Actually, what came first was the blatant
stealing of playscripts. Keeping a script
safe was a major undertaking.
Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
[log in to unmask]
From: Carrol Cox [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 7:07 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Fisher King
Peter Montgomery wrote:
> Copyright in England anyway, started with the
> Playwright's registry to keep work from being
That is about the time the word _plagiarism_ gets recorded in the OED.
I'm assuming that there must have been discussion of the 'thing' for
some time before the word even appeared in writing, and that it first
appeared in writing in private documents that didn't survive. Hence my
suggestion that it begins sometime after 1400. Your point about
copyright is interesting: it is conceivable that the act of copyrighting
came first, and the idea of copying as a moral and/or intellectual 'sin'
appeared only later.
For a couple centuries now "plagiarism" as a 'crime' has been simply
common sense, not the sort of concept that would be subjected to any
sort of analysis. There are debates over "what is plagiarism," but they
almost always occur in the context of "what should we do to punish
plagiarists?" No one challenges the very idea.
I believe Milman Parry first published his findings on oral literature
(which of course is rife with "plagiarism") around 1930, but I haven't
seen many attempts to explore the implications for the present of the
fact that "Homer" was an arrant plagiarist. :-)
> Hogarth was successful in getting it
> transferred to his engravings by claiming they
> were dramas. I realise this is only a small as-
> pect of the matter, and speaks only indirectly
> to plagiarism, but let us not forget that Eliot
> was nothing if not an English scholar of the
> Elizabethan era.
> Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
> Dept. of English
> Camosun College
> 3100 Foul Bay Rd.
> Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
> [log in to unmask]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Carrol Cox [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 6:41 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Fisher King
> Peter Montgomery wrote:
> > Traditition and The Individual Talent.
> > Cheers,
> > Peter.
> I have trouble in retrieving proper names from memory. (I think proper
> names are probably processed in a different part of the brain than other
> words -- and four decades of clinical depression has made that part a
> bit iffy.) A couple years ago I wanted to refer to Edmund Burke while
> writing a post -- and I ended up having to pull an anthology off the
> shelf to get the name! I also suspect that abbreviations get processed
> in the same way proper names do. Currently I am utterly unable, for
> example, to retrive the e-mail abbreviation, iirc. :-)
> Incidentally, T&TIT, followed through on ruthlessly, would require that
> we no longer penalize or object to plagiarism -- that in fact we
> encourage it. I would agree. As far as I can tell plagiarism came into
> existence sometime between 1400 and 1600, and didn't become fully
> established as a mode of human practice until well into the 18th
> century. I would guess that in another 50 to 76 years the very word will
> be obsolescent. With everything available in electronic text, people
> will quite naturally express themselves in the best words available,
> regardless of who wrote them to begin with.