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anecdote (ănˈĭkdōtˌ), brief narrative of a particular incident. An anecdote differs from a short story 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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Musical and Socio-Cultural Anecdotes from Kitab al-Aghani al-Kabir: Annotated Translations and Commentaries
Having become an essential part of people's festive season over the past 12 years and the perfect anecdote to brighten those winter nights and get everyone in the mood for a wonderful festive period, Songbook is an unmissable night of heart-warming entertainment from some of Scotland's best-known and best-loved musicians.
Known for his witty observational comedy ranging from politics to traffic, he's one of the best in the comic field as he has a string of humorous anecdotes up his sleeve.
115-84 for the shi stratum and its modes of political behavior.) Therefore, despite Milburn's insistence that many of the anecdotes in Yanzi chunqiu "may be extremely ancient" (p.
In a series of tweets Thursday night, Musk contested this version of events, calling this one "of all the bogus anecdotes" in the book, the one that "troubles" him the most.
She sets a lively pace with anecdotes that showcase praiseworthy corporate cultures.
The Anecdotes of the 20th Century performance, consisting of humorous stories, poems, anecdotes and tales of actors with the participation of Honored Artist of Russia Mikhail Chernyak, will be demonstrated to the audience.
As many as 350 anecdotes have been attributed to the Hodja, as he most often is called.
COMEDIAN Jason Cook is calling on people's funny anecdotes for his new radio show.
I've been here five years, she's been here five minutes, but that didn't stop her from reeling off a list of tedious anecdotes about crazy taxi drivers, red tape and estate agents.
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.
But they still need stories and anecdotes surrounding the building of the majestic city landmark.