Abstract

Already in antiquity Quintilian developed a theory of canonization that resembles modern accounts of cultural evolution. Another ancient literary theorist, Terentianus Maurus, explains the broad diversity of metrical schemes by derivation from a single ancestor. As the latter even mentions verse forms that apparently died out quickly, parallels to evolution may be drawn. A canon (of authors, genres, verse forms) is established by imitation of nonconformist aspects that authors have brought into the literary system without being sure about the audience’s response to them; by being imitated these aspects finally become traditional and their inventors become classics.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9234
Print ISSN
0009-8418
Pages
pp. 237-255
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-08
Open Access
No
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