I'm seeking a single English word I recently learned (and then promptly forgot!) --a specialized technical term meaning fictional writing focused around the depiction of another work of art (e.g. a painting, piece of music or a play).

Example: Walter Moers' ______ book The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books really strongly evoked the sensation of sitting in a theater, watching a play.

This is a real English word, but not one in common general use --you would expect it in an academic context, or to be used by a professional critic.

  • descriptive
    – user 85795
    Oct 17, 2018 at 14:37
  • Ode to, nod to, homage (French loanword now incorporated into English), or their more pejorative cousins, like rip-off, etc?
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 17, 2018 at 14:43
  • No, this is a technical term. I've edited my question to clarify. Oct 17, 2018 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


ekphrasis as in "The Picture of Dorian Gray is an ekphrastic novel."

  • 1
    Thank you! It proved to be hard to search, and the closest thing I could think of was "eidetic" which is not quite the same. Oct 17, 2018 at 15:16
  • 1
    You learn something new every day. I was unable to figure this out by searching and was so curious that I was refreshing the page every couple of minutes until this answer appeared.
    – Colm
    Oct 17, 2018 at 15:16
  • 3
    Hi Yubei Tang, welcome to ELU StackExchange! Thank you for answering the question. Please edit to include an explanation, context, and supporting facts. you can offer evidence, such as the definition from a good online dictionary, or contrast your answer with other answers. Whatever will make this the “right” answer. This is what makes answers useful – to the asker, and to future visitors. Kindly see: “Real questions have answers, not items or ideas or opinions”.
    – bookmanu
    Oct 17, 2018 at 17:24
  • What's the definition?
    – BruceWayne
    Oct 17, 2018 at 22:10

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