Dictionary of World Literature: Criticism, Forms, Technique

By Joseph T. Shipley | Go to book overview

H

haï-kaï, haiku. Hokku. See Japanese poetry.

Hallelujah meter. Pros. Stanza of 6 iambic lines. 4 trimeter, then 2 tetrameter. So-called from frequent use in hymns.

hamartia (Gr., error, sin). Th. Aristotle viewed the ideal tragic hero as "a man not pre-eminently virtuous and just, whose misfortune, however, is brought upon him not by vice and depravity but by some error (hamartia)." ( Poetics, ch. 11). This may be an error of judgment, or through ignorance, or by a moral fault, or due to inherent human frailty (as a family trait, e.g., impetuosity of (Edipus) but whatever its cause, it must be a specific action. (Œdipus' marrying Jocasta, Antigone's defiance of civil law).

S. E. Basset, "The Hamartia of Achilles, TAPA. 1934; M. K. Flickinger, The Hamartia of Sophocles' Antigone, Diss. U. of Ia., 1935. F.W.J.

hanamichi.See Runway.

Hanswurst. Gr. Th. Prankish clown, stock comic figure; survives as a puppet. The name is used in G. from 16th c. Through the influence of the commedia dell' arte his improvised comments and antics continued even beyond Gottsched's theatre reforms in the 18th c. W.A.R.

haplology. Rh. See Hyphæresis.

Harlequin (It. Arlecchino). A stock figure in the commedia dell' arte, clown, mixture of ignorance and grace; always in hot water and love. For 400 years has worn clown's suit of black and white diamond patches. In Eng. pantomime (Harlequinade) rival of the more roistering clown, for the fair Columbine.

harmony. (1) 16th-17th c. An arrangement of parallel passages, so as to bring out corresponding qualities or ideas in the works thus compared. (2) With equilibrium, basic in the idea of synæsthesis as the secret of beauty.

Haupt- und Staatsaktion. G. Th. Popular drama produced by traveling companies, 1680-1720. Hauptaktion, the serious main play as distinguished from the burlesque sequel. Staatsaktion: historical or political play. Their crudity was attacked by Gottsched. The pomp and bombast of the Staatsaktion fed the craving of the masses for the splendor of the courts of their absolutist rulers. H.J.M.

head rhyme. Pros. (1) Alliteration. (2) Rhyme at the beginning of the lines.

Hebraism, Opp. to Hellenism, q.v. The balance set by M. Arnold in his try at the game of see-saw with man's spirit.

Hebrew poetry.See Canaanite.

Hellenism. To an ancient Gr., esp. a Stoic, purity of language: avoidance of solecisms, barbarisms, foreign expressions; use of an idiomatic style, free from excess. To later times, manner, language, culture, imbued with the Gr. spirit. Addison (Spec. 285) "Virgil is full of the Gr. forms of speech which the criticks call Hellenisms." So also Latinity, Gallicism, Anglicism, etc.

Matthew Arnold ( Culture and Anarchy, ch. iv) contrasts Hellenism and Hebraism as two rival forces in the history of man: "the governing idea of Hellenism is spontaneity of consciousness: that of Hebraism is strictness of conscience." The one has a vibrant sense of being alive, of sensing through every pore, "seeing things as they are in their beauty"; the other stresses ideals of conduct and obedience to the will of God. Thus in the Bible Job, wronged to the utmost, still submits: "I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes"; whereas Prometheus (Æschylus) under similar pressure still cries (the last words of the play) "Behold me, I am wronged!" The pagan heeds the check only of his own free nature; the puritan accepts an outer rule, of law or God. Note, however, that these terms by no means thus apply to actual primitive pagans; and by Arnold's distinction some Greeks are Hebraist: Euripides, "If gods do evil, then they are not gods"--but Sophocles, "Nothing is wrong that the gods command." See Apollonian. N.M.

hemistich. Pros. Half a line of verse, usually to or from the cæsura. Also used of a shorter line in a stanza.

-296-

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Dictionary of World Literature: Criticism, Forms, Technique
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • ADVISERS and CONTRIBUTORS vii
  • SUGGESTIVE LIST OF ASSOCIATED TOPICS xi
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • A 1
  • B 63
  • C 82
  • D 145
  • E 182
  • F 229
  • G 277
  • H 296
  • I 310
  • J 339
  • K 346
  • L 347
  • M 365
  • N 394
  • Q 468
  • S 500
  • T 572
  • U 599
  • W 619
  • Y 631
  • Z 633
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