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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: September ::
Re: Plagiarism; Proprietorship; WSB Search
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0814  Tuesday, 8 September 1998.

[1]     From:   Henry Griffy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Sep 1998 03:25:38 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0805  Re: Plagiarism in Schools / Colleges

[2]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Monday, 07 Sep 1998 10:02:22 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0810  Trope of Proprietorship

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 07 Sep 1998 13:20:31 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0807  World Shakespeare Bibliography


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Henry Griffy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 8 Sep 1998 03:25:38 -0500
Subject: 9.0805  Re: Plagiarism in Schools / Colleges
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0805  Re: Plagiarism in Schools / Colleges

Further thoughts about detecting plagiarism:

I've only been teaching for 4 semesters + 3 weeks (and only English
comp- no literature, much less Shakespeare, yet), but so far, I've found
that I can recognize my students' writing after about a month of
assignments (journals, etc.).  All writers have a voice-habits of
grammar & rhythm & word-choice & such-which make their writing quickly
recognizable.  Critics have used this to identify spurious works by
famous writers (plagiarism in reverse!) for centuries.  The same thing
operates, I think, at every stage of growth.  If anything, beginning &
middling writers' words are even more idiosyncratic & thus easily
recognized, because they have not learned to control their writing style
& imitate other voices.

There are several ways to use this in preventing plagiarism, some more,
some less time-consuming.  Other SHAKESPEAReans have mentioned breaking
down assignments into stages & inspecting students' work at various
points (lots of places sell "finished" papers; how many sell the whole
project?  & how much more work would it take to reconstruct another
writer's research & drafting than simply to do one's own?).  This will
work even better if you are able to collect & respond at least
occasionally during the process.

Another approach is to assign students to write a regular journal in
response to prompts.  The cost & difficulty of faking these would make
ongoing plagiarism prohibitive.  More importantly, I've found it's fun
to find out what my students think about various subjects-in part
because I grade journals on the basis of completion rather than
perfection, so do not have to play grammar cop while reviewing them.
This helps make up for the time spent reviewing them (which isn't much,
if you follow the rule of "no more than a haiku").  In the process of
this dialogue, I've found I can learn to recognize, almost without
effort, the ways they put words together.

But the main point I'm trying to get across is that by familiarizing
yourself with your students' writing norms, the sudden departures which
often signal plagiarism usually stick out like a bad Halloween mask.  It
also sharpens your feel for language.

Henry Griffy

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PS.  I have thrice used the internet to document cases of plagiarism &
would like to mention three things I learned along the way.

1. Choose your search phrase carefully.  Ideally, look for 2 or 3 words
next
to each other which probably haven't appeared in that juxtaposition more
than 10 times in the history of the language; then search for that exact
phrase.  Failing this, choose the two most unusual words in the essay &
tell your search engine to find both of them.

2. Begin with a "metasearcher" (ie, a search engine which queries
multiple
other search engines-my favorite for any kind of preliminary search is
http://www.metacrawler.com/).  While not the most thorough, this type of
search is most likely to provide you with a quick response-if such
exists (after all, everybody writes beyond their abilities sometimes).

3. If you can't find it on the web, consider using specialized databases
which your institution makes available to your students & which contain
materials not freely available on the web (firstsearch, eg.).  More
generally, put yourself in your student's place & try to imagine where
he/she would have gone to seek easy comfort, then follow.  Think Philip
Marlowe.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Monday, 07 Sep 1998 10:02:22 -0700
Subject: 9.0810  Trope of Proprietorship
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0810  Trope of Proprietorship

> Several of Shakespeare's plays feature what I have begun to think of as
> a trope of proprietorship (such as Egeus': As she is mine, I may dispose
> of her-MND) set against a trope of partnership (for instance, Oberon:
> Now thou and I are new in amity. . . .).  Two questions:
>
> 1) How true to the facts of life in Elizabethan England is the trope of
> proprietorship (as regards fathers owning daughters and husbands owning
> wives)?

Fathers did indeed "own" daughters.  The daughter could put up a fight
against a marriage she didn't want, but the law backed the father.  In
practise, of course, human nature had to be taken into account.  That
daughters did not always go willing into an unwanted marriage can be
seen from the anxiety reflected by the constant references to the (male)
ideal of woman as obedient and chaste.  If a girl's father died, control
over her marriage reverted to her guardian, wardship being an eagerly
sought after means of marrying into wealth.

I may be wrong, but I think that a female never reached an age where she
had legal control over her own marriage. Nor did juvenile males have
control over their marriages either, at least on the aristocratic
level.  Fathers and Guardians decided who a boy would marry.  One of the
reasons that the aristocracy married so young at this time was that the
Father or Guardian wanted to get them married "appropriately" before
they reached an age where they wanted to make their own choices.

It was also the law that if a male over the age of fourteen (or so) and
a female over the age of thirteen (or so, don't remember the exact ages)
managed to escape parental control long enough to have a few words
spoken over them by a clergyman, the deed was done, and Dad was
powerless to get her or him back. This led to some romantic anecdotes in
the history of the period.

That Oberon refers to his relationship with Titania as a partnership is
due to the fact that Titania is a queen, and can bestow herself where
she pleases.  In fact, like a super-father, the monarch had theoretical
control over the marriages of his/her subjects, which Elizabeth exerted
continually over her courtiers. Nothing roused her wrath so dangerously
against them as when they married without her permission.

As for references to this tension between fathers and daughters, look in
almost any play of the day. It is a favorite topic. In Shakespeare
specifically you'll find it in MOV (where the dead father can still
control his daughter's marriage via his will), All's Well (in this case
the King exerts his proprietorship over the male as well as the female),
Romeo and Juliet (the entire plot turns on it), and in others I'm sure
that don't come to mind at the moment.

Stephanie Hughes

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Monday, 07 Sep 1998 13:20:31 -0700
Subject: 9.0807  World Shakespeare Bibliography
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0807  World Shakespeare Bibliography

Speaking of which, I'm wondering if anyone has access to a copy and
would mind doing a brief search for me.  The type of search I'm
contemplating is just to see if a particular philosopher is mentioned in
any entries.  I imagine that it would be quite simple with a digital
version, but would certainly be an act of heroism if armed only with
print copies!

Cheers,
Sean
 

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