The Literary Inquisition

First James Frey, and now Kaavya Viswanathan; get a good seat upfront, make sure your vocal chords are rested, and bring marshmallows, because there’s gonna be a ROASTIN’!

The literary crowd has certainly become touchy lately, in a rather amusingly Stalinistic manner. There was a time when an author who (at best) paid tribute to another author, or (at worst) ripped another author off, was simply ridiculed and sunk into obscurity, but NO LONGER. Now if an author is perceived as having stolen something from someone (even unconsciously), or fictionalized moments the way we all do (without reprimand), the author is tarred and feathered, and not just in the town square: on national television, and in the mass media. Viswanathan should consider herself very lucky that she hadn’t had the misfortune of falling into Oprah’s book club yet, Lady O is probably just getting hungry again after having eviscerated and feasted on James Frey’s inner organs on her worship program, and would probably love to take some nibbles.

In the spirit of this new witch hunt I suggest we also strip James Joyce’s Ulysses from bookstores for stealing Chaucer’s style, as well as the styles of all the major early English writers; The works of H.P. Lovecraft should be taken from all bookstore shelves for stealing the style of Edgar Allen Poe; the works of Robert Anton Wilson should not only be taken from bookshelves, but also burned for not only stealing from Joyce, but from all the early English authors Joyce stole from; The writings of Hubert Selby Jr. should also be tossed for ripping off Joyce; The writings of the VC Andrews impostor should be deleted from shelves for impersonating VC Andrews; the vast work of Kilgore Trout should be burned for ripping off the vast work of Theodore Sturgeon; the writings of Robert Ludlum should be stripped from stores for stealing from Tom Clancy; The entire Little Miss series should be eliminated for ripping off the Mr. Men series.

I could go on.

Actually, I could go on and on. And on and on and on.

One Response to “The Literary Inquisition”

  1. Apostasia Gloriana, Keeper of the Weee Says:

    Not having read either of the books and not feeling a great urge to read them I can’t comment really intelligently, but from the media bru-ha-ha around it a couple of things do stand out:
    *Viswanathan admits she read McCafferty’s book and was unintentionally influcenced by it
    *The similarities are basically the same language used in some parts of the book.

    So methinks the witch hunt here is a bit extreme. First of all anyone who reads a book and writes on a similar topic as that book’s author will likely pick up something–imagery, tone, words, etc. Second of all, she didn’t plagarise the whole book, at most she copied some sentences out of it. Big effin deal if you ask me.

    I copy people’s language all the time when writing. I do it on purpose with full knowledge why I’m doing it. It’s called influence. Good grief. People in the publishing world need to chill out right now. Or maybe they shouldn’t give publishing contracts to people straight out of high school, that could be a good approach too.

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