Plagiarism 101

May 10, 2002 |

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W
By Gabriel Brownstein
W. W. Norton. 192 pages. $23.95.

The rules of plagiarism can be confusing. It’s not okay for you to “borrow” your roommate’s term paper, and historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and the late Stephen Ambrose were recently busted for improperly attributing sources. On the other hand, in his debut collection of short stories, Gabriel Brownstein rips off characters, dialogue, and plot points from Hawthorne and Kafka and nobody seems to mind. What gives?