Borrowed Feathers

Plagiarism and the Limits of Imitation in Early Modern Europe

Edited by: Bjornstad Hall

In present day, plagiarism has become a subject of frequent dispute, accentuated by conflicts regarding the use of sources in textbooks, the way journalists and students use the internet in their writings, etc. This collection examines the pressing contemporary problem of plagiarism by looking closely at various practices of textual transfer among a number of Early Modern writers. It discusses the concept of plagiarism prior to our modern, post-romanticism understanding of the term. The focus is on plagiarism as practiced and perceived in Early Modern times - 15th to 17th century - with its relation and opposition to the accepted and canonical mode of literary/artistic appropriation, namely imitation in its many different forms. In the Early Modern period, the concept as such was never clearly defined, most likely because it was not conceived in opposition to romantic originality, but in the same spectrum as imitation. There was no legal protection of literary property at the time, beyond the eventual rights of the print house. Rising authorial consciousness and the development of print culture increased the sensitivity to issues of plagiarism throughout the period. Borrowed Feathers goes beyond the repetition of commonplaces about the early history of plagiarism, and is a showcase of diversity in geography and textual matter - including literary, scientific, and diplomatic writings


257 pages

Publication Date: 5/12/2008
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9788274773332