Blogger and writer interested in pop culture mythology and mythopoia, music, Disney, P T Barnum, monsters and the monstrous, cyborgs.

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Originality and The Ecstasy of Influence

Are they mutually exclusive? Drawing perhaps from Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence, discuss the effect of subconscious (or in some cases very conscious) influence by other authors. Is the evidence of another author’s influence in a text a negative thing? Does it render the writer’s work unoriginal?

  • This is a wonderful idea and one that has not been explored enough I think. Writers make other writers better - or so we hope that in a small community we can lift each other up. However, there is the danger that in our subconscious we write the same things we recently read because we loved it and saw it as successful writing. Though I have not read the piece you mentioned, I think the influence can be a good thing because an idea can spiral in so many different directions but it all depends on whose mind the idea is in. So an idea borrowed (whether subconsciously or consciously) can become an original idea once built on and taken in a different direction. Obviously we wouldn't write the same book even if we had the same idea. Not sure how much sense I made but I hope this helps! – Nof 9 years ago

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Latest Comments

Absolutely love Anastasia! I remember my surprise when I found out it was a Fox animation and not Disney. Warner Bros. made a lot of great animated musicals too but they’re almost always overlooked in favour of the Disney classics. Great article

Five Animated Musicals That Are Not Disney

yes yes yes. This article is great. I remember (in the UK) The Simpsons would come on and it would be followed by the Fresh Prince. When you’re younger you just watch these things and laugh, but when you revisit them years later you realise just how much it discussed issues like race and class. Amazing show

Race and Class in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

I’ve never been to Disneyland but I’m planning to go to the Paris one next year. Slightly terrified that I’ve built up such an image in my head, it will ultimately fall short of my expectations!

6 Reasons People Continue to Visit Disney World

I’m obsessed with monsters and the monstrous. This is a really interesting article! I’m particularly interested in monsters and ambiguity. Monsters smash the myth of certainty and I think ambiguity (especially moral) might be the overarching theme in the portrayal of human monsters in pop culture today as you’ve illustrated with characters like Walter White and Hannibal.

America's Next Top Monster