A concise, lively, and bracing exploration of an issue bedeviling our cultural landscape–plagiarism in literature, academia, music, art, and film–by one of our most influential and controversial legal scholars. Best-selling novelists J. K. Rowling and Dan Brown, popular historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose, Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, first novelist Kaavya Viswanathan: all have rightly or wrongly been accused of plagiarism–theft of intellectual property–provoking widespread media punditry. But what exactly is plagiarism? How has the meaning of this notoriously ambiguous term changed over time as a consequence of historical and cultural transformations? Is the practice on the rise, or just more easily detectable by technological advances? How does the current market for expressive goods inform our own understanding of plagiarism? Is there really such a thing as “cryptomnesia,” the unconscious, unintentional appropriation of another’s work? What are the mysterious motives and curious excuses of plagiarists? What forms of punishment and absolution does this “sin” elicit? What is the good in certain types of plagiarism?
Provocative, insightful, and extraordinary for its clarity and forthrightness, The Little Book of Plagiarism is an analytical tour de force in small, the work of “one of the top twenty legal thinkers in America” (Legal Affairs), a distinguished jurist renowned for his adventuresome intellect and daring iconoclasm.
About the Author
Richard A. Posner is a judge on the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. Judge Posner has written many works on jurisprudence and legal philosophy, as well as books and articles on issues of moment, including An Affair of State: The Investigation, Impeachment, and Trial of President Clinton; Breaking the Deadlock: The 2000 Election, the Constitution, and the Courts; Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline; Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11; and Catastrophe: Risk and Response. He lives in Chicago.
Praise for The Little Book of Plagiarism…
On Richard A. Posner:
“He writes with a flair that puts most journalists to shame and a depth of knowledge that puts most professors to shame.”
–Alan Ryan, The New York Times Book Review
“Posner has a voracious intellectual curiosity and a discipline for work rivaled by almost nobody in the United States.”
–Alan Wolfe, The New Republic
“An intellectual force to be reckoned with . . . he can lay claim to the title of pre-eminent judicial theorist of our time.”
–Leonard H. Becker, The Nation
“He writes with a refreshing parsimonious intensity.”
–Robert S. Boynton, The Washington Post
“A marvel. He is hyperactive like Harold Bloom, audacious like Christopher Hitchens, and a practical man of the world like Alan Greenspan.”
–David Brooks, The New York Times Book Review
“A polymath, a one-man think thank.”
–Gary Rosen, The Wall Street Journal
“Posner has not only the lively intelligence one expects of a public intellectual, but also extraordinary energy and resourcefulness.”
–Gertrude Himmelfarb, Commentary
“A felicitous writer with a marvelously caustic wit . . . a pleasure to read.”
–Eric Alterman, The Nation