A Pretext for Writing: Prologues, Epilogues, and the Notion of Paratext

15 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2008

See all articles by Kristopher A. Nelson

Kristopher A. Nelson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Students

Date Written: June 12, 1998

Abstract

Paratext is the liminal matter that forms the bridge between the context of a text and the text itself. It can be the prologue written by the author or the printer or the epilogue that neatly wraps everything up or throws us for a loop. It can be the table of contents, the index, or the chapter titles. It can be marginal notes written by the reader before us. It can even be the book review published in the local newspaper.

What happens when we examine the paratext of two very different kinds of works: (1) a teaching edition of Spanish-language short stories and (2) prologues written by William Caxton, early English printer of works such as Le Morte Dearthur and the Canterbury Tales?

The goal is both to explore the works of Caxton, especially, and also to remind readers of the importance of everything else surrounding what we generally consider the core text.

Keywords: textual studies, Caxton, paratext, critical theory, printing

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Kristopher A., A Pretext for Writing: Prologues, Epilogues, and the Notion of Paratext (June 12, 1998). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1141062 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1141062

Kristopher A. Nelson (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Students ( email )

San Diego, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ekris.org

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