Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There Is Plagiarism And Then There Is Stupid Plagiarism

When I was giving my lecture on Goytisolo, I informed students that he is my favorite writer ever and that I have published articles on his work. The most recent of these articles is scheduled to come out next month. I told them that I can't stop reading his Marks of Identity and Count Julian because every new reading brings something new to my understanding of his work. When answering questions about Goytisolo, I demonstrated an extensive knowledge of his writing.

So, please, tell me, what kind of a genius then goes and inserts sentences copied directly from Goytisolo's second most famous novel Marks of Identity into their own text without putting them into quotation marks and attributing them to the source? Is there any chance that I will not be able to distinguish a student's writing from that of one of the most important Spanish authors of the XXth century? What is the likelihood of me not recognizing Goytisolo's very distinctive second person narrator?

And most importantly, what's the point of alienating the professor in this way during the penultimate week of the semester?


Pagan Topologist said...

This is weird. Is it possible the student was trying to impress you by demonstrating that he or she had read the assignments? The only other imaginable possibility is that he student has such an encyclopedic memory that he or she does not realize that it was a direct quote. I cannot think of any possible explanation beyond these two far-fetched ones.

Clarissa said...

I think there is a simpler explanation. The students had to write a certain number of sentences on the subject. This one couldn't come up with enough of his own and decided to dilute them with Goytisolo's.

GMP said...

Some kids like to challenge profs to see if they would get caught and to see if you actually read the assignments carefully. I would highlight the plagiarized text, add quotation marks and the reference, and write a matter-of-fact comment such as "Nice try. Next time, make sure you cite the source and put the quoted text inside quotation marks. Using other people's words without proper credit is considered plagiarism and is unacceptable in the classroom. "

Clarissa said...

This is EXACTLY what I wrote, almost word for word but in Spanish. :-)