Framing is the addition of material at the beginning and/or the end of a previous text, as a device of presentation to readers; the framing may carry a message to those readers. We here consider the framing devices of original authors; for the analogous process as employed by later hands, in the interest of later readers, see instead Packaged. Distinguishing between the two can be something of a challenge in practice; we separate them here as an aid to practice.Chinese Examples
Analects 7 is undoubtedly a single-author work (the author in question was probably Dzvngdz, whose death is highlighted in the following Analects 8). It has a faintly chronological structure, beginning with Confucius the teacher and ending with his death. The death scene provides an obviously intentional close to the material, and it is this that we identify as a framing element. It highlights, in the words of Confucius at the end of his life, what the chapter author wanted to convey as his final comment about Confucius. For the separate role of Analects 7 as an intended ending to the whole of the Analects as it then existed, see Packaged.
Hwainandz 21. Lyou An, the patron and part author of this long treatise of Dauist statecraft, presented the completed work to the new and youthful Han Emperor Wu-di in 0139, the year after the latter's accession. The final chapter in the work is not part of the treatise, but a retrospect and apologia for it. It includes a plea for Dauism as superior to other value systems, and thus as deserving of a central place in the Han official ideology which, as was then obvious, was currently being discussed in Palace circles. Compare Jwangdz 33, in Packaged. The difference, for purposes of the present classification, is that the JZ 33 author was recommending a previously written work, whereas Lyou An was pushing his own.
Horace Carmina 1-3. These three Books collect Horace's life work in the lyric genre, the work itself being accretional in nature, like the lifework of any other author. In arranging the poems for publication in 0123, however, Horace evidently meant to impose a certain order on them, as can be seen in the patterns made by their metrics. What concerns us here is the framing statement implicit in the poems chosen to be first and last in the collection: a dedication to Maecenas in 1:1, and a statement of Horace's own poetic achievement in 3:30, the achievement itself filling the space between the two. They are further made prominent in the design by the fact that both are in the First Asclepiadean meter, which is not otherwise used in Books 1-3. For the Carmina themselves, see in Accumulated, and for their later extension, see in Layered.
John 20 makes a quite plausible, and apparently intentional, ending to the Gospel of John. It is retrospective. It notes that there were other sayings and deeds of Jesus that are not recorded in the previous pages. For the overriding of this intended finishing gesture, see Packaged.
Bach's Goldberg Variations, thirty in number, are framed by the Aria theme which, as in any set of variations, is played at the beginning, but also returns at the end, as an Aria da Capo. In part because the return of the Aria is so long delayed (the entire piece lasts more than an hour in performance), the effect goes beyond the ABA Aria form from which it derives, and adds a surprising expressive depth to the music. For another aspect of the Goldberg, see Figurate.
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