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Commentary by critics and reviewers; literature (in the scientific and literary senses) written not about the real world but about other literature.

Literary criticism was once secondary literature, but has become a commentary on itself, like a snake head eating the head on the opposite side.

This is not to say that secondary literature is a bad thing. In the form of magazines like Discover and Scientific American, synopses of research make science more accessible to the public. It's simply a distinction between writing and writing about writing.

Compare primary literature.

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