It’s happening in my own backyard. According to this article in the Crimson and also in today’s Globe, Kaavya Viswanathan’s How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life might contain passages that are similar to a book called Sloppy First, published by Random House. Viswanathan, a Harvard sophmore, received a half a million dollars for her first novel. Dreamworks has already purchased the movie rights. She’s not responding to any of this yet.
The Globe has helpfully printed the passages for our comparison.
That’s so depressing. Even more depressing, I’m sure there are instances where the author doesn’t even realize they’re doing it. Where they have it in their head because they’ve read it before, but they don’t realize it. In that regard it’s pretty scary.
Yes, very depressing. And the evidence of the passages suggests that she knew perfectly well what she was doing–i.e. there are small edits that would make a keyword search marginally less likely to catch it, but it is clearly the same sentences to begin with. As a teacher the thing I find really depressing about plagiarism is the way it represents a degradation of self-respect, there is a contempt in it for the audience but also for the self.
Sorry Kaavya, you lose
She’s responded to the allegations apparently. I’m posting about it above.