An epigraph is a literary device within the form of a poem, quotation, or sentence – commonly located at the beginning of a document or a simple piece – having some sentences, however which belongs to another author. An epigraph can serve different purposes, such as it may be used as a summary, introduction, example, or an affiliation with some famous literary work, with the intention to draw a comparison, or to generate a selected context for the piece.
Epigraph is a completely sophisticated shape of literary tool that can simply brush up a story very well. Nevertheless, a question that usually comes to thoughts approximately this tool is why an epigraph is constantly used in the beginning. Sometimes, whilst you are done studying a ebook, you are so swamped via the tale that it makes you need to keep the book close to your chest and transfer everything in it in your soul directly. It is because the ebook is so splendid that it makes us need to don't forget the whole lot in it. Now, believe how moving it would be to show the final page thinking you have got finished the e-book, and right there you discover an epigraph that displays on the whole thing you simply examine.
Examples of Epigraph in Literature
Example #1: Heart of Darkness (By Joseph Conrad)
Many well-known poems offer true examples of epigraph. For instance, “Mistah Kurtz, he useless,” is a line from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, which turned into used within the famous poem The Hollow Men by using T. S. Eliot to explain how cutting-edge humans have dead souls, like the individual Kurtz of Heart of Darkness. It is due to the fact they have got taken materialism as their demigod, and normal its domination, filing their spirits to it like Kurtz did.
Example #2: Life: A User’s Manual (By Georges Perec)
The epigraphs used in the preface of Georges Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual (La Vie mode d’emploi) notify the reader earlier that the entirety isn't what it seems, and that tricks are going to be played.
Example #3: The Brothers Karamazov (By Fyodor Dostoevsky)
Epigraph examples are also discovered in philosophical novels. The epigraph utilized by Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov is from the Holy Bible, specifically John 12:24. It says:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, besides a corn of wheat fall into the floor and die, it abideth alone: but if it dies, it bringeth forth an awful lot fruit.”
Example #4: The Sun Also Rises (By Ernest Hemingway)
Ernest Hemingway used Gertrude Stein’s well-known citation, “You are all a misplaced generation,” within the starting of his book The Sun Also Rises. Through this epigraph, Hemingway shows us the entire period wherein they were compelled to live. The lost generation phrase as coined with the aid of Steinbeck was without a doubt reflected via Hemingway in his other pieces as well, but this novel proved to be a mouthpiece for the misplaced generation.
Example #5: The Godfather (By Mario Puzo)
“Behind every fantastic fortune there's a crime.”
This is a translated citation from Honoré de Balzac given in The Godfather, a famous novel with the aid of Mario Puzo. The epigraph given in this novel gives the real image of a gangster who earns a whole lot of wealth, and wields lots manage over the lives of others. The Godfather is a true reflection of what its epigraph suggests.
Function of Epigraph
The use of epigraph in an authentic work can create some thing very intriguing. It can be used as a thematic gatekeeper, via taking excerpts from influential authors to introduce human beings on your own ideas. It may be used inside the form of quotations, proverbs, lyrics, lines, or verses, or even elements of a conversation. It can also be used to set the temper of the readers inside the very starting, for the prose they may be to study next.
A creator can also give readers a preview of his notions and inspirations via an epigraph. Although the position of an epigraph in a piece may seem very insignificant, it is able to be very instructive, if used cleverly. An epigraph deepens the readers’ interest in the narrative much like an appetizer will increase your urge for food for a meal. It can also be used in places wherein the author desires to highlight a specific factor with the help of an already current concept.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw