Harvard undergrad novelist internalized a novel

Epic Fail

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May 10, 2005
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http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=513015

Harvard undergrad Kaavya Viswanathan was getting paid 500,000 to write two novels, but turned out she plagiarized parts of her first novel. Should Harvard expel her?

Samples of her internalizations from Megan McCafferty's novel:

From page 6 of McCafferty?s first novel: ?Sabrina was the brainy Angel. Yet another example of how every girl had to be one or the other: Pretty or smart. Guess which one I got. You?ll see where it?s gotten me.?

From page 39 of Viswanathan?s novel: ?Moneypenny was the brainy female character. Yet another example of how every girl had to be one or the other: smart or pretty. I had long resigned myself to category one, and as long as it got me to Harvard, I was happy. Except, it hadn?t gotten me to Harvard. Clearly, it was time to switch to category two.?


From page 7 of McCafferty?s first novel: ?Bridget is my age and lives across the street. For the first twelve years of my life, these qualifications were all I needed in a best friend. But that was before Bridget?s braces came off and her boyfriend Burke got on, before Hope and I met in our seventh-grade honors classes.

From page 14 of Viswanathan?s novel: ?Priscilla was my age and lived two blocks away. For the first fifteen years of my life, those were the only qualifications I needed in a best friend. We had first bonded over our mutual fascination with the abacus in a playgroup for gifted kids. But that was before freshman year, when Priscilla?s glasses came off, and the first in a long string of boyfriends got on.?

Edit: She is caught internalizing a second book.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=513213
 

BigJ

Lifer
Nov 18, 2001
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I read about this today in the paper.

Should Harvard expel her based on this?

Well if she would have gotten into the university without this being on her EC list, then no. If it was the factor that got her in, yes.

If this has nothing to do with Harvard, outside of her being a student there, then no, she should not be expelled.
 

Kelvrick

Lifer
Feb 14, 2001
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Thats really iffy in my opinion, although if I was in charge, I probably wouldn't, but then I also need to read the rest of both novels.

That, and
Harvard undergrad Kaavya Viswanathan was getting paid 500,000 to write two novels, but turned out she plagiarized parts of her first novel. Should Harvard expel her?
made it sound like she used stuff from one of her own novels.

Which is it?

EDIT: Read article, n/m the question.

EDIT2: Damn you BigJ, couldn't read article and post edit before your quote.
 

BigJ

Lifer
Nov 18, 2001
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Originally posted by: Kelvrick
Thats really iffy in my opinion, although if I was in charge, I probably wouldn't, but then I also need to read the rest of both novels.

That, and
Harvard undergrad Kaavya Viswanathan was getting paid 500,000 to write two novels, but turned out she plagiarized parts of her first novel. Should Harvard expel her?
made it sound like she used stuff from one of her own novels.

Which is it?

She plagarized another author's work.
 

mugs

Lifer
Apr 29, 2003
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Originally posted by: BigJ
I read about this today in the paper.

Should Harvard expel her based on this?

Well if she would have gotten into the university without this being on her EC list, then no. If it was the factor that got her in, yes.

If this has nothing to do with Harvard, outside of her being a student there, then no, she should not be expelled.

It raises questions about her character, her academic honesty, and it makes Harvard look bad by association.

But I honestly don't care. Stephen Ambrose was accused of plagiarism, but I still read and enjoy his books. :)

Edit: My college had a policy that if you were arrested by the local police, it could result in disciplinary action by the university. Things you do outside of college can affect you in college.
 

simms

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Sep 21, 2001
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Those sentences aren't even crucial to the story. I don't know, considering that there are probably millions of other words in the book, 99.999% is original...
 

AStar617

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Sep 29, 2002
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Side question: how the hell does a 17-year old get offered a 2-book $500K deal? I'm not being facetious, I really want to know how that happens.
 

thelanx

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Jul 3, 2000
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She paraphrased a total of 24 or so phrases/sentences/passages from two novels of some chick lit author. Personally I don't understand why someone who works so hard to write a novel (I'm sure lots of work actually went into it for plot etc.) would plagiarize such small unimportant details, sounds like she shot herself in the foot. As for expulsion, it is an iffy topic, since she didn't technically use it for school work. On the other hand, she hired a public relations firm to help her get into Harvard...it was this firm that liked her book and sent it on to a publisher. She's also got a deal with Dreamworks for a movie adaption. Personally I think while it was unacceptable on her part and not very smart, people are also being very harsh on this young girl, seeming eager to bring her down from her previous success. I think jealousy might have something to do with it. Being jealous because she had the dedication and skill to write a bestseller is unwarranted IMO, she should be punished but I wouldn't want anyone to go through the stuff she's going through now.
 

Zenmervolt

Elite member
Oct 22, 2000
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Of course she should be expelled. Colleges have ethics clauses in their student contracts. Lying on the application should definitely be grounds for expulsion. So should committing fraud during college.

ZV
 

Epic Fail

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May 10, 2005
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Originally posted by: simms
Those sentences aren't even crucial to the story. I don't know, considering that there are probably millions of other words in the book, 99.999% is original...

The two samples posted were only a small fraction of internalizations, I think there were 20+ instances of word for word copying. Plus the characters and the story of both books are very similar.
 

mugs

Lifer
Apr 29, 2003
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Originally posted by: AStar617
Side question: how the hell does a 17-year old get offered a 2-book $500K deal? I'm not being facetious, I really want to know how that happens.

Apparantly based on a book that was previously published by a smaller company.
 

thelanx

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Jul 3, 2000
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Originally posted by: mugs
Originally posted by: AStar617
Side question: how the hell does a 17-year old get offered a 2-book $500K deal? I'm not being facetious, I really want to know how that happens.

Apparantly based on a book that was previously published by a smaller company.

I think her publisher is Little, Brown and the novel she plagiarized from is published by Random House. I think Random House is bigger, but I might be wrong.
 

mugs

Lifer
Apr 29, 2003
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Originally posted by: thelanx
Originally posted by: mugs
Originally posted by: AStar617
Side question: how the hell does a 17-year old get offered a 2-book $500K deal? I'm not being facetious, I really want to know how that happens.

Apparantly based on a book that was previously published by a smaller company.

I think her publisher is Little, Brown and the novel she plagiarized from is published by Random House. I think Random House is bigger, but I might be wrong.

You're right, but that's the company that gave her the two book deal. Another company published her first book. I think.

Viswanathan worked with a book packaging company?17th Street Productions, which is owned by Alloy Entertainment?in the development of ?Opal Mehta.? Alloy, which shares the novel?s copyright with Viswanathan, will produce the film adaptation along with Contrafilm.
 
Nov 3, 2004
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she just plagiarized those two sentences? It feels like she just might've had those two sentences stick out in her mind... don't think she should be expelled if the rest of it is original
 

everman

Lifer
Nov 5, 2002
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Originally posted by: thelanx On the other hand, she hired a public relations firm to help her get into Harvard...

Ok I think this is a sign that things are getting a bit competitive...
 

slayer202

Lifer
Nov 27, 2005
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Originally posted by: hypn0tik
She plagarized. She should face the consequence. It's really that simple.

it's not that simple. try reading the thread. she plagiarized in a novel she wrote. it had nothing to do with the university. this is why it is being debated. idk, did it help her get in or not though?
 

Whisper

Diamond Member
Feb 25, 2000
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Honestly, the plagiarism doesn't seem aggregious. It looks to be more along the lines of her having read the McCafferty novel, and then--appreciating the style--being influenced by it to an abnormal degree in her own. It should definitely lead to the book being scrapped, but I'm not sure if it should bring about an expulsion.
 

mugs

Lifer
Apr 29, 2003
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Originally posted by: AStar617
Here is how she got the deal.

And here is the rather long list of her plagiarisms that have been noted.

:roll::thumbsdown:

Why, why, why would she not change the 170?! On one hand that is clear evidence that it was intentional, on the other hand it's clear evidence that it was not intentional because she can't be that stupid! Not saying it was coincidental, just possibly unconscious.
 

FFactory0x

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Aug 8, 2001
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If this bitch doesnt get expelled just cause she's harvard i would be pissed. M ass would be canned in a second but they havent caught me yet :)
 

AStar617

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Sep 29, 2002
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Originally posted by: mugs
Originally posted by: AStar617
Here is how she got the deal.

And here is the rather long list of her plagiarisms that have been noted.

:roll::thumbsdown:

Why, why, why would she not change the 170?! On one hand that is clear evidence that it was intentional, on the other hand it's clear evidence that it was not intentional because she can't be that stupid! Not saying it was coincidental, just possibly unconscious.
Never underestimate the potential for human stupidity. I hope she gets everything she deserves, professionally and scholastically, for trying to get away with this. :|

 

AStar617

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Sep 29, 2002
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Originally posted by: simms
Those sentences aren't even crucial to the story. I don't know, considering that there are probably millions of other words in the book, 99.999% is original...

Actually, the overall premise of the book, as well as characters and plot points, apparently bear similarity as well.
 

AStar617

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Sep 29, 2002
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Originally posted by: thelanx
Being jealous because she had the dedication and skill to write a bestseller is unwarranted IMO...
...yea, because she clearly didn't have the dedication or skill--she left that to the original author and collected the check.