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The transmission of literature in writing began in the Greek world with poetry; the publication of laws and regulations came later, and prose literature last, about 500 BC. This book examines the stages by which prose was turned into the sophisticated art-form practised in the fourth century BC, in particular by Plato and Demosthenes. An attempt is made to determine the linguistic conventions which can reasonably be attributed, on the analogy of other cultures, to
unwritten narrative and oratory. The extent to which `content' and `form' can be separated is considered, and the stylistic choices which constitute form are treated as determining the relationship (e.g. of authority or familiarity) between creator and receiver and the balance sought by the creator
between innovation and deference to the receiver's expectations.