Mark Twain on plagiarism

Thoughts on plagiarism from Mark Twain:

.....substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral calibre and his temperament, which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing. . . . It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone, or any other Important thing-- and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite--that is all he did. - Letter to Anne Macy. Reprinted in Anne Sullivan Macy, The Story Behind Helen Keller (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., 1933), p.162.

The kernel, the soul-- let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances--is plagiarism.... ...a grown person's memory-tablet is as a palimpsest, with hardly a bare space upon which to engrave a phrase.- Letter to Helen Keller, St. Patrick's Day, 1903