Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Conversation with the genre -- plagiarism, allusion, and intertextuality -- Jules

My thoughts on plagiarism and allusion, and how to tell the difference, are now up on my LiveJournal. a) it's 1400 words, b) I want to keep any comments in one place, so I'm giving the first couple of paragraphs and a link rather than mirroring the whole thing here as I usually do. If you'd like to comment, my LiveJournal is set to allow anonymous commenting, so you don't need an LJ account to do so.

An extensive discussion about plagiarism has been going on in some of the romance blogs over the last few weeks. One thread in the discussion has been about the difference between allusion and plagiarism. Why is one acceptable and the other not, and what is the difference between them? After all, both involve the use of someone else's work, even to the extent of word-for-word copying.

For me, the difference between the two is very simple in theory, even if in practice it's not always possible for a reader to be certain what an author had in mind. If your intent as an author is that your audience should recognise the work you're quoting, or at the very least realise that it's intended as a reference to someone else's work, you're making an allusion. If you are hoping that they won't notice that it's not your own words, that's plagiarism. For this is the key part of what plagiarism is -- that you are taking the credit for work that was in fact done by someone else.

Continued at

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