What is preface?

What Does preface Mean

Before proceeding to enter fully into the approach and analysis of the meaning of the term preface, it is necessary to determine its etymological origin. In this sense, we can establish that it comes from Latin, more precisely from the word “praefatio” which can be translated as “speak first”.

This word is the result of the sum of two components: the prefix "prae-", which is synonymous with "before", and the verb "fari", which is equivalent to "speak".
Preface is a term that refers to a section or introductory part of a publication . It is the preamble that is located at the beginning of a book or other type of printed work and that, in general, works as a kind of guide for the reader.
The preface is written before the rest of the work . In it, the author can mention his goals and intentions. The preface can also serve as an introduction to a novel and be part of its actions (narrating events prior to those that will be the axis of the plot).

From time immemorial the preface has been used. Thus, for example, we know that in ancient times it was used as the initial part of a work, although each civilization or culture carried them out in one way or another.
In this sense, it has survived to this day that the Greeks bet on making a short and very simple preface, while the Romans developed it in a very general way, so it could be used to start various types of works.
In any type of literary work it is interesting to have a preface. However, where it becomes a fundamental piece is, without a doubt, in theatrical works. The reason is very simple: in it the author can propose ideas, arguments, lines and sketches of a wide series of elements that he has wanted to transmit in his work but that perhaps cannot be perceived as he would have liked in what are the dialogues that they maintain the different characters.
A clear example of this can be found in the preface that Moliére carried out in his work "Tartufo", where he guides and enriches the public with different approaches and orientations.
It should be noted that the term is often used as a synonym for prologue : in fact, that is how it is mentioned in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) . That is why many writers and editors do not differentiate between the two concepts. For others, on the other hand, the prologue resembles the preface in that both are placed at the beginning of the book, but the prologue is written at the end of the work.
The prologue, on the other hand, can be written by a third party . This is common when it comes to an author who publishes his first book or who is not yet recognized, so he asks another writer with greater importance to take care of the foreword. This signature serves as a support for the new book and contributes to its dissemination.

In the preface, in short, the author can explain the reasons that lead him to write the work in question and anticipate how the writing process will develop.
Another use of the concept of preface is found in the liturgy of Christianity and makes mention of the moment of the mass that precedes the canon . The preface is a prayer that allows to thank God and that gives rise to the canon where the Eucharist is consecrated.

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