Tom Lehrer: “Lobachevsky” (a delightful song about plagiarism, plus a bibliography of sorts)

1 Jun

Here is Tom Lehrer‘s song about Nikolai Lobachevsky, an inventor of non-Euclidean geometry and an accused plagiarist.

Click below for a  list of sources (with links) used in the “If I Was a Master Thief” three-part series.

Hollow Man Looking in a Cotton Field: Articles, Books, Websites in No Particular Order

(several of the Dylan-related references were found on the invaluable

Scott Warmuth provided much of the info on appropriations in Together Through Life. You can find him at Fairfield

References to Geil Marcus come from his book Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan At the Crossroads.

The information from Lawrence Lessig can be found in his books The Future of Ideas and Remix. Here is his website and blog.

Richard F. Thomas’ article, “The Streets of Rome: The Classical Dylan,” was published in Oral Tradition. (Thanks to Michael Tarbox for the heads up!)

“The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism,” by Jonathan Lethem, was published in Harpers.

Robert Polito’s article, “Bob Dylan: Henry Timrod Revisited” was published in Poetry Foundation.

Alan Lomax interview with McKinley Morganfield a.k.a. Muddy Waters, August 24-31, 1941, Stovall Plantation, Stovall, Mississippi, from The Complete Plantation Recordings (Chess/MCA CHD-9344) (You can read it here.)

The T.S. Eliot quote about plagiarism can be found in The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism.

The References to Ann Berthoff come from her wonderful book,  The Making of Meaning.

Mikhail Bakhtin’s The Dialogic Imagination adds the term “dialogism” to the discussion.

Paul Collins’ article, “Dead Plagiarists Society” can be found in Slate.

Here are some links about  Matt Friedman’s flatfish find:

Here’s more about text-miner extraordinaire Don Swanson.

The reference to Jared Diamond is from “Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions,” published by

More about “Tragedy of the Commons.”

Paulo Freire’s chapter, “The Banking Concept of Education” is from The Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

Paul Williams, Bob Dylan, Performing Artist.

The Bob Dylan quote about “Blowin’ in the Wind” is from a 1962 concert and can be heard here.

Bob Dylan’s “My Life in a Stolen Moment” can be read in its entirety here.

Jason Johnson’s article,  “Cut and Paste Is a Skill, Too” is from The Washington Post.

The Sir Ken Robinson “intertext” paraphrase about Dylan being “in someone’s English class” can be found here.


“The Coyote’s Call, the Bulldog’s Bark”: list of Dylan songs used as intertexts in the Master Thief posts.


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