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Stolen Words
     

Stolen Words

by Thomas Mallon
 

"The definitive book on the subject" of plagiarism (The New York Times) is updated with a new afterword about the Internet.

What is plagiarism, and why is it such a big deal? Since when is originality considered an indispensable attribute of authorship? Stolen Words is a deft and well-informed history of the sin every writer fears from every angle.

Overview

"The definitive book on the subject" of plagiarism (The New York Times) is updated with a new afterword about the Internet.

What is plagiarism, and why is it such a big deal? Since when is originality considered an indispensable attribute of authorship? Stolen Words is a deft and well-informed history of the sin every writer fears from every angle. Award-winning author Thomas Mallon begins in the seventeenth century and pushes forward toward scandals in publishing, academia, and Hollywood, exploring the motivations, consequences, and emotional reverberations of an intriguing and distressingly widespread practice. In this now-classic study, Mallon proves himself to be one of our most versatile, original, and delightful writers.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mallon discusses texts that are suspiciously similar, cites specific cases of plagiarism and concludes that literary predators are recidivistic, while society is reluctant to punish them. ``Although ably researched and enthusiastic and clever in tone, the book has an uneasy mix of topics that may preclude its finding an audience,'' suggested PW. (Feb.)
Elegant and entertaining.
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
"Specific and detailed yet manages to cover so much ground and blow away so much of the fog surrounding plagiarism . . . Lively, engrossing, and provocative."
—The New York Times
Los Angeles Times
"Mallon possesses grace and wit, a delight in incongruity, and a quickness to love hard, and grow furious."
Library Journal
Fine lines separate unconscious influence, adaptation, paraphrase, and downright theft by writers. In this scholarly and engaging look at the many aspects of unattributed use of others' writing, Mallon (English, Vassar) delves into cases famous and obscure, flagrant and doubtful, trying to identify the motives of the perpetrators while recounting the harm done victims copied from and the embarrassment and lame excuses that follow exposure. His book displays fine literary detective work. Besides discussing fiction and essays, Mallon reveals the seamy side of university scholarship, student term-paper services, television production, and recent political speeches. Does more of this go on than is generally recognized? With little else currently available in book form, this up-to-date study is firmly recommended.-- William A. Donovan, Chicago P.L.
Booknews
Mallon (English, Vassar) is not the first to come out against plagiarism. A light-hearted look at famous cases from Coleridge to the television series "Falcon Crest". Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780899193939
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/28/1989
Pages:
288

Meet the Author

Thomas Mallon is the author of five novels and five works of nonfiction. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and GQ. He received the National Book Critics Circle award for reviewing in 1998. The recipient of a 2000 Guggenheim Fellowship, he lives in Westport, Connecticut.

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