Eng 500 The concept of "intertextuality" considered

Some alternative discussions:

Tuve wrote long before the explicit concept of intertextuality appeared, by that name, in literary criticism, but the connection she described between the meanings (plural) that a poem had for its author and the sources he or she drew upon clearly foreshadowed it. Intertextuality in this sense refers to the significant relationship between specific and in some way similar passages in two or more authors' work, the significance residing in the way the original meaning changed as it resonated in the work of a later one, where it appeared in a new context and with some--perhaps major--difference of purpose or effect.

--Richard Altick, The Art of Literary Research, 109

The term intertextuality, popularized especially by Julia Kristeva, is used to signify the multiple ways in which any one literary text is inseparably inter-involved with other texts, whether by its open or covert citations and allusions, or by its assimilation of the formal and substantive features of an earlier text or texts, or simply by its unavoidable participation in the common stock of linguistic and literary conventions and procedures that are "always already" in place and constitute the discourses into which we are born. In Kristeva's formulation, accordingly, any text is in fact an "intertext"--the site of an intersection of numberless other texts, including those which will be written in the future.

--M.H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms, 6th ed., p. 285

The term intertextuality denotes this transposition of one (or several) sign-system(s) into another; but since this term has often been understood in the banal sense of `study of sources', we prefer the term transposition because it specifies that the passage from one signifying system to another demands a new articulation of the thetic--of enunciative and denotative positionality. If one grants that every signifying practice is a field of transpositions of various signifying systems (an intertextuality), one then understands that its `place' of enunciation and its denoted `object' are never single, complete and identical to themselves, but always plural, shattered, capable of being tabulated. In this way polysemy can also be seen as the result of a semiotic polyvalence--an adherence to different sign-systems.

--Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language, trans. Margaret Waller, ch. 8

INTERTEXTUALITY (intertextualité). This French word was originally introduced by Kristeva and met with immediate success; it has since been much used and abused on both sides of the Atlantic. The concept, however, has been generally misunderstood. It has nothing to do with matters of influence by one writer upon another, or with the sources of a literary work; it does, on the other hand, involve the components of a textual system such as the novel, for instance. It is defined in La Révolution du langage poétique as the transposition of one or more systems of signs into another, accompanied by a new articulation of the enunciative and denotative position. Any SIGNIFYING PRACTICE (q.v.) is a field (in the sense of space traversed by lines of force) in which various signifying systems undergo such a transposition.

--Leon S. Roudiez, Introduction to Desire in Language by Julia Kristeva, p. 15