excursus n : a message that departs from the main subject [syn: digression, aside, divagation, parenthesis]
EtymologyFrom excursus ‘excursion’.
- A fuller treatment (in a separate section) of a particular part of the text of a book, especially a classic.
- A narrative digression, especially to
discuss a particular issue.
- 1979, Kyril Bonfiglioli, After You with the Pistol, Penguin
2001, p. 204:
- Here is what us scholars call an excursus. If you are an honest man the following page or two can be of no possible interest to you.
- 2007, Glen Bowersock, ‘Provocateur’, London Review of Books
29:4, p. 16:
- In his excursus on the Jewish people at the opening of the fifth book of his Histories [...], Tacitus was at a loss to uncover any deep cause for the war that broke out in 66.
- 1979, Kyril Bonfiglioli, After You with the Pistol, Penguin 2001, p. 204:
An excursus (from Latin excurrere, "to run out of") is a short episode or anecdote in a work of literature. Often excursuses have nothing to do with the matter being discussed by the work, and are used to lighten the atmosphere in a tragic story, similar to the role of satyr plays in Greek theatre. Sometimes they are used to provide backstory to the matter being discussed at hand, as in Pseudo-Apollodorus' Bibliotheke.