In manuscripts, a text between the chapter heading and before the first section might exist. Does this have a name?

This seems to be a good community to know the answer. Thanks in advance.

  • 2
    Descriptively speaking, it is the "introduction" or the "chapter introduction". What more do you need?
    – Buffy
    Feb 9 '21 at 13:58
  • 1
    If your first section is "Introduction" then why do you need something prior to that?
    – Buffy
    Feb 9 '21 at 14:23
  • 1
    Section header, epigraph, ...
    – user2768
    Feb 9 '21 at 14:25
  • 7
    Can you give an example? Perhaps as an image?
    – user2768
    Feb 9 '21 at 14:26
  • 1
    Are you referring to a 'Prologue'? Feb 11 '21 at 5:02

Text between the chapter title and the first section heading is usually called the "lead paragraph" or "lede". Despite the name, this can be one ore more paragraphs of text.


If the text is a quotation, it is called an epigraph. See this APA blog post on how to format epigraphs.

Other than that, most citation guides do not seem to recommend the insertion of a section between a chapter heading and the next subsection.

But I have not found any particular term for that. The descriptive terms listed in the comments seem plausible to me (e.g. "chapter introduction" or a "preface" to the chapter with multiple synonyms).

  • 1
    I don't recall which one it is, but some style guides do not recommend placing a subheader directly after the (level - 1) header. Might be a Knuth recommendation? Or AP style, I don't remember Feb 9 '21 at 16:46

It's become quite common in academic books in the STEM fields to add such a section as a kind of abstract for the chapter. The reason for this is that the publishers are now selling online access to individual chapters of books through their web sites. When you search on Google Scholar, Web of Science, etc., you'll often get results which are book chapters- if you follow the link to one of these book chapters, you'll get access to the brief summary, but access to the full chapter will be behind a paywall. I've heard these called "chapter abstracts."

  • I agree - this might not be a formal name for the section, but it's a good description of what it's (often) used for
    – Chris H
    Feb 10 '21 at 13:18

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