chapter  4
Authorial Ethos as Location: How Technical Manuals Embody Authorial Ethos without Authors
Pages 18

The most provocative and personal part of a plagiarism is often not its main body but its key, the part of the text in which a writer comments on the work he or she is doing with sources. 'The Ecstasy of Influence', a remarkable 2007 essay by Jonathan Lethem brings together questions of plagiarism and style. Lethem's originality, his authorship, lies not so much in what he adds to his sources, but in how he tweaks and arranges them into a form of his own devising. The ethics of plagiarism have turned into narcissism of small differences. Usually the work of a plagiarist is meant to be hidden. But in a plagiarism of Lethem's sort, the influences need to be seen, the voices of others heard in the mix, or otherwise the tension animating the piece will be lost. This creates some interesting challenges for a writer.