Thursday, February 11, 2010

More on the German Literary Plagiarism

My glory. Something is Happening in the German Literary Scene.

Every single media outlet in Germany has had something to say about the young author Helene Hegemann and her plagiarism. Most have been focusing on her youth, her hair, her famous father.  Thomas von Steinaecker has requested in the Börsenblatt that the reviewers leave the sensationalism and focus on the text. Is it literature? Is it a plagiarism? Does it matter?

The FAZ has been in overdrive. My FAZ-reading neighbors have collected 3 long articles this week alone on the topic. I don't really want to read them, but I suppose I'll have to sooner or later. The FAZ did land the coup of speaking with Airen, the author of the basis for the plagiarism, Strobo.

Airen wrote the blog anonymously, as an outlet for writing about the excesses he experienced on weekends in Berlin clubs. In real life he was a management consultant. I had been grubbing around, curious about him (or her?). The myspace page for Strobo, which was last visited just before Christmas last year, lists Airen as male, 28, Capricorn and living in Berlin. (So happy belated birthday!)

In the interview he reveals that he lived in Mexico for a year and a half and met a girl there that he married. I wonder how long he is really going to remain anonymous.

The FAZ also reports scouring Strobo, and finding that Airen, too, did some creative borrowing from Gottfried Benn, William Burroughs and Ernst Jünger. And that Hegemann's nomination for the Leipzig book prize still stands. This will be interesting if she wins.

Oh, and the publisher Piper notes that they removed Jens Lindner's "Döner for One" from the bookstores on account of it being a plagiarism of Janet Evanovichs 1996 book „Einmal ist keinmal“(Once is not enough). But they did this in December, already, before the current storm.

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