Friday, May 05, 2006

The "controversy": Viswanathan, Harvard, and the (un)Making of an "exceptional" brown girl

Mark Lawson in the guardian "Fingers in the word-till"

"This panic about language-theft is prompted by Kaavya Viswanathan, the teenage American writer whose debut book - How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life - has been withdrawn from bookstores and her publishing contract cancelled after the discovery that her first novel incorporated portions of books by four other writers, including Megan McCafferty and Salman Rushdie.

This case seems to have some similarities with those of two American journalists - Stephen Glass of the New Republic and Jayson Blair of the New York Times - whose writing was proved to be fraudulent, although the techniques slightly varied: Glass was fictionalising material, Blair stealing it from others. Viswanathan seems to have combined these approaches by passing off the fiction of others as her own." read more

Motoko Rich, 'Opal Mehta' Won't Get a Life After All read more in the new york times, Motoko Rich and Glenn Rifkin, "For a Harvard Student and Aggrieved Novelist, Plagiarism Generates Interest," read more

Stewart Klawans in the nation "Sloppy Seconds"

"So what makes the Opal Mehta case such a thirsty blotter for news ink? The word "Harvard" may have something to do with it. I suppose Ms. Viswanathan would not have gotten so much attention as a student at Tufts--or, for that matter, if she were named Carla Nathan. Wild speculation on my part, of course; but maybe newspaper readers take special interest in the affairs of celebrity universities, and in the overreachings of the dark-skinned and ambitious. Maybe--an even wilder speculation--newspaper editors don't mind encouraging such interest." read more

Finally Sandip Roy in Salon "How Opal Mehta saved our lives,"

"I know this must come as small consolation to you these days, as dreams of book deals, film projects and maybe even Ivy League futures seem to wither on the vine. But as one Indian-American to another, I say thank you. I have to confess to a sneaking sense of relief when Opal Mehta's life came crashing down around you. It's not schadenfreude. It's just this relief that finally we can fail, that we can screw up spectacularly and live to tell the tale." read more


At 5:23 AM, Blogger nubian said...

i don't even know what to say about this situation. hmm..


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