Thursday, January 26, 2006

A borrower and a lender ...

... you may be. Dave Lull brings to our attention this piece about Christopher Logue and notes that The Page has extracted from it this quote:

"Without plagiarism, there would be no literature. I'm a complete rewrite man, like our Willy Shakespeare."

Well, back then -- and for a good long time thereafter -- little importance was attached to originality. Bach borrowed liberally from other composers (of course, he invariably improved on them).

Dave also sends along this link to Eliot's essay on Philip Massinger.


  1. I think there can be a line, however, between being inspired by previous work, and copying the work of others.

    I can be inspired by novels, even use the style, but never would I copy the actual content. And I think that is an important difference.

    Bathroom Review

  2. I completely agree -- even when you're talking about allusion in poetry, the boundary between what's yours and what is some else's should be plain. (I confess to having used a phrase borrowed from Mencken years ago, just in order to see if I could get it past the copy desk. The phrase was "the late Aristotle." The copy desk always excised the adjective because Aristotle was not "recently deceased.")

  3. Did you ever try to argue that you didn't mean "the deceased Aristotle" but that Aristotle was just not that punctual? It's why Plato didn't give him the Academy, you know. *LOL*