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Exemplarity: Between Practice And Text

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Chapter Summary

Exempla are not exclusive to verbal communication, because their presence in art is significant and often analyzed, and they straddle the division between textual production and cultural practice. In spite of the new religious atmosphere, the practice of exempla remains central, for example in preaching and schooling in the Middle Ages. The successive accretion of traditions of exemplarity has turned Latin literature into a vast laboratory of exemplarity, one that includes not only techniques of memorialization and selection, bicultural openness, and the important insight of turning quotation 'from the outside of the text' into self-reference and self-authorization, but also of contestation and revision. This well explains the continuing fortunes of Latin culture within the Christian environment of many subsequent centuries.

Keywords: Christian culture; cultural practice; exemplarity; Latin literature; textual production



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