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(ăn`ĭkdōt'), brief narrative of a particular incident. An anecdote differs from a short storyshort story,
brief prose fiction. The term covers a wide variety of narratives—from stories in which the main focus is on the course of events to studies of character, from the "short short" story to extended and complex narratives such as Thomas Mann's Death in Venice.
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 in that it is unified in time and space, is uncomplicated, and deals with a single episode. The literal Greek meaning of the word is "not published," and it still retains some such sense of confidentiality. Sometimes an anecdote is inserted into a novel as an interval in the main plot, as in Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Famous books of anecdotes include the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus and Plutarch's Lives.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a brief story about some insignificant but characteristic event drawn from the life of a historical personage. In modern word usage (from the middle of the 19th century) an anecdote also refers to a short, oral, humorous story with an unexpected and witty ending.

In the first sense of the term, “anecdote” was used in conjunction with the satirical Secret History by Procopius of Caesarea. Later the term “anecdote” began to be applied to minor narrative genres of a comic nature, often with a sharp political content. In West European literature, for instance, the fabliau and the facetiae developed especially during the Renaissance—for example, Poggio Bracciolini’s Facetiae. In Russia the anecdote first became widespread in the second half of the 18th century (the collections of N. Kurganov, P. Semenov, and others). The anecdote has become widespread in modern urban folklore.


Maslova, E. “K istorii anekdoticheskoi literatury XVIII v.” In Sbornik statei ν chest’ akademika A. 1. Sobolevskogo. (Sb. otd. rus. iaz. i slovesnosti AN SSSR, vol. 101, no. 3.) Leningrad, 1928.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"What we can't do is cherry-pick data or use anecdotal evidence to drive policy or to feed political agendas," Obama said in Oc
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Anecdotal advice and comments on knitting lore, Knitting Notes includes knitting dreams, superstitions and tales; as well as advise on the successful creation of a knitting project.
This red and gold-embossed hardcover features an entertaining and anecdotal biography of Tzu, a preface by the translator and appendices containing biographies on the commentators and Wu Ch'i's 'Art of War,' an assemblage of strategies designed by that man compiled after his execution in 381 BC.
Moreover, we have seen anecdotal reports of persons with clinical signs and symptoms of Lyme disease and epidemiologic evidence that suggests local acquisition.
Rosen rakes us on an anecdotal journey through this "new Iraq," chronologically intertwining his own experiences there with the historical and broader political and ethnic reasons for the country's relatively rapid decline into chaos.
Robert Epstein ["Is Gay a Choice?" March 14] is misusing "science" to support ex-gay propaganda, just as Christians are misusing "intelligent design." Anecdotal evidence of "selfoproclaimed ex-gays" doesn't prove his claim that some gays can switch.
At the conclusion of the 6-week group career counseling experience, anecdotal comments from students indicated that they had learned about their interests, occupations, postsecondary opportunities, and decision-making approach and how to improve their positive self-talk.
Gurney's fast-paced and thoroughly informative history of the compass--enriched by an anecdotal narrative style', nicely supplemented with drawings, illustrations, and a bibliography of more than 170 sources; and fortified by documentation gleaned from hundreds of diaries, logs, and firsthand accounts--draws upon an assorted cast of historic characters (sailors, explorers, scientists, and engineers) as well as on diverse disciplines (astronomy, mathematics, geography, oceanography, meteorology, cartography, and medicine).
To support this claim as more than an anecdotal truth, the authors did in-depth interviews of both business people and clergy.
Please e-mail any anecdotal evidence, issues and/or questions you have regarding this program to, so your concerns may be addressed with government personnel at that conference.