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Confined to the simplest primary meaning of a word, statement, or text, as distinct from any figurative sense (see figure) which it may carry—whether ironic, allegorical, metaphoric, or symbolic. Thus the literal sense of a text is its most straightforward meaning. Literalism is a tendency to interpret texts according to their most obvious meaning, often disregarding their connotations as well as their figurative senses. A literal translation is one that tries as far as possible to transfer each element of a text from one language into the other, without allowance for differences of idiom between the two languages.

Subjects: Literature.

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