is a (usually short) piece of writing often found at the beginning of a book or other piece of literature
, before the introduction
, and written by someone other than the author of the book. A preface
, by contrast, is written by the author of the book, although sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably. A preface generally covers the story of how the book came into being, or how the idea for the book was developed; this is often followed by thanks and acknowledgments to people who were helpful to the author during the time of writing. Often, a foreword will tell of some interaction between the writer of the foreword and the story or the writer of the story. A foreword to later editions of a work often explains in what respects that edition differs from previous ones.
If there is an author's preface as well, it follows the foreword. Unlike a preface, a foreword is always signed. Information essential to the main text is generally placed in a set of explanatory notes, or perhaps in an "Introduction" that may be paginated with Arabic numerals, rather than in the foreword. The word foreword was first used around the mid-1800s (originally used as a term in philology). It was possibly a translation of the German "Vorwort".