Plagiarism vs intertextuality

Via EFDL, El Plagio Literario. Quim Monzó, Luis Racionero and Lucía Etxebarría apparently see themselves as practicians of intertextuality rather than plagiarists. But surely virtually no Spanish readers will have read or even heard of their sources, Courrier International, Gilbert Murray and Antonio Colinas. And so, if they don’t indicate their debt for such an ignorant public then for all practical purposes it isn’t intertextuality but theft.

Spanish jurisprudence is not that simple. In the case of Cela it was apparently ruled that a good writer simply could not be a plagiarist, and in the first Etxebarría case (she settled the second one) that mere commoners were incapable of telling the difference between plagiarism and intertextuality. Justice reduced to the guy in the limo saying, “Do you know who I am?”

Of course, with software piracy in Spain still ten percentage points higher than in the rest of Western Europe, and institutional Spain waist-deep in construction-related corruption, perhaps Spanish plagiarists are simply intertextualising public morality.

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  1. Well, with Spanish political discourse itself plagiarized directly from the 16th century…

    Also interesting is your embedded implication that the Iberian intelligentsia in general might be capable of coming up with an original idea.

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