Thursday, July 19, 2007

More prejudice than pride

The publishing world is alight with stories. Of course, there's all of the news following the Harry Potter leak, with the pleas by the author, and the lawsuits being considered by the publisher. But that's the big business of a best-selling author, who has made an obvious mark on literary history. What about someone a little lesser known, perhaps submitting early chapters and plot synopses under the penname "Alison Laydee"?

Alison Laydee is the pseudonym being used by David Lassman, as he undertook an experiment to see if he could get approval from publishers for some writings. He was honestly expecting to be called out as a plagiarist, but instead, was merely rejected across the boards. Why did he expect plagiarism charges? The books he was submitting had originally been published centuries beforehand, by Jane Austen.

Admittedly, in the defense of the publishers, Lassman made some changes to the stories and characters, and attempted to get them published under different names (for example, "Pride and Prejudice" was renamed "First Impressions"). Unfortunately, the changes were cosmetic, and the alternate names were ones that had been used as early titles for the works, before Austen settled on the final names. Even the pseudonym was a variation of Austen's own, "A Lady".

So now, thanks to Lassman, we know that, at the very least, Jane Austen wouldn't get published in this day and age. We suppose that our idea to start writing "A Story About a Couple of Villages" should be scrapped. And we guess that we can give up on finally relating the tale about "The Small Train and What Was Possible". It's really a shame on that last one... we figured that if we just added some Cristal in the dining cart, and a team of paparazzi following the train, we'd found a book that would be perfect for the intelligence levels of a number of celebrities out there.

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