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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Plagiarism and Update
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0899  Saturday, 1 April 2002

[1]     From:   David Wilson-Okamura <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Mar 2002 11:05:56 -0600
        Subj:   Re: Plagiarism and Update

[2]     From:   Nancy Charlton <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Mar 2002 11:08:03 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0885 Re: Plagiarism and Update

[3]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Saturday, 30 Mar 2002 12:31:50 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0885 Re: Plagiarism and Update

[4]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Sunday, 31 Mar 2002 09:28:56 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 13.0885 Re: Plagiarism and Update


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Wilson-Okamura <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Mar 2002 11:05:56 -0600
Subject:        Re: Plagiarism and Update

Don Bloom <
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 > wrote:

>When I have a case where I'm confident that the paper has been
>plagiarized, but can't find the source (or don't want to spend the time
>looking), I simply refuse to accept it. I give the student a set amount
>of time in which to write a replacement, with the proviso that he or she
>be prepared to show notes and drafts. I have never (yet) had a case of a
>second effort at plagiarism with faked notes and a fake rough draft.

Don, could you say a bit more about how this works better than an
accusation of plagiarism? If you can't prove plagiarism, how do you
persuade the putative offender to write that replacement paper? I can
see how this might work with a student who already feels guilty or
nervous; but in my experience a lot of students don't.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy Charlton <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Mar 2002 11:08:03 -0800
Subject: 13.0885 Re: Plagiarism and Update
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0885 Re: Plagiarism and Update

This isn't exactly about plagiarism but it's close. A few days ago on
the shakespearehigh.com discussion board, someone posted an ad for 500
essays on Shakespeare, freely downloadable. This was universally met
with disapproval by the webmaster Amy Ulen and others, who stated that
their purpose was to help students do their work but not to do it for
them.

Yesterday a different person announced an "educational tool for the
digital age," namely, a DVD of Macbeth. As described, it isn't all that
bad. Had this person posted once, making a simple and dignified
announcement, I might have quoted the post here. However, he spammed
Amy's board, posting the same message in every single discussion thread.
He obviously expects a cordial and enthusiastic reception because inter
alia he mentions that they are seeking investors for another similar
production. Maybe he knows his market better than I do, but my reaction
was that he has shot himself in the foot by protesting too much.

Nancy Charlton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Saturday, 30 Mar 2002 12:31:50 GMT0BST
Subject: 13.0885 Re: Plagiarism and Update
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0885 Re: Plagiarism and Update

Edmund Taft writes:

> there really is a fundamental problem when writing about
> authors like Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, etc. that is not talked about
> often.  In short, is it POSSIBLE to write an essay about Shakespeare
> without plagiarism?  Can ANYONE cleanly and completely categorize/know
> what is entirely new (and hence one's own) and what is stored in memory
> and gotten from years, decades, of reading?
>
> I will confess that more than once I thought I had come up with an idea
> (and was completely convinced it was mine alone), only to discover that,
> really, I had read it elsewhere but forgotten that I had done so.
> Doesn't that really happen often? -- more often than perhaps we would
> like to admit?

Yes, it does happen.  To give an example:  in my introduction to The
Tempest I used the phrase 'hall of mirrors' to characterise the effect
of the many repetitions within the play.  At the last stage of writing,
I encountered the phrase (a not particularly original one, it has to be
said) in an essay by Harold Brooks which I had no record of having read
earlier - though I well might have done.  Having discovered this, I
acknowledged it.

But I would maintain that if I had not reread the essay, and hence
(re)discovered the parallel, my initial use of the phrase would not have
been 'plagiarism', since plagiarism includes in its definition an
intention to deceive, and knowingly to pass off the words of others as
one's own.  In the case of student essays it is not the chance use of an
idea or a phrase encountered elsewhere which is plagiarism, but, to
paraphrase Spenser, 'a continued dark deceit' which counts.  Or, to
borrow from Ben Jonson (himself borrowing from generations of
authorities) the distinction is between borrowing which is 'servile',
and imitation which is 'able to covert the substance, or Riches of
another Poet to his own use ... not as a Creature, that swallowes, what
it takes in, crude, raw, or indigested; but, that feedes with an
Appetite, and hath a Stomacke to concoct, divide, and turne all into
nourishment.'

I've never found it particularly hard to distinguish the one from the
other.

Professor David Lindley
Head, School of English

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Sunday, 31 Mar 2002 09:28:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Plagiarism and Update
Comment:        SHK 13.0885 Re: Plagiarism and Update

Bill Arnold writes about

'the tendency of certain cliques with anonymous internet names to
develop round certain viewpoints round certain authors and certain
scholars, so much so that their unsubstantiated viewpoints ride herd on
certain lists which if published in book form would never fly.'

Eh?

T. Hawkes

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