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Written Literature....a recent development?

jaz1234 1 / 2  
Apr 22, 2009   #1
How is Written Literature a relatively recent development??

I really don't understand the question. Someone please help me!!
silverystars 14 / 105  
Apr 22, 2009   #2

Hmm...it seems redundant to me, as "literature" would imply "written." Even then, the question would then be, "How is literature a relatively recent development?" The short answer is: it isn't. Perhaps it means modern literature, both fiction and non-fiction, as we know it today, which has become something very different from the tales, fables and parables of old.

If this doesn't help, I don't know what will!
OP jaz1234 1 / 2  
Apr 22, 2009   #3
Actually, "literature" can also refer to "oral literature". Anywho, this question was posed to me by my English teacher.

Describe how written literature is A relatively recent development.

All I know is that written literature is a spin off of oral literature.

But, THANK YOU for trying!
silverystars 14 / 105  
Apr 22, 2009   #4
It's not that I like to contradict authority figures...sometimes, I love to. Oral literature is one thing, sure, but let's not forget that literature itself implies writing, as the word comes from the Latin littera, or letter. To drive the point home, here's an example: if someone recites the greatest example of oratory ever known to man, is that person therefore qualified to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature? :) "Written literature" is like a musicologist saying "concordant harmony" --- it is redundant! It's somewhat sad that such a misnomer has burrowed its way into our language.

But, anyway, now I can see what you are asking. This is going to require some research on your part, of course, but here is what I know. Oral literature is anything memorized and recited: songs, epics, myths, legends, traditions, old wives' tales, bedtime stories, jokes, modern-day urban legends, etc., etc. Take any of these and compare them to literature (I'm not going to say "written literature"!) and you will see an informality and ease about them that is often difficult to translate or distill.

Hope this helps!
OP jaz1234 1 / 2  
Apr 22, 2009   #5
Thanks!! I'm understanding!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 23, 2009   #6
I suspect that the question refers to the long period of human history during which it was not recorded. "Recorded history" is quite a recent innovation compared to the rest of our process.

But like Ned said, "literature" implies written!

So, you can research "recorded history" to answer the question.

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