This text examines the anxiety of origins about the literary enterprise. Using four case studies, Meltzer reveals the tenuous status of originality as a founding principle of the critical establishment. Freud, inventor of "dream work", turns a blind eye upon the dreams that were the starting point of his predecessor's - Descartes - famous methods, the one man's obsession with originality mirroring the other's fear of plagiarism. The Holocaust poet Paul Celan, whose sense of identity and place resided in his work, is devastated by a charge of plagiarism. Colette's husband Willy outdoes himself, and his "lazy" wife as well, with his enactment of literary seriousness. In each of these cases, the text shows how a threat to a writer's status as creator betrays the larger fraud of the originality myth itself.