has been a source of entertainment for a very long time, especially when other forms, such as performance entertainments, were (or are) either unavailable or too costly. Even when the primary purpose of the writing is to inform or instruct, reading is well known for its capacity to distract from everyday worries. Both stories and information have been passed on through the tradition of and oral traditions survive in the form of for example. However, they have drastically declined. "Once literacy had arrived in strength, there was no return to the oral prerogative." The advent of printing, the reduction in costs of books and an increasing literacy all served to enhance the mass appeal of reading. Furthermore, as were standardised and texts became clearer, "reading ceased being a painful process of decipherment and became an act of pure pleasure". By the 16th century in Europe, the appeal of reading for entertainment was well established.
is an ancient form of entertainment that has influenced almost all other forms. It is "not only entertainment, it is also thinking through human conflicts and contradictions". Hence, although stories may be delivered directly to a small listening audience, they are also presented as entertainment and used as a component of any piece that relies on a narrative, such as film, drama, ballet, and opera. Written stories have been enhanced by illustrations, often to a very high artistic standard, for example, on and on ancient scrolls such as Japanese ones. Stories remain a common way of entertaining a group that is on a journey. Showing how stories are used to pass the time and entertain an audience of travellers, used in his literary work in the 14th century, as did Wu Cheng'en in the 16th century in . Even though journeys can now be completed much faster, stories are still told to passengers en route in cars and aeroplanes either orally or delivered by some form of technology.
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