(redirected from epigraphs)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


a quotation at the beginning of a book, chapter, etc., suggesting its theme
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



since the 14th century, a quotation used to open a work of literature or part of a work. Sources for epigraphs are folk literature, the Bible, aphorisms, fiction, and letters. Sometimes writers compose their own epigraphs. The epigraph introduces a fresh point of view to the topic under consideration, elucidating its meaning and indicating the traditions with which the work is linked.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
With its epigraph from Lolita, part 5, "Little Miss Footnote," intensifies Ugresic's theme: "Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished manuscript." Here we learn how librarian Dorothy Leuthold, who chauffeured the Nabokovs to California, "became an essential footnote to the history of modern literature," the butterfly Nabokov named for her "her entry ticket to eternity." In part 6, the narrator lectures at Scuola Holden, a real institution where students apparently learn that all texts are equal and everyone can tell stories.
Clough's apparent source was not a French novel but the short story of a French novelist, Arsene Houssaye--more specifically, the story as first published in a French literary journal a decade before Clough began work on Amours de voyage and two decades before Houssaye's revisions of the tale for book publication eliminated nearly all of the text on which Clough's epigraph appears to have been based.
After this epigraph there is a smaller arch, which depicts the figures of Shapour II and his son Shapour III, and above each of these impression the personalities of epigraph have been introduced in Pahlavi Sassanid script.
The crucial part of the epigraph is the second half.
O'Brien's epigraphs also ask us to read more deeply for thematic resonance: the "Proteus" episode is set at the seashore, connecting it not only to the recurrent water imagery of O'Brien's novel but to Stephen's famous earlier epiphany in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, an epiphany that is reworked in the final chapter of O'Brien's text.
Eiluned Lewis's novel may be seen as an embodiment of Wordsworth epigraph to the Immortality Ode: "The Child is father of the Man; And I could wish my days to be, bound each to each in natural piety," except that Lewis changes the gender of the Child: her "Lucy" is mother of the woman and author.
Though, with the best advice of the epigraphs, I know that "Dieting is social control of women"; that "Fear of fat keeps women preoccupied, robs us of our pride and energy, keeps us from taking up space"; that "Fat women in this culture are battered women," I could rarely muster up a good head of anger when I read these stories.
In "Other Writers, Other Looms: Richard Wright's Use of Epigraphs in Two Novels," she focuses on how the modernist epigraphs that Wright uses to introduce his chapters help illuminate themes; however, she argues that, while "the texture of a rather thin novel is enriched by its accompanying thematic allusion ...
In a boldly unconventional structure, original verse epigraphs frequently preface Emerson's essays.
The epistemological and ontological rubric established by two epigraphs provides the formal foundation for The Trolley, a wonderful novel that is a splendid addition to Claude Simon's oeuvre.
One of the chapter's epigraphs is the Pauline condemnation of doing evil so that good may come of it (Romans 3:8).
On the wall of the entrance hall hang cards and photos of dozens of pets loved and lost, with epigraphs from bereaved owners like 'Sam--my best boy waiting in heaven' and 'For Bellamy--our first best hairiest friend.'"