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Precursor and forerunner

Related: avant-garde - avant la lettre - early - influence - proto-

In his famous essay "Kafka and his Precursors," Jorge Luis Borges argues that Zeno, Han Yu, and Kierkegaard, though nothing alike, all now seem Kafkaesque: "In the critic's vocabulary, the word 'precursor' is indispensable, but it should be cleansed of all connotations of polemics or rivalry. The fact is that every writer creates his own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future." --Jorge Luis Borges via Kafka and His Precursors. [Nov 2006]


A precursor is something that existed before and was incorporated into something that came later. Also known as a forerunner or predecessor.

For example, cacao is a precursor of chocolate, but chocolate is not a precursor of ice cream. There, chocolate is an ingredient. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precursor [Apr 2006]

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