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Encyclopedia > Epigraph (literature)

In literature, an epigraph is a quotation that is placed at the start of a work or section that expresses in some succinct way an aspect or theme of what is to follow. Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ...


The epigraph may serve as a banner, to link the work to a wider literary canon, either to invite comparison or to enlist a conventional context. The long quotation from Dante's Inferno that prefaces T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is part of a speech by one of the damned souls in Dante's Hell. Linking it to the monologue which forms Eliot's poem adds a comment and a dimension to Prufrock's confession. The epigraph to Eliot's "Gerontion" is a quotation from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Dante in a fresco series of famous men by Andrea del Castagno, ca. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Thomas Stearns Eliot (September 26, 1888 - January 4, 1965), was a major Modernist Anglo-American poet, dramatist, and literary critic. ... The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (composed February 1910 - July 1911) is the main poem in the book Prufrock and Other Observations published by T. S. Eliot in 1917, which marked the start of his career as a writer. ... Measure for Measure is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1603. ...


The epigraphs to the preamble of Georges Perec's Life: A User's Manual (La Vie mode d'emploi) and to the book as a whole warn the reader that tricks are going to be played and that all will not be what it seems. Image of artist Georges Perec (March 7, 1936 - March 3, 1982) was a 20th century French novelist, filmmaker and essayist, a member of the Oulipo group and considered by many to be one of the most important post-WWII authors. ...


Some authors use fictional quotations that purport to be related to the fiction of the work itself. For example, Stephen King's Misery has epigraphs taken from the fictitious novels written by the protagonist; Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair has quotations from supposedly future works about the action of the story. Some science fiction authors (Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy is an example) are fond of using quotations from an imagined future history of the period of their story. This can be seen as a way of claiming authenticity for a work of the imagination. For other people named Stephen King, see Stephen King (disambiguation). ... Misery is a novel by Stephen King, published in 1987. ... The Eyre Affair is the first novel written by Jasper Fforde. ... Isaac Asimov, Ph. ... Hari Seldons holographic image, pictured on a paperback edition of Foundation, appears at various times in the First Foundations history, to guide it through the social and economic crises that befall it. ...


 
 

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