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The term commonly used to refer to what is said in a literary work, as opposed to how it is said (that is, to the form or style). Distinctions between form and content are necessarily abstractions made for the sake of analysis, since in any actual work there can be no content that has not in some way been formed, and no purely empty form. The indivisibility of form and content, though, is something of a critical truism which often obscures the degree to which a work's matter can survive changes in its manner (in revisions, translations, and paraphrases); and it is only by positing some other manner in which this matter can be presented that one is able in analysis to isolate the specific form of a given work.

Subjects: Literature.


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