Talking Books

Fiction has always been composed and passed among families and friends, and from generation to generation, most commonly orally. However, for most of human history it has taken the form of poetry or drama. This is for the reason that before the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, books and other texts had to be written out by scribes and were therefore extremely expensive. Most of what we now deem to be ‘literature’ from the Old and Middle English periods (500-1475 AD approximately) was disseminated orally and an elaborate system of rhymes and alliteration was used in the composition of poems and their subsequent retellings. Lengthy prose fiction was not convenient or common and, as such, little has survived in English before 1000 A.D. The stories that were told and have survived often had a moral message or a theme intended to preserve the status quo. They were, and to some extent still are, a convenient way of passing on ideas, logic and rules in a way that is entertaining and therefore involves the reader or listener.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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