Blurb  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A blurb is a short summary or some words of praise accompanying a creative work, usually referring to the words on the back of the book but also commonly seen on DVD and video cases.

History

The word originated in 1907. American humorist Gelett Burgess's short 1906 book "Are you a bromide?" was presented in a limited edition to an annual trade association dinner. The custom at such events was to have a dust jacket promoting the work and with, as Burgess' publisher B. W. Huebsch described it,

"the picture of a damsel — languishing, heroic, or coquettish — anyhow, a damsel on the jacket of every novel"

In this case the jacket proclaimed "YES, this is a 'BLURB'!" and the picture was of a (fictitious) young woman "Miss Belinda Blurb" shown calling out, described as "in the act of blurbing."

The name and term stuck for any publisher's contents on a book's back cover, even after the picture was dropped and only the complementary text remained.

Today

A blurb on a book or a film can be any combination of quotes from the work, the author, the publisher, reviewers or fans, a summary of the plot, a biography of the author or simply claims about the importance of the work. Many humorous books and films parody blurbs that deliver exaggerated praise by unlikely people and insults disguised as praise.

The Harvard Lampoon satire of Lord of the Rings, entitled Bored of the Rings, deliberately used phony blurbs by deceased authors on the inside cover. One of the blurbs stated "One of the two or three books...", and nothing else.

In the 1980s, Spy Magazine ran a regular feature called "Logrolling in Our Time" which exposed writers who wrote blurbs for one anothers' books. On the Internet a blurb is used to give a brief description or promotion of an article or other larger work.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Blurb" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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