Talk:Ragtime (novel)

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Nebula award?[edit]

The Nebula award is given to sci-fi/fantasy literature. . .this book is far from either genre. Is this a mistake?


An earlier version of the article had some of the plot points wrong. I wonder if someone was basing what they wrote on an adaptation, rather than the novel? And this being a talk page, I'll add a little personal opinion: read this novel, it is brilliant and a great read! :-) Cheers, -- Infrogmation 19:13, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

== As for the first question, No, it isn't. Nebula awards are given to science fiction and fantasy works, and Ragtime may be considered a sort of alternate history, or alternate world fiction; as John Clute puts it in his The Ecnyclopedia of Fantasy, New York: St Martin's Press, 1997, "between ALTERNATE-WORLD devices and MAGIC REALISM".

What I regret indeed is that no reference is made in the summary to Coalhouse's art as a ragtime player, which is, after all, the justification for the novel's title!

JMMota, Portugal


Fair use rationale for Image:RagtimeDoctrorowHardcover.jpg[edit]

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Image:RagtimeDoctrorowHardcover.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 04:08, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Reference to the Kleist's story[edit]

I added the fact that the novel is based on the early Nineteenth century German classic "Michael Kohlhaas" by Heinrich von Kleist. I don't know how to create the links between this page and the relevant "Heinrich von Kleist" and "Michael Kohlhaas" Wikipedia references... Please assist me. Thanks, M.H. Lemay —Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.126.87.85 (talk) 00:32, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

With regard to the plagiarism claim in this section: There is a long literary history of artists borrowing from other stories. This is not plagiarism. Text was not lifted word-for-word, and Doctorow acknowledges the Kleist influence. Unless anyone objects, I'm going to remove the weasely plagiarism claim. ThreeOfCups (talk) 03:41, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I have some doubt about the statment that "it is a matter of opinion among critics whether this constitutes literary adaptation or plagiarism." The only source for this is a journalist commenting approvingly on his grandfather's opinion, who is unnamed and therefore cannot be identified as a literary critic or literaty historian - this is just non-expert opinion, no more valuable than a blog post about a book someone's discussed with their family The problem is that there is no plagiarism here: plagiarism is unacknowledged verbatim copying, precisely what ELD doesn't do. Unless someone can find a comparable statment from a recognized literary critic, this sentence should at best stop at "Doctorow". In fact it's redundant: Kohlhass -> Coalhouse is already a full acknowledgement, though the ref. to ELD's interview could be moved to the previous sentence! --Pfold (talk) 15:05, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

Prior content in this article duplicated one or more previously published sources. The material was copied from: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/ragtime/summary.html (June 2007 Archive). Infringing material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. NortyNort (Holla) 21:07, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Synopsis Revert[edit]

@Epicgenius Hi! I just had a first time editor complain to me about your reversion of her edit to the Ragtime (novel) synopsis. (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ragtime_%28novel%29&diff=596927630&oldid=596921632). Would you mind giving a little more explanation of your revert? She was very discouraged by it, and some more explanation might encourage her to remain an editor. --EdSaperia (talk) 12:19, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

@EdSaperia: I apologize for not giving an explanation. I was going to say that certain parts of the synopsis before my reversion did not have a Neutral Point of View. For example, I think that "the Eastern European socialist immigrant" is more biased than the previous version, "bereaved Jewish single father". Some of the other edits are good, such as the first paragraph of the edit, which goes, "Into this secure setup comes first an abandoned black child, then his sorrowful depressed mother Sarah...." Epicgenius (talk) 12:27, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Hi, this is the editor. I appreciate that you expect the words 'socialist' and 'immigrant' to be controversial but in fact Tateh in the novel repeatedly self-identifies as a socialist, and he is an immigrant from Eastern Europe. The novel as a whole has been described as an elegy for socialism as it succumbs to capitalism, representing the root of what we now live in; late capitalism/postmodern era. Doctorow himself has been described as one of the only serious leftist contemporary American writers. Tateh's socialism is not only completely central to the plot of the novel itself, but to all critical understanding of it. His immigrant status is similarly crucial to the founding of America.
The second edit you mention above as being 'good' I find hard to believe was me. If I used such a tautology, it was in error.
The naming of the character from the very first line of the plot synopsis is also erroneous. It is 'Younger Brother', not 'Mother's Younger Brother', and 'the little boy' does not remain unnamed; he is named by his familial relationship status as with all the other members - as 'the little boy'. Crucially, 'the little girl' is deliberately not capitalised in the novel, to maintain the critical parallels between the three families.
It is frustrating to have one's edits reverted by someone who obviously has not read/understood the novel. Literature is usually specific in its themes, and explaining these themes is not expressing bias.
'Bereaved Jewish single father' is not just clumsy (why not say widowed??), it's wrong. Iirc Tateh was not Jewish, or if he was it was not central to the plot; it is Houdini's character who is definitively Jewish. And Tateh was not bereaved or a single father; he disowned his wife after the factory owner she was working for exploited their poverty to have sex with her. As you can see, there are clear and painfully obvious inaccuracies, and the socialist theme is clear and extremely central to the novel. It is Doctorow, as one of the greatest living leftist writers who does not have a 'neutral view', not I. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 46.208.12.44 (talk) 13:10, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
It will be more helpful to also post this to the article talk page so other editors can join in. Epicgenius (talk) 13:29, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Green tickY done! --EdSaperia (talk) 13:36, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I've gone ahead and put this through on the basis that the IP editor seems pretty sincerely to know what they're talking about. When reverting like that, it's always best use leave a message (not a template) explaining why you've done it. Otherwise we lose editors... Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry (Message me) 18:17, 25 April 2014 (UTC)