The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107784   Message #2237833
Posted By: BuckMulligan
16-Jan-08 - 02:04 PM
Thread Name: Composers 'stealing' folk themes
Subject: RE: Composers 'stealing' folk themes
The "good/great" "borrow/steal" drill has been attributed all over the place, notably to Eliot and Picasso.

What Eliot really said was:

"One of the surest tests [of the superiority or inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest."

Eliot, T.S., "Philip Massinger," The Sacred Wood, New York: Bartleby.com, 2000.