperfections. [Br. Lit.: Patience]
Henry VIII
inflated self-image parallels bloated body. [Br. Lit.: Henry VIII]
Homer, Little Jack
pats his back with “What a good boy am I!” [Nurs. Rhyme: Mother Goose, 90]
Keefe, Jack
baseball pitcher is a chronic braggart and self-excuser suffering from an exaggerated sense of importance. [Am. Lit.: Lardner You Know Me Al in Magill III, 1159]
self-important coxcomb full of hollow, ostentatious valor. [Br. Lit.: Henry V]
Olivia’s grave, self-important steward; “an affectioned ass.” [Br. Lit.: Twelfth Night]
Montespan, Marquis de
regards exile and wife’s concubinage as honor. [Br. Opera: The Duchess of la Valliere, Brewer Hand-book, 721]
flower of conceit. [Plant Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 170; Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 171–172]
symbol of vanity and pride. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 176]
scorpion stung him to death for his boasting. [Rom. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 971]
Prigio, Prince
too clever prince; arrogance renders him unpopular. [Children’s Lit.: Prince Prigio]
Slurk, Mr.
had a “consciousness of immeasurable superiority” over others. [Br. Lit.: Pickwick Papers]
Tappertit, Simon
boasted he could subdue women with eyes. [Br. Lit.: Barnaby Rudge]


Literary an elaborate image or far-fetched comparison, esp as used by the English Metaphysical poets
References in periodicals archive ?
The literary conceit - a card game involving two "stacked" decks of 30 new leadership rules and 24 new technological tools - did have to strain to fit on occasion.
A romantic comedy-drama about an endangered marriage, "The Secret Lives of Dentists" is a nicely played study of turbulence beneath the surface of quiet lives that eventually becomes bogged down by overplaying a literary conceit.
Result is intriguing but stubbornly fails to develop a life independent of literary conceit.
The clerk remains more of a literary conceit than a flesh-and-blood character, but, except for an ill-conceived fantasy sequence in which Bartleby delivers a Hitlerian rant, Glover is everything the pic needs, and likely very close to what Melville had in mind.
Worse yet are English department-based so-called creative writing courses, which place a premium value on all the outmoded literary conceits that students need to jettison before they can produce anything worthwhile.
The futuristic alien expedition is simply a hook on which to hang his fascinating analysis and, so far as literary conceits go, it has a certain charm.
Our artist might still be the sociopath of historical record, but he's a clever one, capable of intelligent literary conceits and brimming with furbezza.
Such literary conceits are true to form and mirror the tension between repression and sexual awakening, growth and stagnation.
His investigations into foraging and gathering, his beautifully imagined tale of corn's domestication of humans, rather than vice versa, are literary conceits of a rare and persuasive sort.
In other words, rather than having any meaningful ties to subjective identity--which gave foundation to avant-garde artistic and literary conceits in the past--now we are following the cues and customs, merely performing subversive roles in a continuing quest for the ever-rotating "New.
Though it deals with many of Flight's themes (the homosexual mindset, the old man-young man relationship, the power of the flesh), it does so "straight"--no literary conceits, no artistic bells and whistles here.
There may not be much that's recognisably Welsh about his verse but it abounds in word-play and literary conceits that is sometimes metaphysical and sometimes sheer showing off.