It is commonly said to my little friend Legion: Read the great writers for style. But I say to him: Read the great dead masters for ideas. Devour them, Fletcherize them, digest, assimilate, make them part of your blood; let the enriched blood visit your brain. The resultant activities will be fairly your own, and the little kinks and convolutions of your brain, which are entirely different from the kinks of any other brain, will furnish you all the style you will ever get.
There are no really fresh ideas; just as there is not any fresh air. Air and ideas are refreshed and refreshing, vitalized and vitalizing; but the thoughts have been thought before and the air has been breathed before.