Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Inspiration, Appropriation, and Theft: Fair Use in the 21st Century

Instructor: Johannes Lian

From the Roman Arch of Constantine--a monument literally built from pieces of other monuments--to Shakespeare's reliance on Ovid's interpretation of Greek myths, artists have always borrowed and/or stolen from one another. But what is the difference between the plagiarism of disgraced contemporary novelists and the appropriation of Shakespeare? Picasso said, "Good artists borrow; great artists steal." T.S. Eliot said, "Immature poets borrow; mature poets steal." Who does the quote belong to? Can it belong to anyone?

Through the study of novels based on earlier novels, collaged nonfiction, erasure poetry, recurring images in visual art, cover songs, and musical mashups we will explore the world of artistic appropriation and intertextuality.

Assessment criteria will include reading responses, a final critical essay, and a creative assignment based on the reinterpretation of published work.

Last Update: March 18, 2013