Chiasmus

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chiasmus

 

a type of antithetical parallelism in which the parts of two parallel elements are placed in reverse sequence, in the pattern ab = b1a1. An example is “It was not a grass-blade in the open field that was nodding,/Nodding was my poor little homeless head.” Sometimes the sense of parallelism is maintained by the repeating of intermediate words in the pattern abc = c1ba1, as in Pushkin’s lines Avtomedony nashi boiki,/Neutomimy nashi troiki (“Lively our Automedons,/Our troikas tireless”).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Isabella is characterized in another pair of chiasmi, one by the Duke and another by herself during their prison conference.
Isabella concludes this formal and thematic series with a pair of chiasmi. In the one, she is expansive in describing the angelic attributes that seem to belong to Angelo versus the treacherous caitiff or villain that in fact he is: "'Tis not impossible/ But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground,/ May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute,/ As Angelo; even so may Angelo,/ In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,/ Be an arch-villain" (5.1.52-57).