Thus, writing is always an iteration which is also a re-iteration, a re-writing which foregrounds the trace of the various texts in both knowing and unknowing places. It is important to note that these elements of intertextuality need not be simply “literary.” One also has to take into account historical and social determinants which, themselves, transform and change literary practices. Moreover, strictly speaking, a text is constituted, only in the moment of its reading. The reader’s own previous readings, experiences and position within the cultural formation also form crucial connections, and open new doors to intertextuality.
The concept of intertextuality is very flexible, in the sense that structuralist critics use it to locate and even fix literary meaning, while post-structuralists employ the term to disrupt notions of meaning. Other literary critics, such as Gérard Genette (1930- ), employ intertextuality theory to argue for critical certainty, or at least for the possibility of saying definite, stable and incontrovertible things about literary texts.
Although intertextuality has inspired various critical positions, it is a term by no means exclusively related to literary works, or written communication. Intertextuality has been adapted by critics of non-literary art forms, such as painting, music, architecture, photography or even film. Through the use of intertextuality employed by other art forms, traits of society or periods of history can be captured not only in the written form, but also by using visual imagery.
Intertextuality, as a concept, has a history of different expressions, which reflect the historical situations out of which it has emerged. The purpose of this chapter is not to choose between theories of intertextuality, but rather to present their most important elements, and understand the term intertextuality in its specific historical and cultural manifestations.
To summarize, we can state that the concept of intertextuality dramatically blurs the outlines of texts, making them an “illimitable tissue of connections and associations” (Barthes 1981: 39). Of course, it entirely depends on the reader’s sensibility and background knowledge to make all the necessary connections in order to get the most out of a text.
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Genre – Non-Fiction/Movie Studies/Literary Criticism
Rating – G