Glossary of Poetic Terms
The appearance of being true, or a likeness to truth. Verisimilitude is related to mimesis or imitation, though it is also connected to ideas of literary decorum and proper use of conventions. Verisimilitude can thus exist in both works of literary realism and fantasy, since readers’s perceptions of the “reality” of a work may depend on the inner consistency of elements (such as character, language, plot) and not just the work’s fidelity to a preexisting outer world. Though more often associated with fiction, the principle of verisimilitude can be seen in poetry from Homer and Virgil, and in the poetry of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose “willing suspension of disbelief” is also introduced into discussions of the technique.