Marty Norden writes:

>Hello, all.  One of my undergraduate students recently submitted a paper
>on Jean Vigo's _Zero for Conduct_, and I fear that parts of it may have
>been plagiarized.

Out of interest, what makes you think that?  The prose you quote reads to
me like an absolutely typical (if anything slightly below average)
undergrad essay - basically a regurgitation of some basic factual
information gleaned by skimming two or three textbooks.  I find it
especially interesting that the writer has no discernable locus standi -
(s)he is simply offering an factual overview of the film, its director and
the controversies arising thereof.  Therefore if it is ripped off from
anything published, it will be an 'encyclopedia of film' type reference
book, or a textbook.  I doubt very much if this sort of text could have
been lifted from a monograph or critical essay.

Would I be right in guessing that your suspicions have been raised because
this is unlike that particular student's prose style?  If so then I think
it is far more likely that (s)he ripped off another student's essay than
any published material.  When I was teaching undergrads as a PhD student, I
came up against three cases of plagiarism (plus another which I suspected
but could never prove).  All of them were detectable because of two essays
in the same batch being uncannily similar.  The students thought they'd get
away with it because  two separate tutors were marking them.  They did not
realise that we all held a meeting after each marking session to compare


Leo Enticknap
Projection and Sound Engineer
City Screen Cinemas Ltd., London, UK
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