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Literature Glossary

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.

Suspension Of Disbelief


We can think of suspension of disbelief as putting aside our doubt or skepticism for the sake of a good story—even if that story has crazy fantastic stuff in it like flying monkeys or talking cars. Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge cooked up the idea of a "willing suspension of disbelief" in his 1815 Biographia Literaria, where he referred to it as "poetic faith."

Suspension of disbelief is especially important when reading in genres like Magical Realism, Gothic Literature, Science Fiction, or Fantasy, where some weird stuff is bound to go down.

Example? Yes, we know that vampires don't exist, but the Twilight series is still a guilty pleasure, and we know you're willing to dive in headfirst and immerse yourself in their supernatural world.