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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
And while he called the book "mostly correct," Musk took issue with some of the anecdotes in it, particularly its depiction of how he parted ways with his long-time assistant Mary Beth Brown.
And suddenly, your partner can't concentrate on what the other woman is saying anymore, because you're telling Your Anecdote, and all she can hear is certain key phrases - "so we called the AA.." or, .."and that was when the clown came in, holding a knife.." or, "so I said 'we haven't got any mice, officer'.."
After his apple-ripping stunt brought the house down during the previous series, Mortimer steals the show again tonight with two lengthy anecdotes from his childhood that are guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes.
A cricket writer, Michael Atherton, who reviewed Cowan's book "In The Firing Line: Diary of a Season", also reproduced in his work an anecdote about Pieterson not being able to recognise bread and butter pudding when it was served to players at Bellerive Oval.
In the first of these studies (Rooke and Malouff, 2006), individuals in the experimental condition received information about how to use expressive writing to reduce distress and received a written anecdote about a person who used the method and benefitted.
In a statement, a CEHR spokesman said: "Trevor gave a speech at a private event, during which he did tell an anecdote. However, the comments were not meant to cause offence to anyone.
Exposes of programs like Straight or Florida's government-run boot camps almost always include positive anecdotes along with the accounts of abuse.
--Shakespeare While reading Jazz Anecdotes, I was reminded of the opening line of Shakespeare's sonnet 30 that I learned quite by accident as a college freshman.
As Prufrock might have put it, "The women come and go/ Proffering their ice-creamed elbows." Nor, you'll be pleased to hear, is this the only anecdote involving poets and dairy products.
From there, Feldman segues into an overview of what a producer does, drops intriguing hints of his early career in publicity, lays out a few rules of producing and explains how he fired Dennis Hopper early in "The Truman Show." All this in the first chapter, titled, "What I Do Is Produce," which ends with the Elizabeth Taylor anecdote.
The collective mode of production typified by Riedel's "anecdote conferences" is characteristic of most of his projects; when you invite him to an opening, at least four people show up.
Certain anecdotes about turning around troubled businesses are so poignant that everyone should know them by heart.