pathetic fallacy

pathetic fallacy

noun
the endowment of nature, inanimate objects, etc., with human traits and feelings, as in the smiling skies; the angry sea.

Origin:
coined by John Ruskin in Modern Painters Vol. III, Part IV (1856)

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World English Dictionary
pathetic fallacy
 
n
(in literature) the presentation of inanimate objects in nature as possessing human feelings

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

pathetic fallacy

poetic practice of attributing human emotion or responses to nature, inanimate objects, or animals. The practice is a form of personification that is as old as poetry, in which it has always been common to find smiling or dancing flowers, angry or cruel winds, brooding mountains, moping owls, or happy larks. The term was coined by John Ruskin in Modern Painters (1843-60). In some classical poetic forms such as the pastoral elegy, the pathetic fallacy is actually a required convention. In Milton's "On The Morning of Christ's Nativity," all aspects of nature react affectively to the event of Christ's birth.The Stars with deep amazeStand fixt in steadfast gaze

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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