Definitions for paratext
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In literary theory, meanings that are alluded to, above or beyond the printed text; interpretations of text.
Origin: para- + text
Paratext is a concept in literary interpretation. The main text of published authors is often surrounded by other material supplied by editors, printers, and publishers, which is known as the paratext. These added elements form a frame for the main text, and can change the reception of a text or its interpretation by the public. Paratext is most often associated with books, as they typically include a cover, title, front matter, back matter footnotes, and many other materials not crafted by the author. Other editorial decisions can also fall into the category of paratext, such as the formatting or typography. Because of their close association with the text, it seems that authors should be given the final say about paratextual materials, but often that is not the case. One recent example of controversy surrounding paratext is the case of the young adult novel Liar, which was initially published with an image of a white girl on the cover, although the narrator of the story was identified in the text as black. The concept of paratext is closely related to the concept of hypotext, which is the earlier text that serves as a source for the current text.
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