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5 Responses to "Book News for Monday, December 11, 2006"
December 12, 2006 at 12:16 PM
kyle - he is _not_ describing one procedure in the cited passage. he is listing a set of procedures. a list he copied from someone else's book, using the same vocabulary. in other words, "a series of events." I loved the book, but I do feel like I might've enjoyed the original even more. in either case, I'd like to've been given the opportunity to know about the "source" from reviewers and "literary lions" during the season of mcewan's publishing and award-winning.
December 12, 2006 at 11:10 AM
Actually, the musical was based on some of his poetry. So his prose is even more previously unavailable than you thought!
December 11, 2006 at 07:54 PM
The issue isn't the setting. The difference is that McEwan is describing a specific process, a routine, that needs to be performed in a regimented order of events. You can't make up the steps of the operation; they are what they are. He's writing about a procedure. He learned about its steps from Lucilla Andrews, whom he credits. How many ways can you describe applying a Band-Aid? Would anyone demand (or even expect) that each time it's described will sound entirely new? It's pretty much the same act whether I do it or you do it or someone in England does it, and a good author knows not to turn that simple act into a literary exhibition. Going to the mall, on the other hand, entails a different series of events every time it's done, by each different person. The path you walk depends on the layout of the space; what you see varies according to the displays on that given day and the other shoppers you happen to encounter. But the deeper matter still is that the visit will be described through the consciousness of the narrator or character - which means that every experience is going to be fundamentally different, despite what any two trips to the mall have in common. That's why you can't -- or, rather, you shouldn't -- compare the two. But for the record, yes, an award-winning author does get the benefit of the doubt. When the evidence of wrongdoing is so incredibly sparse, absolutely. It has something to do with the thousands of pages of incredible prose in McEwan's canon. What percentage of Viswanathan's work was found to be not her own?
December 11, 2006 at 03:42 PM
"McEwan is describing a medical process, not a trip to the mall." So in other words - a trip to the mall (i.e. girl stuff) is inconsequential and therefore subject to being plagiarized - but a medical process is fair game to copy? Doesn't a writer doing research still have to use his own words - or can he just copy the source material as long as he wins big literary prizes?
December 11, 2006 at 03:24 PM
To compare McEwan to Kaavya Viswanathan is downright ridiculous. McEwan is describing a medical process, not a trip to the mall. Borrowing information in that context is entirely different; it reminds me of something called, um, oh right: research. If the lines you compare are as bad as it gets, please forget about using the P-word -- forget about this moronic distraction altogether -- and move on to subjects more worthy of our time.
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