In literary theory, a text is any object that can be read, a work of literature, a street sign, an arrangement of buildings on a city block, or styles of clothing. It is a coherent set of signs that transmits some kind of informative message. This set of symbols is considered in terms of the informative message's content, rather than in terms of its physical form or medium in which it is represented.
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- The student is to read history actively and not passively; to esteem his own life the text, and books the commentary.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “History,” Essays: First Series, Complete Works (1883), p. 13
- Experience of the world may be looked upon as a kind of text, to which reflection and knowledge form the commentary. Where there is great deal of reflection and intellectual knowledge, and very little experience, the result is like those books which have on each page two lines of text to forty lines of commentary. A great deal of experience with little reflection and scant knowledge gives us books ... where there are no notes and much that is unintelligible.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, Counsels and Maxims, T. Saunders, trans., § 8