Author accused of Wikipedia plagiarism
France's leading contemporary author, Michel Houellebecq, has been accused of cutting and pasting passages from Wikipedia and other websites into his new book.
'La carte et le territoire' (The Map and the Territory) arrived in bookshops this week and has already been tipped to win the Goncourt, the country's top literary prize, in November.
But a literary website, Slate.fr, has suggested several passages in the novel had been lifted from websites, including Wikipedia.
The novelist's response has been to say that he was "sewing together" the "extracts" as a "patchwork".
According to Slate.fr, at least three passages have been apparently lifted from the French language edition of the online encyclopedia.
Houellebecq is no stranger to controversy and was taken to court in 2001 for passages of 'Platform', a pot pourri of sex tourism and Islamist terrorism, on charges of provoking racial hatred. He was later cleared of all charges.
The author, who now lives in Spain, dismissed the plagiarism accusation as "ridiculous".
"I hope it adds to the beauty of my books to use such material. I would like to be able to modify [the extracts] less than I do? ... It's a type of patchwork, sewing together, dovetailing. Employing [written] material that is rare because of its 'extraliterarity' is a small source of pride," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)