All these genres

All these genres, or in any case their defining features, are considerable older than written language and the book, and to the present day they retain their anceient oral and auditory characteristics. Of all the major genres only the novel is younger than writing and the book: it alone is organically receptive to new forms of mute perception, that is, to reading. But of critical importance here is the fact that the novel has no canon of its own, as do other genres; only individual examples of the novel are historically active, not a generic canon as such. Studying other genres is analogous to studying dead languages; studying the novel, on the other hand, is like studying languages that are not only alive, but still young.

(Bahktin 3)

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Inf(l)ections by Steve Cook