Tuesday, March 27, 2007


In my post a month ago I discussed 3 Day Road and my sense or suspicion that the author had got much of the colour and imagery and even little vignettes for his book from other sources which he had not acknowledged. Bernice Morgan in comparison was assiduous in recognising the material that influenced her writing.

In the back of Waiting for Time in her acknowledgements the author writes: "The following is a very incomplete list of books by writers living and dead to whom I am deeply indebted." A list of 18 books and their authors follows. She also specifically adds this thanks: "I want to especially thank Paul O'Neill who kindly gave me permission to use the maid's whipping as described in his book The Oldest City and Isobel Brown for her stories about women who crossed the Atlantic as war brides."

I applaud and respect Bernice for these tips of the hat although one would hope it is the least to be expected of a responsible writer. This has been an issue with me before. I remember particularly John Ralston Saul's book The Unconscious Civilization, a non-fiction effort which made many claims which were unsupported by even minimal references.

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Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)