1. I absolutely love the epigraphs (in front of every single chapter, no less) in Watership Down. Because I’ve read that book so many times, I now see the significance of each quote which I missed on the first reading. Also, some of them are quite difficult, so it took multiple readings and growing older to fully understand their significance (I’m not even sure I fully understand all of them now, after 10+ years of re-readings). Each is so well chosen and powerful – this is definitely my favorite use of the epigraph by any author.

  2. Epigraphs feel ancient to me, like lengthy descriptions of things interrupting the story. It’s not that I mind them quite as much as someone trying to one-up Henry James’s prose, but when they migrate to chapters, it starts to feel like literary showmanship.

    That said, when I read this post, I realized I had an epigraph at the start of my current novel. I haven’t decided if I’ll keep it, but the paragraph (not a quote, real or imagined) that starts my novel does hint at the central theme and provides an insight into the protagonists mind.

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