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BACKGROUND

Since ancient times there have been attempts to construct high-quality literature. Recently the theme has appeared in games such as those created by Bethesda Software. Oftentimes these games include writings not only about stories and legends, but also magical arts and other forms of art. The tradition of crafting souls in a literary context probably dates back at least to Emperor Wu of the Zhou Dynasty in Ancient China. Wu, together with his advisors, conceived of 'Six Arts', which were later supplemented with war and mysticism.

The early arts of Ancient China were likely the theoretical foundation for the concept that literature could have a soul.

In Ancient Egypt the Library of Alexandria became the storage place for a variety of texts on arcane subjects, written in the languages of the time, such as Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian, Latin, and Sumerian. Around 400CE, for reasons that remain somewhat mysterious, the Library was finally completely burned, and almost all of the ancient knowledge was lost. However, it is likely that the Library already had a reputation for decay, which is why it was ill-reputed enough to be destroyed.

Since then, literature has been seen as having a soul exclusively on the basis of whether it is high quality, and even high quality novels have no longer been considered 'holy works' but instead merely indulgences of the fanciful imagination. Part of this may be the rejection of mythological stories, whereas another part may be that literature has lost its soul. The dual explanation is that Alexandria was burned, destroying the earliest efforts at creating the human soul. Perhaps this happend because the soul was considered evil?


THE RISE OF THE LITERARY ELITE

In spite of the difficulty in finding the soul of literature, literature blossomed as an artform in the 19th and 20th Centuries. It was the birth of the popular novel, which was perhaps a necessary step in re-gaining the soul of literature. At this time feelings such as 'happiness', 'gladness', and then 'euphoria' and 'history' (and numerous others) were seen perhaps naively as containing a kind of soul. For reasons like this, the philosophy of literature was dominated by psychology as well as base human emotions. Even in the early 21st Century, basic emotional identifications have been seen as the key method of influencing the readers*.  In other words, the ancient ideas of wisdom and virtue that bore up the significance of Ancient Greece and Rome had been lost as literary devices.

  • (with notable exceptions from writers who are ahead of their time like Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson).


COMPUTER LITERATURE

Around this time, at the turn of the 20th - 21st Century, came a big disruption: the rise of computer-based notions of literature. Not only was literature no longer 'written on a stone tablet', but there was a new focus on futuristic events, science fiction, and science facts. The effect was to erode the immedite credibility of traditional forms of literary genre. The Brothers Grimm, for example, that had always been considered fascinating, now seemed slightly primitive and out-moded.

However, with science fiction arose a new kind of idealism, a sense of human privilege and unbounded aspiration. Humans were, in some sense, even if in a small way, closer to being gods than before. For some writers this meant greater imagination about the actual signficance of past events, whereas for others it involved adopting new assumptions about the meaning or meaninglessness of literature.

Some scientists, for example, began to think that literature was obsolete. At the same time, the best writers (one example is Angela Carter) pushed the boundary of literary forms, adopting terms like 'Confabulism' and 'Magical Realism' to express the genuineness of their work. This was not necessarily computer literature, but it was clearly a response to the changing times.

Corporations like Microsoft, for their part, largely appeared to abandon the quest for auto-generated books, determining that there was not a large enough market, or for fear of infringing on copyrights. Some authors, for their part, determined to make auto-generated books for themselves. However, the market was not always good, and the best programs were not always rewarded appropriately, and many of these programs were not maintained, and fell into disrepair. The ebbuliency of the 1990's faded into a more disillusioned consumerism in the 2000's. Progress on literature seemed to depend on large corporations like Bethesda and Microsoft.


THE SOULS OF LITERATURE

Finally, in April 2016 a philosophy student named Nathan Coppedge was the first to develop a general method for creating the souls of literature.

His website, with the methodology and a list of titles and concept of their souls can be found HERE .


ADDITIONAL LITERATURE

Quora link about Nathan Coppedge's method: https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-find-the-soul-of-literature/answer/Nathan-Coppedge

Coppedge, Nathan. How to Write Aphorisms. An earlier work with a more elaborate and less effective method.

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