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Literary theorist Gérard Genette defines paratext as those things in a published work that accompany the text, things such as the author's name, the title, preface or introduction, or illustrations. The term gained currency after the publication of Genette's book Paratexts. Thresholds of interpretation.

Genette states "More than a boundary or a sealed border, the paratext is, rather, a threshold". It is "a zone between text and off-text, a zone not only of transition but also of transaction: a privileged place of pragmatics and a strategy, of an influence on the public, an influence that ... is at the service of a better reception for the text and a more pertinent reading of it". Then quoting Philippe Lejeune, Genette further describes paratext as "a fringe of the printed text which in reality controls one's whole reading of the text".


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