Monday, May 01, 2006
Geoffrey Chaucer Defends Himself Against Charges of Plagiarism
On his blog, Geoffrey Chaucer defends himself against the allegations of plagiarism that have surfaced recently, stating, “Ich dide turne yt from a foule Italienne loue poeme ynto an historiale werke of Englysshe ful of high sentence.” Frater Thomas Walsingham has described the alleged plagiarism and Chaucer’s response to it in a recent broadsheet:
Callynge hymselfe a “huge fan” of Mayster Boccacce his poesie, Mayster Chaucere dide adde, “Aware ich was nat of how much the wordes of Boccacce dide stikke in myn imaginacioun.” Mayster Chaucere dide apologise to the soule of Boccacce and dide saye that his was the laste tyme he wolde model eny wrytynge upon hym in tyme to come, “saue for a smal werke in a frame-tale that ich endite at presente."
(Via Language Log. Also on Language Log, check out this and this. Our colleagues over there are also using semi-quantitative approaches to analyze last week’s other big plagiarism scandal, including Google Book Search and Amazon’s “Search Inside this Book.” They scan for short phrases like “was my age and died” to refute Malcolm Gladwell, who has argued that such phrases are ubiquitous in teen fiction, so their borrowing might be excusable.)
The Chaucer blog is quite clever. It even made its way (briefly) into my Chaucer grad seminar to show Chaucer in popular culture (there’s also a guy who raps Chaucer believe it or not).
It’s amazing how search engines such as Google and Amazon’s “Search Inside this Book” have become useful linguistic research tools (informal to be sure). I know linguists who frequently use it in this way.
I was fortunate enough to have worked for Mark Liberman at Penn. He’s very smart and seems to know as much about literature (and everything else) as linguistics. His posts at Language Log are always enlightening.
Other big plagiarism scandal? On cooking the books, NYTimes makes the connection, but <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&refer=us&sid=aHvzkcTdqrAE">Bloomberg ‘closes the chapter’ on the rewritten rules of management ethics.