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There is nothing. There is no God and no universe, there is only empty space, and in it a lost and homeless and wandering and companionless and indestructible Thought. And I am that thought. And God, and the Universe, and Time, and Life, and Death, and Joy and Sorrow and Pain only a grotesque and brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that same Thought.
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Influence, plagiarism: myths, legends, folk stories, ఓరల్ history  
I think I've mentioned my theory/feeling about myths & folk stories & such traditions being mostly what we'd now call 'fanfic'. Here are two people dealing with some of the ideas in that. (Most of Jonathon's Harper's article isn't so sesquipedalian <ahem>)
The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism,
by Jonathan Lethem
Harper's Magazine, February 2007
: archive/ 2007/ 02/ 0081387LOVE AND THEFT …
consider the remarkable series of “plagiarisms” that links Ovid's “Pyramus and Thisbe” with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, or Shakespeare's description of Cleopatra, copied nearly verbatim from Plutarch's life of Mark Antony and also later nicked by T. S. Eliot for The Waste Land. If these are examples of plagiarism, then we want more plagiarism.

Most artists are brought to their vocation when their own nascent gifts are awakened by the work of a master. That is to say, most artists are converted to art by art itself. Finding one's voice isn't just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing of filiations, communities, and discourses. Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos. Any artist knows these truths, no matter how deeply he or she submerges that knowing.
Bellatrys at Nothing New Under the Sun started discussing a set of examples at the turn of 2008/2009 with the post A Quest that begins in a Tavern... 413660.html
a) an example of "PC gone mad™" in the fantasy genre today;

b) the sort of insane mish-mash of cliches, anachronisms, mythology rip-offs and proper nouns improperly used that gives gaming a bad name;

c) taken directly from an internationally-bestselling work of serio-comic epic fantasy itself derived from earlier popular fantasy tales, which the author reworked and polished for decades, that was first published under the d'Estes in Renaissance Italy and ripped off subsequently by everybody from Edmund Spenser to Georg Friedrich Händel.
and continues with two more entries so far, with quite a bit of interesting discussion in the comments to them all.

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