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Literary topos

In the context of classical Greek rhetoric a topos (literally "a place"; plural: topoi) referred to a standardised method of constructing or treating an argument.

Ernst Robert Curtius expanded this concept in studying topoi as commonplaces: reworkings of traditional material, particularly the descriptions of standardised settings, but extended to almost any literary meme. Critics have traced the use and re-use of such topoi from the literature of classical antiquity to the 18th century.