Quote: What is originality? It is merely undetected plagiarism. (Herbert Paul, 1896)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 16 13:38:00 UTC 2014

A version of the quotation in the subject line was discussed by three
journalists on twitter, and they brought me into the loop.

Key references such as the Yale Book of Quotations, The Oxford
Dictionary of Quotations, The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous
Quotations, and Cassell's Humorous Quotations list two different
versions of the saying attributed to William Ralph Inge in 1927, 1929,
and later.

Progress on tracing the adage is presented here:

Below is the citation for the earliest close match I've located in
1896. However, there are earlier variants using the phrase "undetected
imitation" instead of "undetected plagiarism" as presented at the QI

[ref] 1896 April, The Nineteenth Century, Volume 39, The Decay of
Classical Quotation by Herbert Paul, Start Page 636, Quote Page 645,
Published by Sampson, Low, Marston and Company, London. (Google Books
Full View) link [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
And, after all, what is originality? It is merely undetected plagiarism.
[End excerpt]

Additional interesting citations would be welcome.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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