An anecdote is a short narrative. The basis of the anecdote is a remarkable or characteristic event, usually from the life of a (known) personality. Here anecdotes characterize the respective personality sharply, since they show exemplary essential characteristics of the person. Another characteristic feature is the pointed end.
Concept and examples
The term is derived from the Greek (ἀνέκδοτον ~ anékdoton) and roughly translated with not published. This translation refers to the origin of the word. For the first time, Prokopios of Caesarea published the word in the 6th century, when he published anecdota on gossip and gossip about Emperor Justinian I. These were, however, only issued after the Emperor’s death.
This gave the impression that the narrator actually had insights into the imperial life and inaugurated the reader into this knowledge. Anecdotes were mostly orally passed on and varied until someone actually wrote them down. Anecdotes are therefore unofficial and actually not published.
In the eighteenth century this rumor was told of Marie Antoinette: The Queen was told that the poor in France did not have enough money to buy bread. Marie Antoinette is said to have replied, “Then they are to eat brioche.”
The above example satisfies the characteristics of the anecdote. A brief episode is presented that characterizes Marie Antoinette. For whoever talks about the people is arrogant and does not care about the concerns of ordinary people. In addition, the story seems as if the narrator had actually been there, with the whole concentrated on the essentials and ending pointedly.
A chattermaker approached the philosopher Socrates and wished to learn from Socrates rhetoric. The wise Socrates demanded twice as much money for the teaching hours as from others. The chatter wanted to know why. The answer: “Because I have to teach you both speaking and silence!”
This anecdote is similar to the above example. It also acts from a very well-known personality, names a possible event that characterizes Socrates and ends with a point. In this case it is also clear that the genre is quite similar to the joke, which is similar in structure.
Characteristics of the anecdote
Overview: The essential characteristics of the anecdote
The anecdote is an epic small form and is usually designed in the form of prose. It contains a remarkable or also remarkable event from the life of a well-known person. This section is characterized and ends mostly pointedly.
Actually, the anecdote is passed on verbally, varied and thus changed. However, since anecdotes are often written down or are thought of by an author, they are also available in text form. In most cases, however, it is not possible to find the actual author of an anecdote.
Anecdotes are not necessarily authentic and therefore do not always correspond to the facts. However, they are commonly referred to as apt when a distinctive feature of a person or a situation is reproduced in a meaningful way.
In the eighteenth century the anecdote was used very generally. The aim was to bring the individual into focus and to capture his essential character traits. In this sense an aphorism by Friedrich Nietzsche is also to be understood: “From three anecdotes it is possible to give the image of a human being.”
The literary quality of the texts is also determined by their content and by whether they are characteristic. Less is about the artful or the use of stylistic means.
Note: The anecdote is related to the joke, the fable, the jibe, the string, and the zote. Anecdotes are similar to the short story because of their structure.
The first example was Marie Antoinette, the wife of King Louis XVI. and their lack of sensitivity to the devastating situation of the people. The story was also attributed to Maria Theresia of Austria, the wife of King Lugwid XIV.
This fact clearly shows that anecdotes are not necessarily true. They can walk and are then called Wanderanekdote. In this context a similarity can be made to the fairy tale or the modern legends (urban legends).
For example, in the US, the story has been circulating for decades that crocodiles are buzzing in the New York sewage system, or people know someone who has switched on the tempo in his motorhome and then make a coffee. In Germany, there is almost one school at each school, which at Au