Harman hits back over Austen row

<p><em>Jane&#39;s Fame</em> author Claire Harman has hit back after she was accused of plagiarism by a Jane Austen scholar. Professor Kathryn Sutherland accused Harman of using ideas from her work J<em>ane Austen&#39;s Textual Lives </em>(OUP, 2005) without adequately crediting them. The accusations were reported in the <em>Observer</em>, and then on the<em> Guardian</em> and <em>Telegraph </em>websites.<br /><br />But in a letter sent to both the <em>Observer</em> and<em> Telegraph</em>, Harman has rebutted the claim, and has accused Sutherland of &quot;potent professional jealousy&quot;. Neither the <em>Observer</em> nor <em>Guardian</em> printed or acknowledged the letter. The <em>Telegraph </em>has now removed the story from its website, though it is not clear whether this was at the behest of the <em>Guardian</em> which was the <em>Telegraph&#39;s</em> uncredited source, or Harman.</p><p>Harman said in the letter, which has now been forwarded to <em>The Bookseller</em>: &quot;The Observer printed its story without acquainting me with her accusations or offering an opportunity for rejoinder and when I wrote to complain of this, they neither answered nor printed my letter. My publisher had requested that Professor Sutherland specify the concerns to which she alluded so ominously, but that request went unanswered.&quot;<br /><br />She added: &quot;It wasn&#39;t even clear if she had actually read the book. If she had read it, she would have found herself mentioned in the text, the notes, the bibliography, the acknowledgements and the index.&quot;<br /><br />In the piece on the <em>Observer,</em> Sutherland said: &quot;I have never accused anyone of using my material before, but it feels a bit like identity theft.&quot;<br /><br />But Harman stated: &quot;This is not a matter of identity theft or intellectual property at all, but of a potent professional jealousy that can extend even into the realm of the unwritten.&quot;<br /><br /><em>Jane&#39;s Fame </em>is due from Canongate on the 2nd April.</p>