Allusiveness

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Allusiveness'

Allusiveness Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    allusiveness n : a quality characterized by indirect reference
Allusiveness Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Allusiveness \Al*lu"sive*ness\, n. The quality of being allusive.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Allusiveness'


An allusion is a figure of speech that makes a reference to, or representation of, a place, event, literary work, myth, or work of art, either directly or by implication. M. H. Abrams defined allusion as "a brief reference, explicit or indirect, to a person, place or event, or to another literary work or passage". It is left to the reader or hearer to make the connection (Fowler); where the connection is detailed in depth by the author, it is preferable to call it "a reference".

In a freer informal definition, allusion is a passing or casual reference, an incidental mention of something, either directly or by implication: In the stock market he met his Waterloo.

Allusion is a literary term, though the word also has come to encompass indirect references to any source, including allusions in film or the visual arts. In literature, allusions are used to link concepts that the reader already has knowledge of, with concepts discussed in the story. In the field of film criticism, a film-maker's intentionally unspoken visual reference to another film has come to be called an homage. It may even be sensed that real events have allusive overtones, when a previous event is inescapably recalled by a current one. "Allusion is bound up with a vital and perennial topic in literary theory, the place of authorial in interpretation", William Irwin observed, in asking "What is an allusion?" Without the hearer or reader's comprehending the author's intention, an allusion becomes merely a decorative device. Allusive substitutions are as old as English: see kenning. Allusion is an economical device, a figure of speech that draws upon the ready stock of ideas, cultural memes or emotion already associated with a topic in a relatively short space. Thus, an allusion is understandable only to those with prior knowledge of the covert reference in question, a mark of their cultural literacy.

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