context(redirected from contexts)
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a segment of a text or speech, relatively complete in thought, in which the sense and meaning of each of its words (phrases) or quoted expressions is set forth in the most concrete and exact way.
Outside of the context (“taken out of context”) in which a quotation is linked stylistically and semantically, it can take on another, even opposite, meaning. In literature the context deter-mines the concrete content, the expressiveness, and the stylistic nuances not only of individual words, phrases, and utterances but of the different artistic methods as well (including poetic figures and verse rhythms). The context also determines the stylistic choice of words (for example, A. Blok wrote a note about the character of Gaetan while he was working on his play The Rose and the Cross; “not eyes but orbs, not hair but curls, not mouth but lips”). Breaking the context destroys the artistic unity of a text and the artistic image itself (it is impossible, for example, to catch the irony of something outside of its context). Placing something out of context, however, is sometimes used for stylistic effects, as in the case of parody.