Plagiarism

Twentieth-century dictionaries define plagiarism as “wrongful appropriation,” “close imitation,” or “purloining and publication,” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the representation of them as one’s own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries. There is no rigorous and precise distinction between imitation, stylistic plagiarism, copy, replica and forgery.

 

In the 1st century, the use of the Latin word plagiarius (literally kidnapper), to denote someone stealing someone else’s work, was pioneered by Roman poet Martial, who complained that another poet had “kidnapped his verses.” This use of the word was introduced into English in 1601 by dramatist Ben Jonson, to describe as a plagiary someone guilty of literary theft.

The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal, emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement. Romantic aesthetic and ideology, still retains a significant strength in the 20th century, and encourages attaks against all that violates its values of genius, originality and individuality. From the Romantic perspective, artistic techniques like parody are considered parasitic. For centuries before, not only literature was considered “publica materies,” a common property from which anybody could borrow at will, but the encouragement for authors and artists was actually to “copy the masters as closely as possible,” for which the closer the copy the finer was considered the work. This was the same in literature, music, painting and sculpture. In some cases, for a writer to invent their own plots was reproached as presumptuous. This stood at the time of Shakespeare too, when it was common to appreciate more the similarity with an admired classical work, and the ideal was to avoid “unnecessary invention.”

 

The modern ideals for originality and against plagiarism appeared in the 18th century, in the context of the economic and political history of the book trade, which will be exemplary and influential for the subsequent broader introduction of capitalism. Originality, that traditionally had been deemed as impossible, was turned into an obligation by the emerging ideology of individualism. In 1755 the word made it into Johnson’s influential A Dictionary of the English Language, where he was cited in the entry for copier (“One that imitates; a plagiary; an imitator. Without invention a painter is but a copier, and a poet but a plagiary of others.”), and in its own entry denoting both A thief in literature (“one who steals the thoughts or writings of another”) and The crime of literary theft.

 

Later in the 18th century, the Romantic movement completed the transformation of the previous ideas about literature, developing the Romantic myth of artistic inspiration, which believes in the “individualised, inimitable act of literary creation”, in the ideology of the “creation from nothingness” of a text which is an “autonomous object produced by an individual genious.” Plagiarism has often been used as a derogatory term for parodies.

 

Despite the 18th century new morals, and their current enforcement in the ethical codes of academia and journalism, the arts, by contrast, not only have resisted in their long-established tradition of copying as a fundamental practice of the creative process, but with the boom of the modernist and postmodern movements, this practice has been accelerated, spread, increased, dramatically amplifyied to an unprecedented degree, to the point that has been heightened as the central and representative artistic device of these movements. Plagiarism remains tolerated by 21st century artists

This page and many more on this site are plagiarized from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(mythology)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhon

http://www.pantheon.org/

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/t/typhon.html

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