In the widest sense, digression is defined as the excursion from the actual theme. The excursus may be part of a scientific treatise and is either incorporated into it or annexed (see addendum). It is self-contained and serves the brief, subject-related supplementation of a larger work by discussing an object related to the main theme. The digression in the lecture can also be described as an excursus.
The term comes from the Latin and consists of the terms ex for out or out and currere, which means running together. Actually the term meant the running out or a foray. This meaning has been preserved in the noun excursion, which describes an excursion, a hike or a trip. Nevertheless, the translation refers to what is involved: namely, to discuss the emergence from a particular subject area [for another, which is supplementary].
Furthermore the terms courier, course or cursor are related to the word and refer to the actual meaning. Thus the courier, also messenger, delivers a message from sender to the receiver. The courier is a fast runner. The course indicates which direction is taken and the (mouse) cursor marks the processing position on the screen in a computer program; So he’s running.
Excursion in the scientific work
In the scientific work of art, that is, in a treatise or very similar texts such as essay, discussion, commentary, monograph, tractate, essay, and dissertation, which usually raise scientific claims, such excerpts represent a different discussion on the subject.
The essential point is that it is not part of the actual argumentation of the work. This means that the main part is self-explanatory and the reader could also skip the excursus without missing essential aspects of the work. Thus, excerpts explain or discuss additional deliberations, or further elaborate thoughts, but do not contain necessary information on the subject.
In the outline of the treatise, the excursus is equated with the other sections. It is therefore a separate section of scientific work. However, in order to show the reader that the information is merely scientific and not necessarily necessary for the main argument, the section must clearly be marked as an excursus (eg in the heading).
Excursion and Digression
In literature or in free speech such digressions are usually called digressions. Digression is the ornate part of the speech or narrative, and is removed from the actual content. The content of the digression can clearly refer to the respective topic, but also appear to be incoherent and fit only marginally to the main theme.
Very often such gimmicks are found in memories, retrospect or descriptions. The digression usually fulfills several functions. Either it serves to relax – especially in scientific lectures – and can thus arouse the attention of the listener or it serves to increase the tension. She fulfills this function above all in the novel (cf. retarding moment in drama).
Short overview: The most important part of the term at a glance
A digression is called a digression. As a rule, he finds himself in scientific work in order to discuss an object which is connected only marginally with the main theme. However, it may provide further information on the content, although it is not necessary for the understanding of the written work.
Furthermore, the term may refer to the contentious digression in a speech as well as a literary work. However, the term “digression” is generally recommended. This means that the actual subject is interrupted by other explanations. This can either increase the voltage or loosen a content.