, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 75-90
Date: 25 Mar 2010

Towards a taxonomy of the preface in English, French, and German

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In his article “Towards a Taxonomy of the Preface in English, French, and German” Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek asks whether the preface can be considered a genre in its own right and presents a selected taxonomy of this text type in English-, French-, and German-language scholarship. In prefatorial taxonomy in the languages at hand, some terms were more frequently used at a particular time, while some were used more specifically than others. In the nineteenth century, but also at present, in both English and French it is the term “preface” or “préface,” which best expresses and is most used for this type of text. In German the most often used term is “Vorwort,” whose meaning is analogous to “preface” and “préface” (it should be noted here that German-language scholarship in particular has contributed much to the study of the preface; also, the volume of German-language prefatory taxonomy is significant). Based on selected texts on the preface and their taxonomies suggest that the preface is a genre in its own right.