The letter is one of the most difficult notions in the theory of verbal creativity. This complexity is caused by the polygamy of the term. Indeed, the concept of "letter" is ambivalent: on the one hand, there are private mails, with another literary genre of the letter.
At first glance, between them not much in common. The letter is the phenomenon of life, performing a primarily communicative function. Letter is literary, journalistic or scientific genre, which often took complex forms, such as the epistolary novel or magazine in the letters. Yet the connection between these phenomena is very close. They are not just literary namesakes, relatives. The relationship is especially clear when you look at the history of the epistolary art.
Primary, of course, private letters. In Ancient Egypt correspondence was highly developed. Not so popular in Greece from the classical period in Rome the domestic letter reached its heyday. To the period of antiquity is the origin of the relevant literary genre. In II—III centuries BC in Greece, between the so-called second sophists widely used "bogus email". Nevertheless, in that era of home letters as a literary genre, in fact, not separated. Having arisen as an imitation of private correspondence, the letter was not lost touch with it gave rise to the phenomenon. This is evidenced by the correspondence of Cicero, Pliny, and Seneca.
Has not changed the relationship in the Middle Ages, and even in the Renaissance. Of course, the Middle Ages, like antiquity, knew of the letter strictly business, and does not pretend to any literary - at least birch bark of Ancient Russia. However, not the phenomenon of this kind was determined the character of the medieval epistolary art. They were determined rather letters of the message, which, depending on the author and the addressee might have varied content. They, being usually specific letters from one person to another, had, however, a high proportion of literary, was a part of literature.
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