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Monday, January 23, 2023

Literature has not always existed

 One of Juan Carlos Rodríguez's maxims is "la literatura no ha existido siempre." In other words, it is a social institution that is historically contingent. It comes into being, and can disappear.  

Somehow, then, we would have to say that what Aristotle was studying is not "literature." That ancient Chinese poetry is not "literature." This is fine with me, actually. We don't have to call it literature, because that is an arbitrary word that did arise at a particular historical juncture and might as easily disappear. 

Other things have existed for longer: narrative, song, myth, ritual.  

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