Sunday, May 08, 2005

Goody on Genre and Medium

"Not only do the genres differ, but even some of these that are universal change their characteristics over time. A written work necessarily has a beginning, a middle, and an end. An oral composition may be added to at any time and by different people. The notion of unity, so central to a feature of post-Aristotelian literary criticism, is much less useful in examining an oral product. What one hears on a particular occasion is less likely to be the product of a single human mind at a single point in time than it would be with a literary work. The notion of the individual signature at the bottom of the canvas is out of place when the mural has been touched and retouched by numerous hands in the course of its preparation" (13).

Goody, Jack Power of the Written Tradition. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000.

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