[PDF Notes] What do you mean by periphrasis or circumlocution

By periphrasis or circumlocution we mean a roundabout way of expression, or the expression of the sense of one word in many words. Pope used this device to overcome the use of words which were considered low, mean or commonplace.

Thus Pope does not use “fish” because it was considered a low word, but “funny prey”, he does not use “cup” but “earth of Chine.” Latinisms and personifications, too, are frequently used by him for the same reason, i.e. to achieve elevation and dignity. The use of “sol”, “irriguous” and “umbrageous” and only a few examples of the poet’s Latinity. Personifications not only impart elevation but also force and concentration.

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