(56 words)
  • Editors

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.

A keyword in criticism of English poetry up until the late eighteenth century which now tends to be coloured with the sense of the merely clever and humorous. In the Renaissance it meant 'intelligence' or 'wisdom'; in the seventeenth century it meant 'fancy' or 'agility of thought'; in the eighteenth century the ability to judge correctly.

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Editors. "Wit". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1191, accessed 05 May 2016.]