-plagiarise-and-anyway-does-it-matter debate continues.
The Independent reports that: ...
Lucilla Andrews' 30-year-old book No Time for Romance, previously on sale on Amazon for $12.50, has jumped to $2,185.71 (£1,100).Novelists from the usually reclusive Thomas Pynchon to Zadie Smith have leapt passionately to McEwan's defense, and yesterdays' Times lists their statements. The most succinct is Martin Amis:
Historical fiction – as opposed to historical fantasy – cannot be written without help from historical sources. The novelist acknowledges that help, with gratitude, and the world moves on.while the snippiest is Margaret Atwood who offers the lovely expression "flea-hitching" to posterity. ('Scuse me while I scratch.)
Meanwhile Ben McIntire finds himself "in bed with McEwan" and quite enjoying it.
Natasha Alden, the PhD student whose research started the furor explains the purpose of her research and the questions it has thrown up about the right and proper way of using other people's writing. She notes:
It is very difficult for anyone not to be influenced by vivid and well written words and not to replicate them, consciously or unconsciously. The novel is a hybrid form – based in reality, but making something new; this is particularly apparent in historical novels. Historical details, as McEwan has said, bring life and vigour to fiction. The imagination is crucial, but research brings truth. So what is the novelists’ responsibility to their sources? How can a contemporary novel speak to the past, or speak out of it ...?(I do hope Ms. Alden eventually turns her thesis into a book. I'd want to buy it.)
Of all the musings on the topic, I most enjoyed Robert McCrum's article in last Sunday's Observer. (Shakespeare a pickpocket?)
So the jury has delivered its judgment. It is a much comforting one for all fictionators. And the whole business has created an entertaining little side-show for the last few days.
Perhaps now poor Mr. McEwan can go back to his work.
(Above: Pynchon's letter pinchoned from McEwan's website. All in the interest of research, you understand. Click and click to read.)