Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 1525
About the passages below: does Pearce begin this paragraph with any kind of
reference or note to Carpenter (I can't find Pearce's book to check)? If
not, and if he doesn't acknowledge Carpenter in any way, then this is
clearly a case of plagiarism. The structure of the paragraph matches
Carpenter's, the sentences are very close in wording, the ideas and content
are straight from Carpenter. If this went to a court Pearce would be found
guilty of plagiarizing; he would lose his job at my university if this were
brought before a disciplinary board. It's that serious.
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2004 21:58:54 EST
Subject: Plagiarism (was Re: Pearce on Tolkien and Carpenter)
In a message dated 3/10/2004 12:25:04 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> Well. Pearce's _Man and Myth_ for long stretches repeatsUm, I have a rather delicate matter to bring up with these passages from
> Carpenter's text very closely. That was at least my impression.
> Here is a randomly chosen paragraph from Pearce's book
> "In theory Edith was quite happy to become a Catholic, but in
> practice there were several difficulties attached to her doing so.
> In the three years of her separation from Tolkien she had
> become a very active member of the Church of England.
> Consequently, she had made many friends at the local Anglican
> church, she enjoyed a certain status in the parish and the routines
> of local parish life had become interwoven with the very fabric
> of her existence. To renounce all this would not be easy.
> Furthermore, the house in which she lived was owned by a friend
> who was strongly anti-Catholic. Would she still have a roof over
> her head if she 'poped'? She was in a difficult situation and
> suggested to Tolkien that it would be easier if her conversion
> could be delayed, at least until they were officially engaged or
> until their marriage was near. Tolkien would hear nothing of this
> and insisted that she act quickly and decisively."
> The corresponding text in Carpenter's book (a few pages into
> the chapter "Reunion") reads:
> "She was in theory quite happy to do this -- indeed she believed
> that her family had long ago been Catholic. But it was not a simple
> matter. She was a member of the Church of England, and a very
> active member. During her separation from Ronald a large
> proportion of her life had centred on the parish church at her
> Cheltenham home, and she had made herself useful in church
> affairs. She had in consequence acquired some status in the
> parish; and it was a smart parish, typical of the elegant town. Now
> Ronald wanted her to renounce all this and to go to a church
> where nobody knew her; and looking at it from that point of view
> she did not relish the prospect. She was also afraid that her 'Uncle'
> Jessop in whose house she lived might be very angry, for like
> many others of his age and class he was strongly anti-Catholic.
> Would he allow her to go living under under his roof until her
> marriage if she 'poped'? It was an awkward situation, and she
> suggested to Ronald that the matter might be delayed until they
> were officially engaged or the time of their marriage was near.
> But he would not hear of this. He wanted her to act quickly."
Carpenter and Pearce. I am not, I admit, an expert on plagiarism, but I
carefully read the news stories in the past several years about several
(mostly reporters and authors of popular history books) who were accused of
eventually punished for plagiarism. The passages quoted in those news
from the original source and the work that supposedly was plagiarized from
that source sounded to me just about as close as the two passages quoted
Are any of you experts on plagiarism? If you're an English teacher, for
instance, and you found that the passage in a paper that a student had
and the original source that he took his research from to be as close as the
two passages above, would you call that plagiarism?