Am I plagiarizing myself with this post?

The New York Times has an article today about the authorial defense of McEwan in the British plagiarism case. It echoes some of the statements I’ve made in previous posts (see below), namely that it is a novelists practice, and should be understood as such, to take fact and actual happening and blend it into something that isn’t and never could be. The expectation that something is made entirely from whole clothe is naive and ludicrous. Without a researched background (and I would count almost all background reading and writing exercises as part of ‘research’) every novelist’s work would seem thin and disingenous. The tradition of reading and repeating what came before has led to every book worthy of reading. The first written works are themselves the repeating of oral traditions. To point out a novelist’s use of another written work is part of a writing class, not a courtroom evidence procedure. Unless McEwan has lifted entire passages, lines of description and/or dialogue, how has he done anything different than what any novelist worth their salt has done?

Leave a Reply