|Author||Marion Mills Miller|
|Publication Date||July 3, 2012|
Professor of Latin in Columbia University HE novel and romance of classical antiquity were both developed out of the anecdote and the short story. In fact, the history of prose fiction is very like the history of poetry; for the long poem, such as the epics of Homer, are really formed out of brief lyrics and poetical narratives which gradually become woven together into a consistent and harmonious whole. The anecdote and the short story are older than recorded literature, from their very nature. At first a person tells another person of some more or less remarkable occurrence which he has witnessed; the second person tells it to a third with additions and embellishments; and thus it is passed along until it represents something more than a truth or a fact, and becomes a short story to be classed as unconscious fiction. Later, persons deliberately invent all sorts of tales so as to give pleasure to others, and this is the beginning of conscious fiction. The oldest stories in prose which have come down to us in Greek are found in the history written by Herodotus in the fifth century before Christ. These are gems of the narrators art; for Herodotus had an instinct for whatever was picturesque and striking; and he records in his history a large number of tales which he heard during his extensive travels in Persia, Egypt and the lands bordering on the Black Sea. He does not vouch for their authenticity, but merely sets them down as being current among the people whom he met. Some of them are very brief, while others are long as many of the short stories of Hawthorne or of Edgar Allan Poe.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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