What is digression?

  • (noun): Wandering from the main path of a journey.
    Synonyms: excursion
    See also — Additional definitions below

Digression

Digression (parekbasis in Greek, egressio, digressio and excursion in Latin) is a section of a composition or speech that is an intentional change of subject. In Classical rhetoric since Corax of Syracuse, especially in Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian, the digression was a regular part of any oration or composition. (An oratorical discourse should have five sections: prelude, narration, argumentation, digression and conclusion. But, the place of digression is not fixed, so it can come before or after argumentation). After setting out the topic of a work and establishing the need for attention to be given, the speaker or author would digress to a seemingly disconnected subject before returning to a development of the composition's theme, a proof of its validity, and a conclusion. This use of the digression is still noticeable in many sermons: after the topic, the speaker will introduce a "story" that seems to be unrelated, return to the subject, and then reveal how the story illustrates the speaker's point. A schizothemia is a digression by means of a long reminiscence. Cicero was a master of digression, particularly in his ability to shift from the specific question or issue at hand (the hypothesis) to the more general issue or question that it depended upon (the thesis). As was the case with most ancient orators, Cicero's apparent digression always turned out to bear directly upon the issue at hand. During the Second Sophist (in Imperial Rome), the ability to guide a speech away from a stated theme and then back again with grace and skill came to be a mark of true eloquence.

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Some articles on digression:

Digress
... Digression (parekbasis in Greek, egressio, digressio and excursion in Latin) is a section of a composition or speech that is an intentional change of subject ... especially in Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian, the digression was a regular part of any oration or composition ... sections prelude, narration, argumentation, digression and conclusion ...
Argonautica - Information Charts - Itinerary
... In a digression, the poet also explains the origin of the Etesian winds, associated with the myth of Aristaeus and some sacrificial rites still practised on the island of Ceos Thynias Their landfall after ... In a digression, the poet tells us how the paean sung here originated with the Corycian nymphs ... his expedition against the Amazons In a digression, the poet tells the story of Sinope, the nymph settled here by Zeus ...
Topographical Poetry - In The Romantic Era
... to preside over Wootton in all the Seasons.—A Digression.—Pillars of Ice during the Winter from the Rocks.—Frost, his Threats.—Triumph of Flora.—Empress of Russia ... Storm on the Hare, Fieldfare, and Village Dog, c.—Sun-rife.—Return from the Digression.—Local Scenery near Wootton.—Mr ... nature and the effect of the seasons, makes a politically charged digression, takes on a prospect-view, represents different times of day, caves, and rivers, and alludes to classical guardianship ...
Digression
... Digression (parekbasis in Greek, egressio, digressio and excursion in Latin) is a section of a composition or speech that is an intentional change of subject ... since Corax of Syracuse, especially in Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian, the digression was a regular part of any oration or composition ... (An oratorical discourse should have five sections prelude, narration, argumentation, digression and conclusion ...
A Tale Of A Tub - The Tale - Overview
... Tub is divided between various forms of digression and sections of a "tale." The "tale," or narrative, is an allegory that concerns the adventures of three brothers, Peter, Martin, and Jack, as they attempt to make ... the first three sections), the book alternates between Digression and Tale ... However, the digressions overwhelm the narrative, both in terms of the forcefulness and imaginativeness of writing and in terms of volume ...

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Famous quotes containing the word digression:

    The more learned a writer, the more digression beckons him.
    Mason Cooley (b. 1927)