On plagiarism. Or unconscious homage, to put it more kindly

I went round the Brighton Pavilion at the weekend, built by the crazy old Prince Regent himself, and costing brazilians of pounds. Image

It’s a lot prettier on the outside than on the inside. The man was probably certifiable. He certainly had dreadful taste. Talk about plagiarism – it was supposed to be kind of Chinese/Indian style. Yergh. Bleurgh. Good Lord. etc.

Anyway, the slightly annoying thing was that as I wandered round the repulsively sumptuous palace, it triggered a memory of a scene from Regency Buck by one of my favorite authors, Georgette Heyer, and I realised I have a very similar scene in my novel. In Regency Buck, the heroine, Judith Taverner, is at a dinner at the Pavilion, and is preyed upon by the lascivious Prince Regent, who has the idea that she is a woman of easy virtue, after her disgraceful curricle race from London to Brighton, something no lady would do, obviously.

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In my novel, poor little Mary gets preyed upon by an equally lascivious older man who she thinks is interested in her mind (a familiar delusion – in my case I’ve always wished someone would love me for my body and not my mind, but hey ho, you can’t have everything….). Like Heyer’s Judith, she is rescued by the hero, though in my novel, Mary’s sister Lizzy Bennet now Darcy also plays a crucial part. The reader doesn’t find out what Lizzy said to the horrible man, as Mary has been spirited away from the scene and is crying onto the hero’s shoulder by this time and we only see things from her POV; however, the smile on Lizzy’s face when she returns to the company is enough to tell you that she’s still on the same form as when she took on Lady Catherine de Bourgh back in the day.

So anyway – is it plagiarism? If so, it was most unconsciously done (spot the quotation from P and P anyone? A free mention on my twitter feed for the first person to identify it [now slow down everyone, don’t all rush at once]).

And to be fair, I think lascivious men preying on young females in historical novels – well, is it plagiarism, is it just a well-worn trope, or is it just a fairly accurate reflection of what it’s like to be a young and ignorant and compliant female? Or is it a crucial plot device?

 

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