Plagiarism revisited
in Spectacular Performances
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The Renaissance revival of the classics was a revival of the classical sense of plagiarism, which was clear and explicit. Don Cameron Allen discovered a flagrant example of plagiarism in that indispensable classic of Elizabethan literary criticism, Francis Meres's Palladis Tamia. Christopher Ricks finds a general tendency to excuse or overlook or argue away plagiarism. If Luminalia constitutes plagiarism, so does William Shakespeare's use of old plays like Hamlet, old romances like Romeus and Juliet, old novels like Rosalynde. Plagiarism is the symptom, not the disease: the attack on plagiarism becomes almost at once an attack on Virgil, Ovid, and Aristotle. That is the disease: literature, culture, and the classics are precisely the problem. Sir Thomas Browne's gives a compendious list of classical offenders, including many of the monuments of ancient literature, history and science: Aristotle, Pliny, Lucian, Apuleius, Aelian, Athenaeus, "and many more".

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