Brian Chidueme

What is the significance of plagiarism in the book? Throughout the novel, numerous characters plagiarize from various sources (i.e.: literature, plays, paintings, etc.), and try to profit from them, and these plagiarism incidents seem to shake up the community.

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Stephen Blower I don't know if the question is rhetorical, but here's what I would say: The center of the novel is (according to Gaddis) the play upon the word "forge" in both it's meaning of creating and imitating through fakery. They both signify "making," and the idea is what makes one art form desirable and valuable and the other considered base and without value? But the novel takes a cynical approach to these ideas, as everyone may turn out to be a 'forger' in the end, in both senses. At least that is my opinion.
That said, it is an excellent novel if you are up for the challenge. It holds many rewards once you work your way through. A big help was
Alex I do think plagiarism is the central theme of the book. Taking from others and making it yours, for ill or for good. A layman who assumes the identity of a doctor kills Wyatt’s mother. That obscene act of plagiarism creates Wyatt the artist. A fake critic destroys Wyatt’s art by telling him it has no worth unless the critic says it has worth, which he won’t without a bribe. The commodification of his own art turns Wyatt to forging art; Wyatt becomes the plagiarist, but so totally that the art Wyatt creates is as pure (if possible, more pure) than that of the original artists’. Wyatt’s forges, recreates, himself.
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