Blog: The Story of James Lasdun

EverythingThe story of James Lasdun

Tell me you heard about this story: writing professor James Lasdun recounts his tale of being stalked, life-altering-type stalked, by a former M.F.A. student. The way he tells it, the stalker went all out: anti-Semitic emails; accusations of plagiarism, sexual assault and “verbal terrorism;” malicious attacks on his Wikipedia webpage and in the reviews of his books on Amazon; even emails reporting the aforementioned accusations to his colleagues, his agent and his bosses.

“Very rapidly my relations with all of the publications and colleges I’ve worked with became tinged with anxiety. Had she contacted them? If so, were they concerned? I could have asked them, of course, but doing so seemed fraught with difficulties. If they hadn’t heard from her, what would they make of my strange tale of a former student’s denouncing me as a plagiarizing sexual predator?” — excerpt of Lasdun’s story in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Lasdun tells his story while exploring themes of reputation, character and public self in the age of information. The part where reality becomes ‘stranger than fiction:’ Lasdun wrote a novel several years earlier delving into the life of a college instructor framed for sexual assault. Of course, as Maureen Corrigan points out in a recent piece covering this story for NPR Books, we only have Lasdun’s side of the story here, his written counter to the attacks.

The full essay is a long read, but it is absolutely worth the time; it comes ahead of Lasdun’s book-length account of the events, Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked. You can also Check the story out on NPR if that is more your style.

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