Oral literature  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Oral literature corresponds in the sphere of the spoken (oral) word to literature as literature operates in the domain of the written word. It thus forms a generally more fundamental component of culture, but operates in many ways as one might expect literature to do. Pre-literate societies, by definition, have no written literature, but may possess rich and varied oral traditions—such as folk epics, folklore and folksong—that effectively constitute an oral literature.

Literate societies may continue an oral tradition - particularly within the family (for example bedtime stories) or informal social structures. The telling of urban legends may be considered an example of oral literature, as can jokes.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Oral literature" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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