Parataxis

Parataxis (from Greek παράταξις “act of placing side by side”, from παρα para “beside” + τάξις táxis “arrangement”) is a literary technique, in writing or speaking, that favors short, simple sentences, without conjunctions or with the use of coordinating, but not with subordinating conjunctions. It contrasts with syntaxis and hypotaxis.

It is also used to describe a technique in poetry in which two images or fragments, usually starkly dissimilar images or fragments, are juxtaposed without a clear connection. Readers are then left to make their own connections implied by the paratactic syntax. Ezra Pound, in his adaptation of Chinese and Japanese poetry, made the stark juxtaposition of images an important part of English-language poetry.

Julius Caesar’s declaration, “I came, I saw, I conquered,” is an example of parataxis.

[Funny Weather — Olivia Laing]

Peroration

noun

  1. the concluding part of a speech, typically intended to inspire enthusiasm in the audience: he again invoked the theme in an emotional peroration.

[“The Island” — Lord Byron]

Persiflage

noun

  1. Light and slightly contemptuous mockery or banter

[The Art of Memoir – Mary Karr]

Pertinacious

adj.

  1. Holding tenaciously or stubbornly to a purpose, opinion, or course of action.
  2. Extremely persistent or unyielding.

[Moby-Dick; or, The Whale — Herman Melville]

Phlogiston

n.

  1. a substance supposed by 18th-century chemists to exist in all combustible bodies, and to be released in combustion.

[A Reader on Reading, “The Blind Bookkeeper” — Alberto Manguel]

Plangent

plan·gent
/ˈplanjənt/

adjective

LITERARY

(of a sound) loud, reverberating, and often melancholy. “the plangent sound of a harpsichord”

[H is for Hawk — Helen Macdonald]

Prelate

n.

  1. a bishop or other high ecclesiastical dignitary

[“To Go to Lvov” — Adam Zagajewski, translated by Renata Gorczynski]

Promulgate

v.

  1. promote or make widely known (an idea or cause)

Also: promulgation (n.)

[The Anthologist — Nicholson Baker]

Propitiate

verb [with object]

win or regain the favor of (a god, spirit, or person) by doing something that pleases them: the pagans thought it was important to propitiate the gods with sacrifices.

[The Iliad of Homer – Trans. Richmond Lattimore]

Prurient

adjective

having or encouraging an excessive interest in sexual matters: she’d been the subject of much prurient curiosity.

[Tess Myers, in conversation, after we agreed we’d both used this word but had never actually looked it up]