Aphorism
(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, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 19 August 2018 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_016934>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321



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