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(From Guardian Unlimited)
Just at the moment there's a constant background murmur of complaint from what one might call the New Elitists that the pure well of our literature is being polluted by -- for example -- celebrity novels and ghosted memoirs. To say nothing, of course, about the explosion of stuff that's appearing, unmediated, on the web. (Previous blogs here have touched on this theme, I know.)
But how new or different is this, actually? My answer is that the process of literature, from long before Shakespeare, has always involved oodles of ephemera (spelt C -- R -- A -- P). You can illustrate this assertion from virtually any period from the Middle Ages …