BYRONIC HERO: Super-cool cool guy.
DIARY: The private thoughts of an author, never intended for publication. Publish and disseminate widely after death.
ENLIGHTENMENT: A brief, optimistic mistake.
FRANKENSTEIN: Always point out that Frankenstein is the doctor’s name, not the monster’s. Argue that Percy Shelley’s edits were intrusive.
HAIKU: A form of poetry grade school children are forced to write. Count the syllables.
JOUISSANCE: A nebulous, sticky French pun.
KITSCH: The sad process by which the consumerist trash capitalism necessitates colonizes an aesthetic perspective via defensive irony.
MEMOIR: A genre of literature often mistaken for truth by its audience.
NOVELLA: A novelist’s chance at perfection.
ORWELLIAN: A useful adjective. Misuse freely—especially if you only dimly recall the two or three things you ever read by George Orwell.
PHALLOGOCENTRISM: In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was Phallus.
QUARTO: Bring up in any discussion of Shakespeare; watch the students’ eyes glaze over.
SOCRATIC IRONY: The tedious, drawn out process of questioning that Plato submits his characters to in order to get to his thesis.
THEME: A misunderstanding of the text in which all its words are distilled into a single cliché, guaranteeing that the text will not have to be reread.
VARIORUM: An annotated edition of a text with scholarly commentary intended to ruin any possible enjoyment on the reader’s part.
WELTANSCHAUUNG: A German word that students should use in term papers instead of “viewpoint” or “perspective.”
ZARATHUSTRA: Dude who spake.