The epigraph, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the short quotation or motto placed at the commencement of a book, chapter, etc.," represents a literary tradition dating at least as far back as The Canterbury Tales. Writers are readers, remember, and the temptation to reach across centuries, cultures, and genres to highlight another author's individual and artfully expressed truth is--happily for us--often irresistible.
Here are some beloved authors communing through the epigraph on the theme of love. (Note: One of these authors is actually communing with himself; Thomas Parke D'Invilliers is a fictional creation of F. Scott Fitzgerald):
Rosemary Ahern is the editor of The Art of the Epigraph: How Great Books Begin [Atria Books, $16.00].