Biography of Jonathan Lethem

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Jonathan Lethem is an American essayist, novelist and short story writer (Scholz). In his career, Lethem has written a vast number of works from novels, novellas, and short stories to non-fiction (Scholz). In 2007, Jonathan Lethem published one of his famous essays, "The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism"(Scholz). In the author’s essay, he introduces a legitimate argument about copyright laws and plagiarism. Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's ideas or work and making it one's own whether the individual modifies or improves it. However, his main argument is the power of influence in art, the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and film. Influence is the ability of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways. Lethem asserts that American society is influenced and inspired by the works of prior artists whom we have made a connection. As a result, nearly all ideas are secondhand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million of outside sources, used in our daily lives. For an artist, influence is everything. Without influence, American culture would cease to progress in art and would stop the expansion of ideas artists and individuals attain from the inspiration from the work of other fellow artists. America needs to continue growing in all aspects of creativity.
Jonathan Lethem uses a wide range of references such as examples of literature, music, art, and famous general artists merged together to create an article that emphasizes the idea of plagiarism (A). He uses these references in order to make a collage of different works that make his essay. At the end of his essay, Lethem leaves a key, naming every source of the lines he stole but states some sources he f...

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...e the all-powerful creator of such, but simply that they are influenced by its beauty and want to re-create its essence to share with the world. The same basic idea goes for all art forms, books, music, movies; all of these are derived from a source of inspiration. Being inspired by stories, artwork and ideas from others is a natural human trait – it does not mean that these inspirations are “stolen” from someone, but in a way recycled – because that very person was inspired by someone else as well.
All throughout human history, people pass down stories from generation to generation, in a way to preserve stories, historical facts, lessons and information. History tends to repeat itself, which simply makes human behavior a constant act of plagiarism, we all keep repeating ourselves and learning the same lessons and telling the same basic stories over and over again.

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