Introductions: Covers and remixes
- First page: Name, assignment, date, title
- Running Head: Name, assignment, page number
- Different first page: Format—document—layout
Changes to schedule
- x3/Posner: Due, Fri, 2/03, 9:00 am
- Class, Mon, 2/06: Discuss Lethem and fellow plagiarists (Nielsen, Sharma, Wang, Zhang)
- Conferences, Tues, 2/07, and Wed, 2/08: Discuss x4 (plan for e1)
- Wed, 2/08: No class
- Mon, 2/13: Discuss Posner and x3
Posner, The Little Book of Plagiarism
Viewing plagiarism as a form of fraud and hence as dependent on inducing reliance by readers or other audience for the plagiarizing work can help us distinguish plagiaristic from non-plagiaristic copying. (40)
Fastwrite: Explain this statement in your own words. Be ready to illustrate your explanation with examples of what Posner would consider plagiaristic and non-plagiaristic copying. (Your examples may come from Posner’s book or elsewhere.)
- Fri, 2/03, 9:00 am: Post x3 to Dropbox
- Mon, 2/06, class: Read Lethem and fellow plagiarists. Read e1 and x4.
- Tues, 2/07, or Wed, 2/08: Bring x4 with you to our conference (311 Allen)
Moment of Zen
More than the other writers we’ve read so far, Richard Posner offers a kind of theory of plagiarism—an attempt to define what it is, when and how it is harmful, and how it should be punished.
I’d like you to write a brief essay in which you read either Gladwell or Wolff through the critical lens offered by Posner. Try to focus on an instance or example in one of their texts that Posner helps you think about in a different way. What might Posner say, for instance, about the case Byrony Lavery, or about Led Zeppelin, or about the narrator in Old School? You don’t need to agree with Posner; rather, you need to bring two texts together (either Posner and Gladwell, or Posner and Wolff) so that we notice something new about one (or both) of them.
You’ll want to refer to specific passages from the texts you are discussing. Please post your essay to Dropbox by Thurs, 2/02, at 9:00 am.
“Anyone who read this story would know who I was” (127). So says the narrator of Old School as he finishes typing “Summer Dance,” the story that will win him a chance to meet with his idol, Ernest Hemingway. The irony, of course, is that the narrator has—by anyone’s standards, including his own—stolen “Summer Dance” from another writer, a young woman at another school, literally retyping her story while making only those changes needed to identify him rather than her as its author.
Please write a brief essay (750 words or so) in which you try to make sense of this charged and troubling moment in the novel. The narrator of Old School is, after all, a pretty likable, and it would seem, honest young man. So how could copying someone else’s work possibly feel authentic or true to him (even if he later regrets his decision)? How might his plagiarism be connected to his (and the other boys’) baldfaced attempts to imitate authors like Frost, Rand, and Hemingway? How might it be connected to the misimpression that Dean Makepeace almost allows to destroy his career? How might it be connected to the stunning appropriation of the Bible that Wollf ends his novel with?
What I hope is not that you will answer each of the questions above, one after the next, but that you will use them to reflect on what Old School suggests about the links between imitation, plagiarism, and identity.
I look forward to reading what you have to say. Please post your essay to Dropbox by 9:00 am on Fri, 1/27.
Early on in “Something Borrowed,” Malcolm Gladwell writes:
Words belong to the person who wrote them. There are few simpler ethical notions than this one . . .
And yet things quickly turn out to be not quite so simple, at least Gladwell sees them. I’d like you to write a brief (about 750 words or so) comment on his essay in which you do two things:
- Point to two or three reasons why Gladwell comes to see plagiarism as something more complicated and ambiguous (and interesting) than a “simple” theft of someone else’s words. (You’ll want to refer to specific moments in his essay as you do so.)
- Respond to what he has to say. Are you persuaded? skeptical? a mix? why?
Think of a good title for your response. But name your document according to the following strict formula.
Post your x1 to your Dropbox folder by 9:00 am, Thurs, 1/19. Look for a response from me in the next day or two.
Good luck! I’m eager to get to know you as a reader, writer, and thinker!