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A text is only successful over a long period of time when it addresses a central concern of the human experience. There are certain aspects to life that are important to all people, wherever they are, as well as “whenever” they are. Some obvious examples of such central concerns are love, hope, despair, pain, betrayal, aspirations, and, of course, death. Consider the John Donne poem “Death, Be Not Proud.” Although this poem was written 400 years ago, it remains meaningful and compelling today, in a world that would be unrecognizable to the poet. Donne writes this poem in a figurative manner, as though he is speaking to death itself. Since all human beings have to eventually deal with the possibility of death, this topic never loses its importance, regardless of the circumstances in which someone lives. It also helps to give your audience some hope to cling to. In Donne’s case, although death is unavoidable, there’s good news in the final lines: “One short sleep past, we wake eternally/And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”
Luck must have something to do with a text's success.
For example, The Epic of Gilgamesh would be unknown except for its accidental preservation and rediscovery on clay tablets.
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