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Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I realized recently that the word trope has changed meanings in my lifetime. A trope, for me, is any one of several figurative devices with fancy Greek names. But recently it has come to mean an overused narrative device or television cliché. Of course, those clichés might also be tropes in the sense that they are figurative. How did this shift take place.


Thomas said...

My theory is that trope was at some point confused with topos by students (and perhaps their teachers) in interdisciplinary programs like cultural studies.

Andrew Shields said...

There's the TV tropes site, but perhaps that came after the shift.

That site, though, is not meant to dismiss the tropes presented there, but to provide an encyclopedia of them.