I don't remember much about the specifics of the economics courses that I majored in - I apparently internalized the key concepts - but I still remember vividly the thrill of reading 'Don Quixote,' Epictetus, 'The Aeneid,' 'King Lear' and 'Candide,' and how contemporary the stories and ideas in these old and ancient texts struck me.
Daniel S. Loeb
All literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction... Through parody and pastiche, allusion and homage, retelling and reimagining the stories that were told before us and that we have come of age loving-amateurs-we proceed, seeking out the blank places in the map that our favorite writers, in their greatness and negligence, have left for us, hoping to pass on to our own readers-should we be lucky enough to find any-some of the pleasure that we ourselves have taken in the stuff that we love: to get in on the game. All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.
All literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction....Through parody and pastiche, allusion and homage, retelling and reimagining the stories that were told before us and that we have come of age loving--amateurs--we proceed, seeking out the blank places in the map that our favorite writers, in their greatness and negligence, have left for us, hoping to pass on to our own readers--should we be lucky enough to find any--some of the pleasure that we ourselves have taken in the stuff that we love: to get in on the game. All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.
The History of Ireland in two words: Ah well. The Invasion by the Vikings: Ah well. The Invasion by the Normans. The Flight of the Earls, Mr Oliver Cromwell. Daniel O'Connell, Robert Emmett, The Famine, Charles Stewart Parnell, Easter Rising, Michael Collins, e‰amon De Valera, e‰amon De Valera again (Dear Germany, so sorry to learn of the death of your Mr Hitler), e‰amon De Valera again, the Troubles, the Tribunals, the Fianna Fe¡il Party, The Church, the Banks, the eight hundred years of rain: Ah well. In the Aeneid Virgil tells it as Sunt lacrimae rerum, which in Robert Fitzgerald's translation means 'They weep for how the world goes', which is more eloquent than Ah well but means the same thing.
Up until relatively recently, creating original characters from scratch wasn't a major part of an author's job description. When Virgil wrote The Aeneid, he didn't invent Aeneas; Aeneas was a minor character in Homer's Odyssey whose unauthorized further adventures Virgil decided to chronicle. Shakespeare didn't invent Hamlet and King Lear; he plucked them from historical and literary sources. Writers weren't the originators of the stories they told; they were just the temporary curators of them. Real creation was something the gods did. All that has changed. Today the way we think of creativity is dominated by Romantic notions of individual genius and originality, and late-capitalist concepts of intellectual property, under which artists are businesspeople whose creations are the commodities they have for sale.