Wednesday, November 28, 2012

T. S. Eliot Quote Regarding Plagiarism

Many people have read a quote attributed to T. S. Eliot that goes as follows:
"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."
These words come from an article that Eliot wrote about Philip Massinger. However, it is instructive to read a bit further in the article:
"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion."
The last line is particularly relevant as that is exactly the reason I suspected plagiarism on the Fanstory site. Inconsistent writing with glimmers of originality provoked my suspicions, and I found that the glimmers of originality were generally the parts of the poems--or the entire poems--that appeared to be lifted from other sources. The incoherent and weak poems and parts of poems belonged to the poet who did the lifting.

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