Plagiarism: The next generation
A 17-year-old novelist defends herself in the latest copycat scandal. Are we just too old to understand?
Recent plagiarism accusations against the 17-year-old author of a German novel feel like déjà vu all over again, with one key distinction: Helene Hegemann, who wrote the best-selling tale of drugging and clubbing, "Axolotl Roadkill," is defending the practice, telling one German newspaper, "I myself don't feel it is stealing, because I put all the material into a completely different and unique context and from the outset consistently promoted the fact that none of that is actually by me."
BY LAURA MILLER
BY LAURA MILLER
Hegemann lifted as much as a full page of text from an obscure, independently published novel, "Strobo," by a blogger known as Airen. Another German blogger, Deef Pirmasens, was the first to point out the passages from "Axolotl Roadkill" that are said to be largely duplicated from "Strobo," with small changes. Despite the uproar caused by this revelation, "Axolotl Roadkill" has been selling better than ever and has been nominated for the $20,000 fiction prize at the Leipzig Book Fair. "Obviously, it isn't completely clean but, for me, it doesn't change my appraisal of the text," a jury member and newspaper book critic told the New York Times, explaining that the jury knew about the plagiarism accusations when it selected the novel for its short list. "I believe it's part of the concept of the book."
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