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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This commentary by Bekhud Dehlvi, published in 1924, stresses Ghalib's diction and Delhi idiom for understanding Ghalib.
The former Australian opening batsman will be in the HBL PSL 2019 commentary box for the first week of the tournament.
This is a remarkable work, and more than any other volume in the JPS Commentary series so far, provides a text to be studied, pored over, and analyzed, in the manner of classical commentaries throughout history.
I'm sure I heard one of the two men actually say something along the lines of 'Can somebody else do the commentary I'm too excited!' And when Jennie Jones' last rival for a podium place hit the snow there were yells of approval from the commentary box.
Even so, Allen's book is what it intends to be: a biblical commentary that is particularly valuable for preaching that follows the lectionary readings.
I fancy Fred would not have been impressed by having women in the commentary box.
Commentary can be considered as an art, where for different sports commentators use different styles.
Cricketing website Test Match Sofa, a twist on the BBC's Test Match Special, has built a large following providing irreverent alternative commentary for series and tournaments involving England, the paper reported.
Precisely at this point the commentary under review comes into play.
"The first commentary was included in our August 2011 newsletter that goes to about 3,000 members and nonmembers," association President David Spath, PhD, MS, told The Nation's Health.
Welcome the most recent one-volume commentary on the Bible, including the books of the Apocrypha (including 3 and 4 Maccabees and Psalm 151), i.e., the contents of the NRSV.
The small-business commentary highlights some of the criticisms recently aimed at small business, chief among them that politicians give preferential treatment to small business.