Criteria for Plagiarism in Early Modern Times

On Tuesday, June 11, at 2:00 pm, the seminar of Roman Kyselov, Ph.D., from the Shevchenko Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine will take place at the Centre for the History of Renaissance Knowledge, as a part of the ‘Renaissance Mind‘ cycle. Our guest will speak about ‘Criteria for Plagiarism in Early Modern Times‘. 

The event will take place in a hybrid form, via Google Meet ( and at room 143 of the Staszic Palace.

Abstract of the presentation is given below as well.
In early modern works, whether they belong to fine literature or scholarly writings, we frequently discover cases of non-independence, sometimes of a shockingly high level. Thus, historians of literature and humanities need some non-anachronistic criteria for assessing such practices. A closer examination of early modern theoretical thoughts on plagiarism, expressed in such works as “De plagiariis et scriptorum alienorum compilatoribus…” (1550) by François Douaren, “Dissertatio philosophica de plagio literario” (1673) by Jacob Thomasius, “De plagio literario liber unus” (1706) by Johann Conrad Schwarz, et al., helps to identify certain characteristics that, according to these scholars, make textual borrowings a literary theft or, conversely, exempt authors from plagiarism charges. Of course, it is not an issue of developing a single scheme that can be used to automatically evaluate any early modern work. However, by considering the traditions of using other people’s texts in a particular society and involving the criteria defined by early modern theorists, where applicable, we can better understand and explain the reasons for practices that would be considered plagiarism by today’s standards.

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