Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dan Brown's Trial by Magazine

Thought the plagiarism charges against Dan Brown were now over and done with? Now, it seems, he faces trial by magazine.

In the July issue of Vanity Fair, Seth Mnookin raises new questions about the originality of The Da Vinci Code and takes up the cause of Lewis Purdue who lost a court case against Brown in the US courts earlier this year. Purdue claims that Brown's book was a rip-off of his own novel, Daughter of God. (I hadn't realised before this that the publisher Random house was suing Purdue, and not the other way around.)

According to The Age, The Vanity Fair article lists several points of similarity between the two books, among them:
... the key to the mystery is hidden in artworks, there are Swiss bank accounts, and there is a shadowy group in the Catholic Church. In Perdue's book, an art collector is murdered to protect the secret. In Brown's book, a curator is murdered to keep the secret.

When Ed Condren, an English professor at UCLA, performed a textual analysis of Perdue's work and The Da Vinci Code for Vanity Fair, he concluded:

I didn't think there was any question the one borrowed from the other. Daughter of God and The Da Vinci Code employ identical narrative strategies. These novels share the same background story, not only in the personages and events they refer to, but more important, in the identical ways they distort these historical events to support their nearly identical stories.

John Olsson, the director of Britain's Forensic Linguistics Institute, says of the book:

This is the most blatant example of in-your-face plagiarism I've ever seen. It just goes on and on. There are literally hundreds of parallels.
And it also looks as if Brown lifted an exact passage from Leonardo's Lost Robot, written by academic and robotic expert, Mark Rosheim.

There's also the suggestion that Brown's wife, Blythe, who did much of her husband's research may have sent Purdue mysterious e-mails under the name Ahamedd Saaddodeen. Quite what these e-mails were about I haven't been able to find out online.

But as they say, the plot thickens.

*Picture nicked from Florence Photo Gallery.

Related Posts:

Index: Rogues Gallery of Fakers and Plagiarisers

6 comments:

sympozium said...

What was ridiculous was some Chinese astrologer using an entire page in the Sunday Star to do an analysis of Brown's Lucky Stars. Everyone's trying to hitch a ride on the brown-gravy train :-)

Anonymous said...

After Baigent and Leigh unsuccesfully sued Dan Brown for plagiarising their book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, their book was selling like hotcakes on amazon.com.

Its true, everyone wants a piece of the Da Vinci cake. I'm quite sure now, there will be a hike in sales for Daughter of God. Seems like the formula to get rich, is to write a book and wait for someone to plagiarise it! ;-)

When Yann Martel wrote Life of Pi, Moacyr Scliar, author of Max and the Cats was unhappy that Martel had used his idea, but as of today, he has not sued. I'm quite sure the prospect of plagiarism itself would have increased his book sales. Although I am told, Moacyr Scliar is a better writer.

Thaatch

lainieyeoh said...

somewhat bemused at the idea of people scrambling to say they came up with the original da vinci code, but hmmm.

bibliobibuli said...

lainie - why? ideas get nicked all the time? and purdue did not bring the legal case - his publishers did, and losing it means that he's lost his life savings ...

thaatch - although martell said he never read the book but just a review of it

qaminante said...

I thought the accusations about copying the ideas behind the DVC were definitely odd, and wonder whether it wasn't solely intended to boost sales of the original non-fiction work which dates from the 80s (and has now been re-released!). However, plagiarism of other works of fiction is another matter entirely, especially when entire slabs of text may have been lifted - odd, then, that the resulting book was not exactly a brilliant piece of writing, whether his own or someone else's!

bibliobibuli said...

qaminante - as someone said (forget where) shame he didn't lift someone else's style!