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(1) Book commentaries (or notes) are explanations of a text, constituting part of the scholarly reference apparatus of a book (collected works, memoirs, translated works, and documentary and other publications).

As a rule such explanations are provided by the editor rather than the author, and they include information about the origin and history of the text and about the work’s place in the history of writing (philosophy, culture, the humanities, or the natural sciences); information about the events, facts, and persons mentioned in the text; elucidation of the author’s allusions and “subtext” in works in the humanities, especially literary and publicistic works; and linguistic and other explanations necessary for a better understanding of the text by modern readers. Often commentaries also include an ideological (ideological-artistic) and scholarly interpretation of the work and the reasons for its publication, but more frequently these elements are provided in the introduction or foreword. The relationship between these various levels depends on the nature of the text and the purpose of the publication.

The commentary should be concise and easy to use and not duplicate material available in encyclopedias and other general reference books. The commentary is usually placed after the text and may take the form of an article or individual notes, and frequently these methods are combined. Commentaries to classical works may be published as separate books. Model commentaries are contained in the series Biblioteka poeta and the series Literaturnye memuary, both published by Khudozhestvennaia Literatura.

In antiquity commentaries were first used extensively in the works of the Alexandrian philologists of the third and second centuries B.C. In Russia the first commentaries began to appear at the turn of the 19th century. Scholia may be regarded as a type of commentary.


(2) In a system of mass information media the commentary is a type of analytical material designed to explain rapidly and efficiently the essence and significance of a current sociopolitical event or document. Commentaries may be used to explain events that play a positive role in society and to disseminate progressive methods and innovations, or they may be used to expose facts that manifest reactionary ideology and policies; commentaries of the last type are called critical, or polemical, commentaries. Commentaries commonly employ methods of analysis and comparison, various techniques of argument, and generalizations and conclusions. For operational efficiency, the commentary must, as a rule, be brief and concise, which does not, however, preclude the possibility of using vivid comparisons and metaphors to heighten its emotional impact.

(3) In ancient Rome historical works were called commentaries, for example, Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War.




in journalism, an article or radio or television broadcast that examines a number of related recent events and offers an analysis and evaluation. A commentary may focus on such topics as the sociopolitical, economic, or cultural aspects of contemporary life, or it may deal with sports.

References in periodicals archive ?
It is the first complete translation of the Long Commentary into a modern Western language, although we are told there is a modern Arabic translation, two partial French translations, and two Spanish translations of selections from it.
The commentary has a comprehensive index of more than 90 pages.
I reference books in my commentaries on the Joyner show, and I'll continue to reference books that I find of interest on The Smiley Report commentary," says Smiley.
This book on the oldest extant Christian commentary on Isaiah has two purposes.
Commentary on Article 1: Concerning the persons covered by the convention
Maybe I could have my IPO before ever having to issue a commentary on "Oral Sex No Solution to the Ethiopian Famine.
As a matter of practical principle [Zen] commentary refrains from exhaustive explanation, for this would crowd out the learner and undermine the very effort needed for the mental transformation" desired (Cleary, xxxviii).
Commentary in American Life (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, zoos); Neil Jumonville, Critical Crossings (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991); Norman Podhoretz, Making It (New York: Random House, 1967); Norman Podhoretz, Breaking Ranks (New York: Harper and Row, 1979); Norman Podhoretz, Ex-Friends (New York: Free Press, 1999); Diana Trilling, The Beginning of the Journey (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1993).
96) includes commentary with Boorman and interviews with Boorman and Binoche.
Otherwise, most of what fills the commentary track is the lingua franca of production: location hardships, numbers of takes, and lots of sighing over the wardrobe that got away: "Hey, what happened to that jacket?
participated in drafting the change to the Commentary and ultimately voted to adopt that change, the Model Treaty and the