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Tale as old as time

Foster (Ch 12 and Interlude [p. 183]) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"They're all around us...You just reach up and pick them out of the air."

I can relate to this a lot. I think a lot of any art deals with all of the artwork that came before it. Each individual has a different experience of different works of art, and so each individual in doing something artistic that expresses something that's inside them will consciously or unconsciously comment on what they've seen before. Somebody might write a short story that either knowingly or unknowingly brings up some kind of classic archetype but will somehow subvert or bring some new complexity to it. It's just so exciting to think that anytime you write something you become part of a community that's as old as time. It gives you a sense of importance, which can be daunting, as the speaker in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" seems to say.

Comments (3)

Not only is it daunting to be admitted to such an ancient and (for lack of a better term) colorful group, but it is daunting to think that there isn't new ground to cover. No new ground, just new routes across it.
I think that in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," Prufrock is overwhelmed by the lack of new ground and was despairing because the best routes seem to have been already traveled.


I think creativity is about seeing what has been done a thousand times and doing it a different way. Quite a task, neh? As for Prufrock, I think was disappointed by how many people only wanted to see and hear the same old thing, and how many times he had given into it. If "the eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase" had written that poem it would have probably perfect iambic pentameter and a strict rhyme scheme. As it is, the strangeness of it redeems it most, for you never know when a new rhyme will come in or how the next line will be phrased. A new way to do an old style of writing.

I agree. There are so many stories and so much art out there that it is practically impossible to come up with something that is fully original. When you think about it, though, even the first stories and works of art had to have come from somewhere. It is all of our life experiences combined with what we've seen, heard, and read that influence our ideas. It is simply what we do with these ideas that make them appear to be original.

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