The ecstasy of influence

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 03, 2008

From a review of A Christmas Tale, a movie by French director Arnaud Desplechin:

Artists who believe in the mystique of originality are often reluctant to reveal their inspirations. But the magpielike Mr. Desplechin revels in what the writer Jonathan Lethem has called the ecstasy of influence. “I didn’t invent anything,” he said. “Being a director is not such a grand thing. My job is just to show the audience what I love.”

The funny thing about the “ecstasy of influence” quote is that it was used by Lethem in a well-known Harpers article about plagiarism that was itself, in Lethem’s words, “stole, warped, and cobbled together” from a variety of other sources, which sources he lists at the conclusion to the article.

The phrase “the ecstasy of influence,” which embeds a rebuking play on Harold Bloom’s “anxiety of influence,” is lifted from spoken remarks by Professor Richard Dienst of Rutgers.

The ecstasy of influence would make a good name for this here blog. (via snarkmarket, another ecstatic influence fan)