urtext

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urtext

The foundation, origin, or roots of something, especially an artistic work or cultural phenomenon; the original source or inspiration for many similar or related things that followed it. The term was originally applied to the earliest versions of scriptures, literary works, and musical compositions, but it is now used more broadly. I think "The Catcher in the Rye" can be seen as the urtext for the many novels about disillusioned teens that followed it. The urtext of the movement seems to be a speech he gave 10 years ago.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Can Sex Make Us Happy?" is an enlightening reading of Civilization and Its Discontents, an Ur text for Bersani, which makes Freud seem at once human and permanently relevant.