• 프린트
  • 메일
  • 스크랩
  • 목록
  • 글자크기
  • 크게
  • 작게

359. Finding the Truth behind the Plagiarism Scandal

By Mun,Yu-jeong 기자2015.08.25 09:42:24

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution” said Paul Gauguin. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between plagiarism and revolution in modern society, due to overlapping caused by the large amount of accumulated information. These days, there are a lot of arguments over whether art is plagiarism or revolution. Recently, Shin Kyung-sook, Korean famous novelist known for Please, Look after Mom, has been blamed for her plagiarism. How was she embroiled in this controversy, and how will this incident affect the Korean literary world?

  

Allegations of Plagiarism Coming to the Surface

“Darkness of Idol, Corruption of Literature” is the title of an article posted on The Huffington Post Korea on June 16, 2015. The article claims that Legend by Shin Kyung-sook, plagiarized content from Patriotism by Mishima Yukio, a Japanese writer. The controversial passages depict a scene in which a couple has sex and consist of the same words such as “intense, dust, throw down, body to know joy” in the same sequence. In particular, “body to know joy” is considered a phrase that cannot be written without intention. For these reasons, Legend is suspected of plagiarism because of its number of similarities outside the scope of coincidence. Moreover, Shin had been accused of plagiarism charges in the past. Footprint of Heavy Bird and Far, on the Endless Road published in 1990 and 1992 were identical to titles of poems published in 1987 and 1989 by the poet, Yun Hee-sang. Therefore, doubts on the literary creativity of Shin have been increasing as other works have been caught in the plagiarism scandal.

 

Disappointing Explanation

Regarding the allegations, Shin has insisted that she has never read Patriotism and would not respond to the dispute, which leaves a deep scar on her reputation. Publisher Chang-bi asserted that it is problematic to raise the plagiarism allegation, just because of similarities in several sentences. Chang-bi added that controversial passages are about ordinary subjects with the possibility of overlap and are not ingenious enough to influence an entire work. Many people were enraged at these comments and criticized Shin for not admitting her plagiarism and publisher Chang-bi for taking her side. Against growing criticism, Shin changed her stance on the issue. She said that it might be right to cast a doubt on her work after comparing sentences of Legend with those of Patriotism several times. She tried to recall whether she had ever read Patriotism but seemed unable to believe her memory anymore. She apologized for having caused troubles and said that she would have time for self-reflection, dropping all her commitments, including that of a literary award examiner. After her explanation, publisher Chang-bi did a flip-flop on the issue in a day. It decided to stop to publishing the controversial novel, and to recall copies from bookstores.

 

The Cartel of Silence in Korean Literature

This incident implies structural problems in the Korean literary world as well as writers and publishers. Popular writers and publishing companies may have mutual symbiotic relationships in that popular writers make lots of money for publishers, and conversely publishers protect writers blindly from any criticism. Many authors and critics have formed a ‘cartel of silence’ in which they are not allowed to criticize popular writers, walking on eggshells around publishers. Doubts raised could be easily covered up by collusion between media and specialists under this circumstance. However, nowadays, these issues can be spread by SNS such as Facebook and Twitter, which let all the people know about the serious problems in the Korean literary world.

Through this issue, the standard for plagiarism in literature has begun to get attention in Korea. According to the Korean Society of Authors, there are no exact standards classifying and defining plagiarism. A standard dictionary definition states that it is plagiarism to copy more than a sentence or 6 words from other works without quotation and indication of sources. However, it is dangerous to judge based on this standard alone, regardless of literary characteristics. The Korean Society of Authors has therefore announced a plan to establish guidelines for a standard of literature plagiarism by this year at the latest.

 

 

Shin is still taking an ambiguous stance on admitting her plagiarism. Many people as well as her fans were disappointed and urged a breaking of the cartel of silence in the literary world. The Korean Society of Authors supervised a discussion about plagiarism, and came up with some measures. However, above all, the most important thing is the conscience of the writer. This incident shows that Korean publishers and writers need to refresh and purify their approach to literature.

  • 이 기사를 공유해보세요  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •    
  • 맨 위로