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motif (in literature)

motif (mōtēf´), in literature, term that denotes the recurrent presence of certain character types, objects, settings, or situations in diverse genres and periods of folklore and literature. Examples of motifs include swords, money, food, jewels, forests, oceans, castles, dungeons, tests of skill or wisdom, journeys, separations and reunions, chaos brought to order. Motifs are not restricted to literature. Hans von Wolzogen coined the term leitmotiv [Ger.,=guiding motive] to describe Richard Wagner's use of a recurring musical phrase to reinforce the emotional impact of characters, situations, and themes in his operas. The visual arts often rely on motifs to communicate deeper levels of meaning: The bison and deer painted on the walls of the caves at Lascaux represent both threat and survival, superior strength or speed, and food supply; the endlessly rocking cradle in D. W. Griffith's film Intolerance suggests rebirth and the inescapable frailties of the human condition (see symbol; archetype).

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"motif (in literature)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"motif (in literature)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/motif-literature

"motif (in literature)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/motif-literature

motif

mo·tif / mōˈtēf/ • n. a decorative design or pattern: T-shirts featuring spiral motifs. ∎  a distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition: the nautical motif of his latest novel. ∎  Mus. a short succession of notes producing a single impression; a brief melodic or rhythmic formula out of which longer passages are developed: the motif in the second violin is submerged by the first violin's countermelody. ∎  an ornament of lace, braid, etc., sewn separately on a garment. ∎  Biochem. a distinctive sequence on a protein or DNA, having a three-dimensional structure that allows binding interactions to occur.

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"motif." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"motif." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif-0

"motif." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif-0

motif

motif (Fr.; Eng. motive; Ger. motiv). The shortest intelligible and self-existent melodic or rhythmic figure (e.g. the first 4 notes of Beethoven's 5th Sym.). Every ‘theme’ or ‘subject’ perhaps has several motifs, and almost every mus. passage will be found to be a development of some motif. But the word has, in mus. analysis, been used as a synonym for ‘theme’; and Wagner's extension of it to leitmotiv has further complicated the issue. The adjective ‘motivic’ is an invention of analytical writers, functional but ugly and better avoided.

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"motif." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"motif." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif

"motif." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif

Motif

MOTIF.

This entry includes two subentries:

Motif in Literature
Motif in Music

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"Motif." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Motif." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif

"Motif." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif

motif

motif XIX. — F., ‘MOTIVE’.

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"motif." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"motif." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif-1

"motif." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif-1

motif (in music)

motif, in music: see motive.

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"motif (in music)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"motif (in music)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/motif-music

"motif (in music)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/motif-music

motif

motifaperitif, beef, belief, brief, chief, enfeoff, fief, grief, interleaf, leaf, Leif, lief, Mazar-e-Sharif, misbelief, motif, naif, O'Keeffe, reef, seif, Sharif, sheaf, shereef, sportif, Tenerife, thief •tea leaf • fig leaf • bas-relief • flyleaf •drop-leaf • broadleaf • cloverleaf •massif • leitmotif

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"motif." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"motif." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif

"motif." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/motif