Plagiarists by chance or by choice? Literature and film tell plagiarism

Sandro Volpe


The notion of plagiarism is so controversial and richly stratified that it fascinates scholars from many different disciplines. For the boundary between plagiarism and similar notions is rather hard to be established. Originality is threatened from any direction: consider imitation, copy, theft. Many forgers are around: some start from afar, some others simply seize the opportunity. Then fatally, the threshold between fiction and reality is trespassed: novels’ plots are about plagiarism, and also cinema easily takes that obsession over. There are plenty of stories that concern a literary theft. This set is so large that it justifies a more general question: how plagiarism can be told? This question may seem too vague in order to constitute the first exploratory step. Yet, as often happens, both a theoretical contemplation and a preliminary narratological competence help in defining a map, or better a corpus that is sufficiently homogeneous and representative. The question, therefore, can and must be more explicit: from what perspective plagiarism can be told? As we will see, the issue of perspective governs many other writing choices.


Plagiarism; Point of view; Plot

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