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The Sudden Success of Prose

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Lars Boje Mortensen

on 24 July 2015

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Transcript of The Sudden Success of Prose

100 BCE
400 BCE
The Sudden Success of Prose
....there is a strong correlation between the rise of prose and the rise of libraries and readership (in the given language) and this mutual reinforcement of prose production, dissemination and consumption reached a point of no return in a matter of three or four decades bringing along a fundamental change in the whole literary field.
Northrop Frye, adapts a Vico-inspired civilizational scheme in
The Great Code
(1982) and in this connection he takes up another epoch-making book, Eric Havelock’s
Preface to Plato
(1963). Instead of focusing on the technology of literacy and the educational aspects of the Platonic turn identified by Havelock, Frye, however, prefers ”…to associate the Platonic revolution with the development of continuous prose. Continuous prose, though often regarded […] as the language of ordinary speech, is a late and far from ”natural” stylistic development, and is much less direct and primitive than verse, which invariably precedes it in the history of literature..”
Literization – Verschriftung

Literalization – Verschriftlichung

‘Librarization’ – book culture – prose reading
Invention vs Success
Reading culture

Poetry - the writing is a recording of the work

Prose - the writing is the work
Connections / Comparisons
The old poetical recordings are adopted into the library created by prose = canonization, grammatization of poetic norms
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