Write a paper in which consider the implications of lethems
Any text is woven entirely with citations, references, echoes, cultural languages, which cut across it through and through in a vast stereophony.
–Jonathan Lethem, “The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism”
Jonathan Lethem’s essay, “The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism, makes an argument that asks us to consider the ideas of originality, creativity and plagiarism in new ways. According to Dwight Garner, in the New York Times review,Lethem”makes this argument in a seamless piece of prose that, you discover at the end, is almost entirely plagiarized from other sources.”
Write a paper in which you consider the implications of Lethem’s argument for artists, for students, and for ordinary people who read books, view films and other media, and listen to music. Don’t try to summarize or account for all of Lethem’s long and complex essay. Instead, choose two or three points in the essay to work from that seem most meaningful to you. You can consider, for example, what it means for Lethem to conclude that “substantially all texts are secondhand” or “active reading is an impertinent raid on the literary preserve”? Use the sections of the text that you choose to explain not just what Lethem is saying but why his argument matters.
As part of this work, turn to one or more of the additional resources on plagiarism linked on Blackboard for Paper One. You can test out your ideas by developing an example or two of your own, using perhaps the Melania Trump plagiarism story, the Led Zeppelin case, or Gladwell’s essay as sources. You can also draw on your own experience with where the lines are drawn between “original work” and “plagiarism.”
Part of your work here will be deciding how to cite your own sources. Which sources will you cite in the text? And which might you acknowledge in an Acknowledgments page or “Key” that follows the essay?