(984 words)

An aphorism is a contextually isolated literary prose form, concise to the point of consisting only of a single sentence or even a single word; as an unsystematic reflection on experience on the boundary between philosophy and literature, it relies to a special degree on the reader’s cooperation. In principle an aphorism is non-fictional and often rhetorically or metaphorically striking. The criterion of authorial intention rules out quotations, punchlines, maxims, and short aphoristic texts merely excerpted by editors from genres like letters.

For the prehistory of the Germa…

Cite this page
Spicker, Friedemann, “Aphorism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 25 February 2018 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_016934>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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