Standing between the title and the text, they “indicate the leading idea or sentiment” of a work, but this vastly simplifies the real situation, which has more to do with action than meaning. Epigraphs escort us safely across the boundary between the title page and the story. Easing us into narrative, epigraphs make us pause and notice the transition from the world to the work, from life to the novel. They slow us down—which is why we often skip them.
Rachel Sagner Buurma Reviews Rosemary Ahern's "The Art Of The Epigraph: How Great Books Begin " | The New Republic