Dept. of Literary Resurrections

My friend Brad has a pretty ugly episode regarding his book Bear Bryant Funeral Train. We’ve just discovered that our favorite college prof — the recently retired Don Noble — actually reviewed the reissue of his book, and has joined the chorus of Brad’s defenders:

In September of 2005, it seemed Brad Vice had it made. His story collection The Bear Bryant Funeral Train had won the prestigious Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. The book was published and was in bookstores everywhere, waiting to be bought. And then the storm broke. It was noticed that some of the sentences in Vice’s story “Tuscaloosa Knights” (with a K), in fact the first few sentences, were almost exactly the same as some sentences in Carl Carmer’s chapter “Tuscaloosa Nights” (with an N) in Stars Fell on Alabama.

Vice was accused of plagiarism, and within three weeks the prize had been withdrawn and the book recalled and pulped. It has to be the fastest rush to literary judgment in American history.

What Vice’s attackers, in their undue haste, failed to consider was that Vice, born in DCH and raised in Northport, had been educated in the English Department at UA and at the University of Cincinnati in the theories and techniques of postmodernism. This was not plagiarism, this was hommage, collage, playfulness.

Sweet. Our copy of the reissue is on order as we speak. All hail Brad, and all hail Dr. Noble and the rest of those smart enough to realize Brad was getting a raw deal.

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