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Saramago denies plagiarizing work by Mexican writer
[December 31, 2008]

Saramago denies plagiarizing work by Mexican writer


Lisbon, Dec 31, 2008 (EFE via COMTEX) --
Portuguese Nobel literature laureate Jose
Saramago denied in an interview published Wednesday having
plagiarized a story by a Mexican writer and journalist that
supposedly inspired his book "Death with Interruptions," published
in 2005.
Saramago told Diario de Noticias that he didn't see and didn't
even touch "the claimant's story with the tips of his fingers."
The literary lion said that "if two authors deal with the theme
of the absence of death, it's inevitable that situations will be
repeated in the stories and that there will be some similarities in
the way in which they are told."
He added that two other authors, an Argentine and an Italian,
also have explored the same theme, thus raising "the question of who
plagiarized whom."
Mexican journalist and writer Teofilo Huerta Moreno said the
plagiarism occurred through the intervention of literary agent
Sealtiel Alatriste, who received a story of his on that theme that
was sent to Spain's Alfaguara publishing house.
According to Huerta, Alatriste has a "a close relationship" with
Saramago.
In his Internet blog, Huerta said he sent Saramago a letter in
January demanding that he acknowledge having committed plagiarism
and asking him to clarify the matter.
Diario de Noticias also reported that the Mexican writer told a
radio program on May 12, 2006, that his work, "El cuento triste"
(The Sad Story) had served as inspiration for Saramago's title.
Meanwhile, Pilar del Rio, Saramago's wife and president of the
foundation that bears his name, said that the story about the
supposed plagiarism has "been circulating on the Internet (for some
time) and re-emerges when the newspapers are in need of something to
report."
Saramago's denial was reported a day after the Portuguese daily
Correio da Manha referred to the alleged instance of plagiarism. EFE
mrl/mc

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