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Stolen Words

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  33 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
"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 Thom
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 19th 2001 by Mariner Books (first published 1989)
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Paul Bryant
Sep 10, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Shelves: litcrit
I'm a big fan of Thomas Mallon's book about diaries (A Book of One's Own) and totally recommend it. And I give this one three stars. But I really don't recommend it, even though it's written in Mr Mallon's cuddly witty-and-warm style which is like a long chat over mulled wine with a fellow book geek.

The reason is that this book on plagiarism was written in 1986 and his main examples are not that gripping anymore. In the last 30 years there have been so many fun examples of crazy authors blatantl
Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
Full title: Stolen Words: Forays Into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism


1. Oft Thought, Ere Expressed: From Classical Imitation to International Copyright
2. A Good Reade: Malfeasance and Mlle. de Malepeire
3. The Epstein Papers: Writing a Second First Novel
4. Quiet Goes the Don: An Academic Affair
5. Trampling Out the Vintage: The Fight over Falcon Crest
Selected Bibliography

The cases in the various chapters:

Chapter 1: history of th
Sep 11, 2008 Kerri rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Amanda
Shelves: faves, non-fiction
Alrighty, this is what Seana would call a "nerd alert" book. This book started off pretty slow for me. I had some trouble getting into it, the chapters were ridiculously long, and I was very tempted to just stop and put the book down. But then after the second chapter the book picked up out of nowhere and I couldn't put the thing down. One of the arguments that seems to be reiterated through out the book is how closely plagiarism is compared to rape! Those who are a victim of having their worked ...more
Aug 05, 2007 David rated it it was amazing
An excellent, thoroughly readable, exploration of plagiarism. Mallon eschews the usual platitudes - the result is a fascinating and insightful discussion of a topic of interest to writers and readers alike. I particularly enjoyed his musings on the possible motivation of plagiarists, their co-existing desires to conceal the fact of plagiarism with an apparent subconscious desire to be exposed. In this day and age, it seems impossible that anyone might expect to "get away with it", yet the practi ...more
May 01, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Mallon has some useful insights to offer into a topic that seems to have grown hotter since he originally published this in 1989 (a 2000 edition has a brief afterword commenting on plagiarism in our digital age, but I found the ideas in this section thin). Overall, Mallon's case studies provide depth more than generalization, but still manage to extrapolate and discuss the commonalities underlying the plagiarism impulse. Ultimately, Mallon seems to see plagiarism is driven by the author's ego, a ...more
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Thomas Mallon is a novelist, critic and director of the creative writing program at The George Washington University.

He attended Brown University as an undergraduate and earned a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. from Harvard. He received the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in 1994 and won a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1987. Mallon taught English at Vassar College from 1979-1991.

Mallon is the author of the
More about Thomas Mallon...

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