HTRLAP; chapter 5

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In chapter 5 of How to Read Literature Like a Professor Millionaire, we encounter the line "...there's no such thing as a wholly original work of literature."

I completely agree with this line, and if you don't agree, I would love to find a way to burst your bubble. Even the premise of this line, whether you know or not, is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:9 and says "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

Almost every piece of music written today is based on three chords: the tonic, the fourth, and the fifth. From the simplest folk song to the most complex symphony, these three simple chords have produced some of the most beautiful sounds on Earth.

In art, nearly every shade of color has been used and created some of the greatest works imaginable. (Ever see the Home Depot paint charts.....yikes!)

And in literature, we have the same 100,000 words we use regularly, some more often than others, but we can only find so many ways to arrange them in our minds and on paper. The simple phrase I love you can be emphasized I love you, i LOVE you, or i love YOU. The inflection in one's own tone, or what the reader "hears" from the author's text, is what creates the relevance of the reading.

One of my favorite examples of a work being embellished from another is the opera "Gianni Schicchi". This name may be familiar to you if you have read Dante's "The Divine Comedy." Gianni Schicchi is a character of a tale inside the story, and from the single line "And he of Arezzo, pausing, trembling, told me, 'That madman is Gianni Schicchi, who gnaws the other in his raving'" Giacomo Puccini wrote an entire opera.

Nothing new....but we can sure try.

1 Comment


I love the way you bring in music.

The love triangle has inspired countless stories, so the building blocks can be even more basic.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael McCullough published on September 8, 2010 4:12 PM.

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