Dead writers, wrote Eliot in "Tradition and the Individual Talent," "are that which we know." We know them directly by a wide variety of means. We cite them, paraphrase, imitate, parody, plagarize them, and we allude to them. But how direct is our knowledge? My concern in this paper will be with the last of these modes, allusion, and I want to ask precisely how it attests to our knowledge to have a passing or indirect reference to something outside a literary text made within one.



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