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Books and other texts can have a motto at the beginning (or at the end), or a dedication. But they sometimes include a command, directive or instruction to the reader as prologue or epilogue. It could simply be “Go and spread the word” or “Every time you see X, think about Y” or “Keep Z in your prayers”, or something quite a bit longer.

Is there a specific word for this?

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3 Answers

An envoi.

Definition by Wikipedia: An envoi or envoy is a short stanza at the end of a poem used either to address an imagined or actual person or to comment on the preceding body of the poem.

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Epigraph:

a quotation set at the beginning of a literary work or one of its divisions to suggest its theme

The word's Wikipedia entry provides the following definition (as well as illustrative examples):

In literature, an epigraph is a phrase, quotation, or poem that is set at the beginning of a document or component. The epigraph may serve as a preface, as a summary, as a counter-example, or to link the work to a wider literary canon, either to invite comparison or to enlist a conventional context.

Epigraphs are flexible and I expect that pithy phrases including commands, directives, and instructions will qualify.

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A rubric is "a special instruction, heading or the like" typeset in a style that is distinct from the rest of the book - to ensure readers don't miss the message.

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