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Arguably, the four genres we have been studying throughout this book are the main forms of creative writing. They have the longest history, stretching back hundreds and even thousands of years. Poetry goes back at least as far as there is written language, and oral poetry goes back even further, though it is impossible to know how far. Drama, often written in verse, goes back almost as far as poetry, and if you don’t worry about whether it was written in prose or in verse, so does fiction. Our creation stories, myths, and epics are narratives that are at least as complex as the modern novel. And even creative nonfiction might be dated at least as far back as Hesiod’s Works and Days, which combined myth with practical and poetic advice on farming and the rhythms of an agricultural life. Yet in the modern era, new technologies have given rise to new forms or at least new permutations of the old forms. One of the first technologies to arise and change the literary world in the late nineteenth century was the motion picture. Photography before that changed the way we look at our world, but with the advent of the movies, we were suddenly able to tell a story with pictures and eventually with sound.
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