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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 ?
Published in 1900, this commentary by Nazm Tabatabai is one of the first complete commentaries and is also considered one of the best.
As is well known, Avenues wrote three kinds of commentaries on the De anima: an epitome or short commentary, a middle commentary, and the long commentary.
We look forward to publishing Commentaries that help us achieve our goal of advancing environmental health.
The Tyndale series is a large and still growing set of commentaries; many of the older editions are being updated or replaced with new ones.
These commentaries will obviously be of interest to students of Aquinas.
Jovinian and Rufinus, attacked in pamphlets, he deployed his attacks on hypocritical clergy and monks, loose-living women, and (in the regrettable Zeitgeist) Jews across his biblical commentaries, homilies, and letters.
As always, BBC Radio Cymru will broadcast a comprehensive sports programme in the Welsh language featuring commentaries - including many of Wrexham's games - and reports from a variety of matches and events.
Now, as far as I know, Hyman is our only member to have inspired the creation of a website condemning his television commentaries, while attempting to enlist viewers in boycotting companies advertising on Sinclair's sixty-seven stations.
Both stations have extended their deals to air match commentaries of all of Boro's first team games, rights they have shared for the past three years.
Given how few filmmakers seem capable of telling stories anymore, it shouldn't come as a surprise that so many of their audio commentaries on DVD are rambling, uninformative affairs.
The structure of the book envisages a uniform treatment of the material in all chapters: a summary of Aristotle's text, followed by an account of various Greek commentaries, followed by Arabic versions of Meteorology by Ibn al-Bitriq and Hunayn ibn Ishaq and an Arabic version of the paraphrase by Pseudo-Olympiodorus.
Electronic Surveillance: Commentaries and Statutes, the fourth volume in the National Institute for Trial Advocacy's (NITA) Practice Commentary Series, presents a practical overview of electronic surveillance and security issues as impacted by the USA Patriot Act and subsequent legislative changes.