Wednesday, April 26, 2006

There are no literary prodigies

There's been a lot of talk of plagiarism in the news lately. Dan brown just survived a rather spurious lawsuit charging that he stole major elements for The Da Vinci Code from the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail (interestingly enough, in order to maintain their argument, the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail argued that their book was not historical scholarship. After all, one can't copyright facts). The University of Georgia revoked the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Prize awarded to Brad Vice after accusations that he stole sections of the story “Tuscaloosa Knights” from Carl Carmer’s book Stars Fell on Alabama. (More here and here.)

Blogger Ben Domenech resigned from the Washington Post Online nearly as soon as he was hired after accusations of a history of plagiarism that started with stealing movie reviews from for his college newspaper, and continued into his professional work with the National Review. Ohio University is investigating dozens of cases of possible plagarism involving current and former graduate students in the engineering program.

Finally, Harvard sophopmore Kaavya Viswanathan has been accused of plagarizing two novels by Megan McCafferty in her novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. Viswanathan has apologized, saying that she had read McCafferty's books and "wasn't aware of how much [she] may have internalized Ms. McCafferty's words." Viswanathan's publisher was less than enthusiastic about her apology.

Do you think they'll ask her to return her $500,000 advance?

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