The Ecstasy of Influence

Earlier in these posts I’ve noted the rise of the Creative Commons and Open Source software movements as indications of how the understanding of creativity (and ownership of creative works) is changing in a larger context that I call “the return of the commons.”

For the viewpoint of a well-known novelist, Jonathan Lethem (b. 1964) on creativity and copyright, both delightful reads, see the articles at the links below. The first is to an article in Harper’s, “The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism,” from which I cadged the title of this post. The second is to an interview with Lethem in where he gives his take on sharing his work, including giving away the film option for his seventh novel, You Don’t Love Me Yet. Both articles were published last year, but are as or more relevant today.

We live in times that are seeing the end of the myth of the lone creator bringing forth work of pure originality.

Good reading. Enjoy.

The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism

Interview with Lethem in


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