> All mankind is of one author, and is one volume [...]
I came upon this quote when a friend sent me this wonderful essay by Jonathan Lethem, entitled The Ecstasy of Influence. Lethem begins his essay by telling some anecdotes on the theme of plagiarism, and then switches to the story of his quest to find Donne's real quote, an experience by which he came to realize that originality and appropriation may be artfully intertwined:
> I realized this forcefully when one day I went looking for the John Donne passage quoted above. I know the lines, I confess, not from a college course but from the movie version of 84, Charing Cross Road with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft. I checked out 84, Charing Cross Road from the library in the hope of finding the Donne passage, but it wasn’t in the book. It’s alluded to in the play that was adapted from the book, but it isn’t reprinted. So I rented the movie again, and there was the passage, read in voice-over by Anthony Hopkins but without attribution. Unfortunately, the line was also abridged so that, when I finally turned to the Web, I found myself searching for the line “all mankind is of one volume” instead of “all mankind is of one author, and is one volume.”
The whole essay is worth reading. I might be biased, as it corresponds to my overall take on art, and most importantly justifies my #PFFF project. It also confirms that my idea of writing quotes like the one below may have some independent merit too, although I have no intention to follow any calligra-fu style, like "Spencerian" , whom I thereby tag and challenge to take the #fivedayquest , does. I can't dream to have her talent anyway.
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By some serendipity, the content of the partial quote is also related to a discussion I was having with (whom is also challenged for the #fivedayquest !) about the need to revise our citation practices:
This post refers to this article, by an author that does not seem to be easily identified:
My own take on this is even more radical that the one offered: I was suggesting we dispense ourselves of citing pages, and keep to citing elements that has some conceptual relevance, like chapter, section, and paragraph. A small revolution, but one I held dear when I was teaching methodology.
In a way, I believe that John Donne is on my side. Quite easy to say, you might contest, since my main idea was to repurpose John Donne all along. To which I can only reply: don't blame me, blame my Sailor Fude.
May your inner zombie rejoice in chocolate overload,