The Biography of "the Idea of Literature"

The Biography of "the Idea of Literature" : From Antiquity to the Baroque

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The "idea of literature" is the very kernel of every literary study; however, this is the first survey of the historical development of this idea. Its purpose is to refute the belief, particularly prevalent in French criticism, that the "idea of literature" only appeared in the eighteenth century, and that it was perceived strictly as an art.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 148.3 x 225.6 x 16mm | 453.6g
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • English
  • Total Illustrations: 0
  • 079142894X
  • 9780791428948

Back cover copy

This book deals with the birth and formation of the 'idea of literature, ' and with its evolution from Antiquity to the Baroque. It is the first part of a vaster project, a 'history' or 'biography' of the idea of literature from ancient times to the present. It covers two millenniums of the 'history' of the idea of literature, the genres, development, structure and articulation of which have never been studied in sufficient detail, a situation, one might add, oftentimes deplored.
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Review quote

"This book documents the slowness of institutionalization, particularly of literature. It describes the chaotic and gradual growth of the concept of literature. Without having any axe to grind, it neatly deconstructs (or, at least pokes holes into) any kind of purely rationalist/voluntarist view of invention so prevalent nowdays." -- Virgil Nemoianu, Catholic University of America "Contrary to the widespread belief that the idea of literature in our modern sense emerged in the eighteenth century, Marino convincingly demonstrates that it goes back to ancient times. He makes the interesting point that much of what we identify as literature belonged, in antiquity and in the medieval period, to the domain of orality. Marino does an outstanding job covering the least known stages in the history of the concept of literature, from Greco-Roman antiquity through the Renaissance and Neo-Classical to the age of the Baroque." -- Matei Calinescu, Indiana University
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About Adrian Marino

Adrian Marino is a scholar in Romania who has written books on literary hermeneutics, comparative literature, the history of literary criticism, and critical terminology. His work has been translated into French, Italian, German, Japanese, and English. Marino's most recent book, published in Italy, is a study of literary theory, Teoria della letteratura.
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