Ian McEwan did nothing wrong, say the big-shot novelists.

Media criticism.
Dec. 8 2006 4:01 PM

What Did Ian McEwan Do?

Nothing wrong, say the big-shot novelists.

(Continued from Page 1)

Now McEwan:

In the way of medical treatments, she had already dabbed gentian violet on ringworm, aquaflavine emulsion on a cut, and painted lead lotion on a bruise.

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I detect no mash-up here, no adding of value, and no "creative use," to quote Pynchon's generous letter of support. McEwan helps himself to Andrews' words as if they first appeared on the planet in one of his rough drafts. To protest, as he does, that her memoir served as "research" is a lie. McEwan rewrote Andrews' vivid copy and called it his own. The laugh of larceny is that the Booker Prize-winner didn't even improve it.

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 Plagiarism or inspiration? Let me know your views, which will be graded for originality at slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

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