As gathered from sources including Wikipedia, in literature, extant refers to surviving or existing literature. This may loosely refer to any literature that exists, but primarily it is a term to describe ancient literary words that stood the test of time and made it to the present age, in literature.
Should you be curious to know, not every literature is extant, in that not every literary work that once existed has survived all along.
Let us kinda get around the grammatical rule that nullifies the correctness of oral literature—for the purpose of this paper. Most ancient literary works, Oral literature for one, are no longer in existence not even because some waned before gaining recognition.
In the words of a source: it is possible to reason that an unknown number of written literary works have also likely not survived.
So, certainly, it is no idle literary term: there exists extant literature, as there is its opposite too.
There is more to this topic; keep reading.
Frequently Asked Questions
People also ask:
What is Extant Literature?
Any literary work that is still in existence is an extant literature, owing to Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word.
So, in other words, we can say extant literature is what extant means in literature. Without circumlocutions!
Examples of Extant Literature
There are several examples of extant literature and we are sure that one will go on and on naming if he is to name all—well, that’s not possible. They’re innumerable. But following are some of the typical examples of this literature:
- Legend of Etana
- Egyptian Book of the Dead (which is in fact quite difficult to date properly)
- Code of the Nesilim
- The Holy Bible, the Holy Quran (and several other religious books)
- Anitta Text
- Autobiography of Harkhuf
- The Satire of the Trades
- The Eloquent Peasant
- Great Hymn to the Aten
- Poor Man of Nippur; and
- Laws of Eshnunna.
Remember to also keep in mind that any literature you know certainly exists can also come on this example list. Old literary works are only prototypical.
This article is not designed to touch the length and breadth of extant literature, so we would suggest that for further reading, you look up our article on the concept of extant literature. It discusses the topic more elaborately.Share