The Importance of Influence

How an Author’s Life Influence their Literary Works:

Every individual experience that we have affects our personality. This, in many ways, is the biggest influence over an author’s writing. An author is influenced by their past, which will translate into their work. Gender, Race, and socioeconomic statuses are also a huge influence over a piece of writing. Each personal experience within each of these categories can affect the way a person views the world, and therefore this will have a huge impact on the work an author produces.
It is also important to acknowledge influence of other authors. Not only does an author’s life affect their work, but the work they have read and the things they have enjoyed. Everything a writer has done was influenced by people of the past, and everything an author has done will influence literature in the future. Literature is constantly evolving into new and exciting forms, which are still informed from the past. The picture above is good example of the ‘tissue of quotations’ idea, presented by Roland Barthes. It is clear that every poet has been influenced by other poets, and this is true not only of literature, but of other art forms too.

Examples:
Bret Easton Ellis – ‘Ernest Hemmingway had a lot of influence on me. But I like a lot of writers… I like Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, Phillip Roth, Don DeLillo, and the romantic life of Jack Keroauc, even though I’m not interested in his fiction – but I liked his life.’
Ernest Hemmingway – “Mark Twain, Flaubert, Stendhal, Bach, Turgenev, Chekhov, Andrew Marvell, John Donne, Maupassant, Shakespeare, Mozart, Quevedo, Tintoretto, Hieronymus Bosch, Brueghel, Patinir, Goya, Giotto, Cézanne, Van Gogh…’
Ray Bradbury – ‘I read everything by Robert Heinlein and Arthur Clarke, and the early writings of Theodore Sturgeon and Van Vogt—all the people who appeared in Astounding Science Fiction—but my big science-fiction influences are H. G. Wells and Jules Verne’
Hillary Mantel – ‘no book has mattered to me as much as the dirt-cheap Complete Works of Shakespeare’
Joyce Carol Oates – ‘I’ve tried to be influenced by Poe… but I feel a writerly kinship with Joyce.’

Every artist has their influence. Let us know who or what inspires you, in the comments below…