Plagiarism and Cryptomnesia


This is another item that I am re-posting from Futility Closet ( It is re-posted with the permission of Greg Ross, who maintains the site. You can have daily updates from the site delivered to your e-mail each morning.


Several years after publishing Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson was abashed to discover that he had drawn much of the story from Washington Irving’s 1824 book Tales of a Traveller, which he had read many years earlier and forgotten.

“I believe plagiarism was rarely carried farther,” he wrote later. “The book flew up and struck me: Billy Bones, his chest, the company in the parlour, the whole inner spirit, and a good deal of the material detail of my first chapters — all were there, all were the property of Washington Irving. But I had no guess of it then as I sat writing by the…

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