An epigraph is a brief quotation, phrase, or poem that is placed at the beginning of a longer work, such as a book or a chapter, to suggest its theme or to set the tone for the story that follows.

Epigraphs can be drawn from a variety of sources, including literature, poetry, religious texts, historical documents, and popular culture. They are often used by authors to create a connection between their work and the larger cultural or intellectual traditions in which it is situated.

Epigraphs can serve several different purposes. They can introduce a theme, offer a commentary on the events or characters in the work, provide a context for the story, or create a sense of mystery or ambiguity. They can also be used as literary devices to create a mood or tone for the work.

Examples of well-known epigraphs include:

  • “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1, The Bible
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