Cryptomnesia 201. Plagiarism 101

karandash

Cryptomnesia is a disorder (see my previous post Cryptomnesia 101.)  It is characterized by forgetting about the real source of information, difficulty discerning whether the event is a reality or a figment of the imagination. Among the main symptoms of this disorder are the following:

  • difficulty in differentiating between dream and reality, hallucinations;
  • confusing own thoughts and beliefs with those the once read or heard;
  • confusing events of own life with lives of other people, either real or fictional (books,movies).

    Roswita Szyszka. Confusion.

    British scientists M. Howe and M. Debish investigated the causes of false memories and concluded that the occurrence of sensations similar to déjà vu, the most frequently found in people with the following features:

    • high IQ;
    • emotionality, sensitivity,
    • competence in a particular area of expertise;
    • communicative, friendly  personality;
    • good memory;
    • creative thinking.mod1

    Cryptomnesia can give rise to unintended plagiarism, especially when logical memories are no longer recognized as memories, but are experienced as newly created ideas. In the field of literature, the characteristics of this kind of plagiarism are, according to Jung, repetition of the general trend of a story, including some unimportant details, but in phrases which differ from the original ones.

    Unintended verbatim plagiarism is a rare occurrence. It could be caused by cryptomnesia in persons with an excellent verbal rote memory. Two possible instances are described in detail. Cryptomnesia may have been responsible in one case, but careless filing of a copied poem is the more likely explanation in the other. (Cryptomnesia and Plagiarism, F. KRÄUPL TAYLOR, 

    Cryptomnesia may  explain how the apparent plagiarism of such people as Helen Keller or George Harrison of the Beatles might actually be cases of hidden memory.

    In the 1970s, George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” was at the center of a heavily publicized copyright infringement suit, due to its similarity to the Ronnie Mack song “He’s So Fine“, a 1963 hit for the New York girl group the Chiffons. In 1976, Harrison was found to have subconsciously plagiarized the earlier tune.

    Helen Keller’s  The Frost King is a dead ringer of Margaret Canby’s  The Frost Fairies.

    Both may simply be cases of not having a conscious memory of their experiences of the works in question, thus cryptomnesia.

    howIn 2006, Kaavya Viswanathan, a Harvard University student, seemed to have scored about as big as a college sophomore possibly could. Not only was her novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got A Life, being published by Little, Brown, but she had also secured a movie deal for an adaptation of the book. But the Harvard Crimson reported after its release that several passages bore suspicious similarities to parts of the young adult novels “Sloppy Firsts” and “Second Helpings” by Megan McCafferty.

    Viswanathan released a statement citing her “photographic memory” as the problem, saying that “any phrasing similarities between (McCafferty’s) works and mine were completely unintentional and unconscious.”  Yet another case of cryptomnesia?

    nitАllegedly, Friedrich Nietzschе was a cryptomnesiac.  As a result of traumatic brain injury, philosopher periodically suffered from depression and even psychotic episodes.   The Thinker often confused reality with fantasy and often appropriated other peoples words and ideas.  Many of his philosophical concepts were later interpreted as plagiarism. Go and figure.

     

     

    The Dumas’ Musketeers got their start when Dumas read the first volume of the Memoirs of Monsieur D’Artagnan written by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras.  It is also said that he had never read past the first volume. Dumas almost duplicated the beginning/opening of the work. He also borrowed a few details from the Memoires M. le Comte de Rochefort, notably the branding of M’Lady. Alexander Dumas, was repeatedly accuses of plagiarism. He didn’t contesty this claim, what he did not argue, looking at the problem philosophically: “Everything in this world is a rip-off. Even the Lord God created Adam in His own image and likeness.

    When Shakespeare was accused of stealing someone else’s text, he reportedly said: “The text was as a girl, which I found in the mud and introduced into high society.”

    Neither Shakespeare nor Dumas were cryptomaniacs…

    I’m thinking of writing a novel. It’ll be a historical fiction focusing on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg, Russia, Raskolnikov — that’ll be his name — is tormented by his own nihilism, and the struggle between good and evil. Believing that he is above the law, and convinced that humanitarian ends justify vile means, he brutally murders an old woman — a pawnbroker whom he regards as “stupid, ailing, greedy…good for nothing.” Overwhelmed afterwards by feelings of guilt and terror, Raskolnikov confesses to the crime and goes to prison. There he realizes that happiness and redemption can only be achieved through suffering. Something to this effect.

Here I go:

On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge…

Igor Ivanov. Raskolnikov

What? CRIME AND PUNISHMENT? By Fyodor Dostoevsky? Translated by Constance Garnett?  Plagiarism? Oh, no! I must be a cryptomaniac.

Let me try again. Something entirely different. How’s this for the first line: It was a dark and stormy night…? Ah, well…

Advertisements

Double, double, toil and trouble…

halloweendouble[1]Theater scene: two women making a call on a witch (the three of them wear theater masks). Roman mosaic from the Villa del Cicerone in Pompeii, now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Naples). Work of Dioscorides of Samos.

787px-Pompeii_-_Villa_del_Cicerone_-_Mosaic_-_MANWitches have a long and elaborate history. Their forerunners appear in the Bible, in the story of King Saul consulting the so-called Witch of Endor. They also crop up in the classical era in the form of winged harpies and screech-owl-like “strixes” – frightening flying creatures that fed on the flesh of babies. (– Alastair Sooke.)

Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen (circa 1472/1477-1533) Saul and the witch of Endor. Date 1526

Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen (circa 1472/1477-1533) Saul and the witch of Endor.
Date 1526

Abandoned by God, desperate to get a reply from Him, Saul summons witches to foretell his future. Scrolls in the skies cite passages from the Bible. In the center, inside a magic circle, a witch is crafting her witchery.

Hans Baldung Grien, The Weather Witches (1523), oil on panel, Städel Museum, Frankfurt. Français : Deux sorcières Date 1523

Hans Baldung Grien, The Weather Witches (1523), oil on panel, Städel Museum, Frankfurt. Français : Deux sorcières Date 1523

Dosso Dossi (1490–1542) Witchcraft (Allegory of Hercules) Date c. 1535

Dosso Dossi (1490–1542) Witchcraft (Allegory of Hercules)
Date c. 1535

After Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Witch of Malleghem. The witch and her assistants prepare to cut stones of foolishness out of the heads of three victims in the foreground; around them gathers a crowd to witness the surgery. 1559 Engraving

The Witch of Malleghem. After Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The witch and her assistants prepare to cut stones of foolishness out of the heads of three victims in the foreground; around them gathers a crowd to witness the surgery. 1559
Engraving

The tumultuous 16th and 17th centuries were ‘golden age’ of witchcraft imagery. Witch trials convulsed Europe, witch-hunts lasting from 1550 to 1630.

“Across Europe, there was the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, fantastic poverty and social change,” says Petherbridge. “Even King James in his text Daemonologie [1597] was asking: why was there such a proliferation of witches? Everybody assumed it was because the world had got so foul that it was coming to an end.” As a result there was an outpouring of brutally misogynistic witchcraft imagery, with artists taking advantage of the invention of the printing press to disseminate material rapidly and widely.(– Deanna Petherbridge, artist and writer.)

Frans Francken the Younger: Witches’ Kitchen, c. 1610:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

A fine recipe from the three Shakespearean witches — an easy meal for the whole family to enjoy.

Theodore Chasseriau, Macbeth and Banquo Encounter the Three WitchesThree Witches, 1855 Postcards, Witchy

Theodore Chasseriau, Macbeth and Banquo Encounter the Three WitchesThree Witches, 1855 Postcards, Witchy

In the 19th Century, the Pre-Raphaelites and the Symbolists were both drawn to the figure of the witch, whom they recast as a femme fatale. But their sinister seductresses arguably belong more to the realm of sexual fantasy than high art.

The Love Potion by  Evelyn De Morgan.

The Love Potion by Evelyn De Morgan. The Love Potion is a 1903 painting by Evelyn De Morgan depicting a witch with a black cat familiar at her feet. According to Elise Lawton Smith, the painting “exhibits a Pre-Raphaelite fascination with medieval subjects and decorative detailing.” The Love Potion pushed the boundaries of society’s expectations of women by “exploring the nature of female authority through the practice of sorcery.”

The Sorceress  by John William Waterhouse
The Sorceress by John William Waterhouse

The Sorceress is a painting by John William Waterhouse completed between 1911 and 1915.

 The Magic Circle (Waterhouse painting) The Magic Circle is an oil painting in the Pre-Raphaelite style, created in 1886 by John William Waterhouse. The painting depicts a witch or sorceress drawing a fiery magic circle on the earth to create a ritual space.
The Magic Circle is an oil painting in the Pre-Raphaelite style, created in 1886 by John William Waterhouse. The painting depicts a witch or sorceress drawing a fiery magic circle on the earth to create a ritual space.

And a rather non-threatening witches of Jean-Baptiste Monge:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Many art critics agree that throughout the history of the art having the witchcraft imagery as its subject the one constant is — surprise, surprise! — misogyny (save the sexy Pre-Raphaelites’ sorceresses, obviously, which more comfortably fall into the category of sexual objectification.)Quotation-Charlie-Huston-attention-women-Meetville-Quotes-34875“I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark, though the witches are all hung, and Christianity and candles have been introduced.”
Henry David Thoreau

To Be Or Not To Be That Is The Game

Plebs needed teeth cleaned. Plebs went to a dentist…

A funny thing can happen in the dental office while you are waiting, particularly if your smartphone looses its marbles. You settle down, pick up an old magazine from the rack and travel back in time.

You observe a visage of Kim Kardashian with Kanye West to the east of her, and baby North still inside her, to the south of her navel. And you marvel at life’s miracles.

Seriously, there is a lot of accidental knowledge that comes to us directly from the old magazines on the coffee tables in dental offices.

My latest find is an old issue of the  TIME Magazine, dated ThursdayAug. 08, 2013. The article was Hello, Sweet Prince. Hamlet is reborn as a Choose Your Own Adventure, by Lev Grossman. 

times page

Much scholarly commentary has been expended on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, maybe more than on any other play in the English language, but I don’t think it’s ever been said of Hamlet that it would make a good Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Nevertheless: that was the pitch that a 32-year-old Canadian writer named Ryan North made last November on Kickstarter. North figured it would take about $20,000 to produce To Be or Not to Be: That Is the Adventure. The Internet disagreed. It gave him $580,905.

The Internet chose wisely… (– from the TIME Magazine article)2014-02-11_13-57-58_334

Teeth cleaned to gleaming shine, I found out that the book, To Be or Not To Be by  Ryan North is being published already, to great accolades from everywhere.

To Be or Not To Be is a choose-your-own-path version of Hamlet by New York Times best-selling author Ryan North. Play as Hamlet, Ophelia, or King Hamlet—if you want to die on the first page and play as a ghost. It’s pretty awesome! Readers can follow Yorick skull markers to stick closely to Shakespeare‘s plot, or go off-script and explore alternative possibilities filled with puzzles and humor. (-–Amazon)

To Be Or Not

I also checked the KICKSTARTER page, where  Ryan North makes an excellent pitch of his book. The hyperlink To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure will take you there. Below and on the KICKSTARTER page, you can indulge in viewing a promotional video, starring the author.

And no, I don’t have a book yet. Am I planning to travel Shakespearean landscape, following Yorick skull markers? I donno... Should you do it ahead of me — lemmeno.