Wikipedia – Intertextuality


Emphasis Mine

Kristeva’s coinage of “intertextuality” represents an attempt to synthesize Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiotics—his study of how signs derive their meaning within the structure of a text—with Bakhtin’sdialogism—his examination of the multiple meanings, or “heteroglossia”, in each text (especially novels) and in each word.[5] For Kristeva,[6] “the notion of intertextuality replaces the notion of intersubjectivity” when we realize that meaning is not transferred directly from writer to reader but instead is mediated through, or filtered by, “codes” imparted to the writer and reader by other texts. For example, when we read James Joyce’s Ulysses we decode it as a modernist literary experiment, or as a response to the epic tradition, or as part of some other conversation, or as part of all of these conversations at once. This intertextual view of literature, as shown by Roland Barthes, supports the concept that the meaning of a text does not reside in the text, but is produced by the reader in relation not only to the text in question, but also the complex network of texts invoked in the reading process. –

More recent post-structuralist theory, such as that formulated in Daniela Caselli’s Beckett‘s Dantes: Intertextuality in the Fiction and Criticism (MUP 2005), re-examines “intertextuality” as a production within texts, rather than as a series of relationships between different texts. Some postmodern theorists [7] like to talk about the relationship between “intertextuality” and “hypertextuality“; intertextuality makes each text a “living hell of hell on earth” [8] and part of a larger mosaic of texts, just as each hypertext can be a web of links and part of the whole World-Wide Web. Indeed, the World-Wide Web has been theorized as a unique realm of reciprocal intertextuality, in which no particular text can claim centrality, yet the Web text eventually produces an image of a community–the group of people who write and read the text using specific discursive strategies.[9]

One can also make distinctions between the notions of “intertext”, “hypertext” and “supertext”.[citation needed] Take for example the Dictionary of the Khazars by Milorad Pavić. As an intertext it employs quotations from the scriptures of the Abrahamic religions. As a hypertext it consists of links to different articles within itself and also every individual trajectory of reading it. As a supertext it combines male and female versions of itself, as well as three mini-dictionaries in each of the versions.


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