Even this title is taken from the 1999 Film Fight Club. While it may seem dismal and edgy, it simply means that all ideas are innovations of each other. Netflix is a better television. Television was a better radio. However, in literature, human emotions are recycled over and over. How many ways can you write about two people falling in love without the stories sounding similar? While the plot may be different, we all scientifically feel similar emotions and chemicals when we are in love. We all are human, therefore, our experiences are similar to one another and our art will reflect those similarities. While this may seem bad and unoriginal, it actually enriches our literature. The more we read literature, the more we can see the similarities between texts and understand the characters. As Foster writes:
This dialogue between old texts and new is always going on at one level or another. Critics speak of this dialogue as intertextuality, the ongoing interaction between poems or stories. This intertextual dialogue deepens and enriches the reading experience, bringing multiple layers of meaning to the text, some of which readers may not even consciously notice. The more we become aware of the possibility that our text is speaking to other texts, the more similarities and correspondences we begin to notice, and the more alive the text becomes.
It’s the equivalent to being able to be empathetic towards your friend over the loss of their pet because you too have lost your pet. Since you’ve seen how the story played out once, you can hone in those past emotions and apply them to the new text. This is why it is vital to read older pieces of literature, such as the medieval dramas about Jesus. While the plays themselves may not be interesting, learning about them allows us to be able to understand other plays when they make allusions.
Source: Foster (5-7)