24 April 2006


Here's a chapter from a book I'm shopping to literary agents, I'm calling it How I Got Shipwrecked, Met Wee Folks, Big Folks, Floating Folks, Smart Horses, and a Bunch of Yahoos

I know very well, how little Reputation is to be got by Writings which require neither Genius nor Learning, nor indeed any other Talent, except a good Memory, or an exact Journal. I know likewise, that Writers of Travels, like Dictionary-Makers, are sunk into Oblivion by the Weight and Bulk of those who come last, and therefore lie uppermost. And it is higly probable, that such travellers who shall hereafter visit the Countries described in this Work of mine, may be detecting my Errors, (if there be any) and adding many new Discoveries of their own, jostle me out of Vogue, and stand in my Place; making the World forget that ever I was an Author. This indeed would be too great a Mortification if I wrote for Fame: But, as my sole Intention was the PUBLICK GOOD, I cannot be altogether disappointed. For, who can read of the Virtues I have mentioned in the glorious Houyhnhnms, without being ashamed of his own Vices, when he considers himself as the reasoning, governing Animal of his Country? I shall say nothing of those remote Nations where Yahoos preside; amongst which the least corrupted are the Brobdignagians, whose wise Maxims in Morality and Government, it would be our Happiness to observe. But I forbear descanting further, and rather leave the judicious Reader to his own Remarks and Applications.

Any similarities between that passage and more famous works by long dead authors is only a reflection of the process where I internalized the works of that good and fine gentleman from long ago. Certainly the precision with which I accidentally recreated a passage from Chapter XII of Gulliver's Travels was merely a reflection of my Swiftian scholarship, and was in no way meant as a misrepresentation of work by that past master as work that was done by myself. Honestly, when I wrote the above passage I did not have my copy of The Basic Writings of Jonathan Swift opened to page 624.

Why won't you believe me?

What, you think I'm as guilty as this gentlewoman? (h/t Drudge)

But I really, really, really, internalized the work of Swift, honest. (almost said, honest Indian, but that would be in such bad taste (and she's the wrong kind of Indian, anyway) that obviously I thought better of it, so please ignore this parenthetical entirely (including any nested parenthetical thoughts embedded in the main parenthetical statement that you should have paid no attention to in the first place))

So really, I'm no more guilty of plagiarism than Kaavya Viswanathan.

So Dreamworks, Call ME! I'd like to have input on the script of the film version of my exciting travelogue/adventure story/social commentary novel that in no way is a word for word transcription of Gulliver's Travels.

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