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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: May ::
Re: MND Plagiarism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0853  Thursday, 13 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 May 1999 10:19:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0851 MND Plagiarism

[2]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 May 1999 10:05:26 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0851 MND Plagiarism

[3]     From:   Dana Wilson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 May 1999 10:59:04 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0851 MND Plagiarism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 May 1999 10:19:21 -0400
Subject: 10.0851 MND Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0851 MND Plagiarism

>I have received an undergraduate paper on MND that, I suspect, is
>plagiarized.
>
>Here's the opening sentences: "Hippolyta's nightlife role as Titania is
>stage-managed by Theseus-Oberon, who get his will by magical means.  If
>his own imperial gaze has proved ineffectual, he will capture Titania's
>gaze and refocus it with an aimlessness that would have gratified
>Cupid." Titania is Hippolyta's dream self, and her midsummer
>"therapeutic" dream is imposed on her by Theseus-Oberon.
>
>By her abortive affair with Bottom, she learns "there are limits to the
>power of a queen, even an Amazonian queen."  She must learn her place is
>a "world of sexuality, pregnancy, birth and death. She is being
>frustrated by her immortal ungrossness. Her love for Theseus, her wish
>to be the pregnant Indian queen, her mothering of the queen's child, and
>her passion for Bottom, all reflect a desire for mortality." Oberon's
>waking of Titania and his revelation of what he has done "is his version
>of the sadism Hermia's dream attributes to Lysander, and since this is
>also Hippolyta's 'dream,' it represents her anxieties about a Theseus
>who won her love doing her injuries.  Oberon not only sees Titania's
>disgrace, but feels it, and by doing so breaks his charm."
>
>All this sounds familiar to me, but I cannot recollect the source. I
>have checked Kay Stockholder's Dream Works and Marjorie Garber's book on
>Shakespeare and dreams, but these don't seem to be it.
>
>There are good reasons for my suspicions, but I won't bore you with my
>Sherlockian deductions. Any help in nailing this plagiarizer will be
>welcome.

Hmm.  This sounds familiar to me, too.  I think what you're dealing with
is a mosaic-two or three articles chopped into chunks and inexpertly
glued back together in a rather arbitrary form.   Are the quotation
marks in the original? Are you dealing with someone who is a clueless
citer?  I can't put my hand on the famous article by Louis Montrose, but
that might be worth a quick checking-over.

I'd try typing some of the phrases verbatim into Alta Vista to rule out
a downloaded Web paper.  If you can schedule a conference with the kid,
I'd also try the "this is so interesting" approach and ask him or her to
elaborate.  If they can't, boom.  I once suspected plagiarism in  a
paper on Sir Gawain, but after checking in with the student, found that
she really had gotten curious about something and was able to expand on
the ideas verbally and spontaneously.  Your student will probably not be
able to do that.

MDA

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 May 1999 10:05:26 -0500
Subject: 10.0851 MND Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0851 MND Plagiarism

You are right; the phrasing is sophisticated beyond what is to be
expected of a "normal" undergraduate.

But, rather than chew your nails over the identification of the original
essay, merely ask the student to extrapolate the arguments of "his"
paper into other areas or aspects of the play.  If he is able to do so,
he has comprehended the play and the possibly plagiarized essay to such
a degree that the purpose of the assignment is met by other means.  The
immorality of plagiarism remains, of course, but leave that to heaven.

        L. Swilley

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Wilson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 May 1999 10:59:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 10.0851 MND Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0851 MND Plagiarism

Plagiarism can be hard to prove.  I prefer the word Tessera, meaning
mosaic-making.  Is a mosaic any less original for being built from
bricks(tiles) of another's making?   Aside: the term, tessera, was also
used by the mystery schools to meaning by-word: referencing some
fragment of the masters teaching to make one's self-known.

Yours in the work,
Dana
 

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