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Kristeva's Word, Dialogue and Novel: A Mosaic of Quotations and a Challenge to Authorship



Julia Kristeva's Word, Dialogue and Novel: An Introduction to Intertextuality




Intertextuality is a term that has been widely used in literary studies and cultural theory to describe the relationship between texts, especially literary texts. It refers to the way that a text is influenced by, incorporates, or responds to other texts, either explicitly or implicitly. Intertextuality can be seen as a form of dialogue between texts, or as a mosaic of quotations that create new meanings by combining different sources.




Julia Kristeva Word Dialogue And Novel 21.pdf



The term intertextuality was coined by Julia Kristeva, a Bulgarian-French philosopher, psychoanalyst, and literary critic, who is considered one of the most influential figures in poststructuralist thought. In her essay "Word, Dialogue and Novel", published in 1969, Kristeva introduced the concept of intertextuality by combining ideas from Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian literary theorist, and Ferdinand de Saussure, a Swiss linguist. In this article, we will explore Kristeva's theory of intertextuality, how it works in literature and other art forms, and what are its benefits and challenges for readers and writers.


What is intertextuality and how did Kristeva coin the term?




Kristeva defined intertextuality as "a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of another. The notion of intertextuality replaces that of intersubjectivity, and poetic language is read as at least double" (Kristeva 85, cited in Moi 37). By this, she meant that any text is composed of multiple voices, perspectives, and meanings that are derived from other texts. A text is not a closed system of signs, but an open network of references that connects it to other texts. A text is not a product of a single author's intention, but a result of a dialogic interaction between different texts.


Kristeva coined the term intertextuality by combining two concepts from Bakhtin and Saussure. From Bakhtin, she borrowed the idea that language is dialogic, meaning that it is always shaped by social context and historical situation. Bakhtin argued that any utterance is always addressed to someone else, either explicitly or implicitly, and that it always responds to or anticipates other utterances. He also distinguished between two types of discourse: monologic and dialogic. Monologic discourse is authoritative, unified, and closed to interpretation. Dialogic discourse is heteroglossic, diverse, and open to interpretation. Bakhtin praised dialogic discourse as a more democratic and creative form of expression.


From Saussure, Kristeva borrowed the idea that language is a system of signs that are defined by their difference from other signs. Saussure argued that language is not a collection of words that correspond to things, but a structure of signs that relate to each other by opposition and contrast. He also distinguished between two aspects of language: langue and parole. Langue is the abstract system of rules and conventions that govern language. Parole is the concrete use of language in speech and writing. Saussure focused on the study of langue as the object of linguistics.


Kristeva combined Bakhtin's dialogism and Saussure's system of signs to create a new concept of intertextuality. She argued that any text is not only a parole, a specific utterance, but also a langue, a system of signs that is influenced by other systems of signs. She also argued that any text is not only a monologic discourse, a single voice, but also a dialogic discourse, a multiplicity of voices that are in dialogue with each other. She thus challenged the traditional notions of authorship, meaning, and interpretation that were dominant in structuralism, the literary movement that preceded poststructuralism.


How does intertextuality work in literature and other art forms?




Intertextuality can be seen as a way of creating meaning by combining different texts. Kristeva described intertextuality as "a mosaic of quotations", meaning that a text is composed of fragments of other texts that are recombined and transformed in new ways. She also described intertextuality as "the absorption and transformation of another", meaning that a text is influenced by and modifies other texts that precede or follow it. Intertextuality can be intentional or unintentional, explicit or implicit, conscious or unconscious, depending on the degree of awareness and control that the writer and the reader have over the intertextual references.


Intertextuality can be classified into two types: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal intertextuality refers to the relationship between a text and its contemporary texts, such as its genre, style, or theme. Vertical intertextuality refers to the relationship between a text and its historical texts, such as its sources, influences, or adaptations. Horizontal intertextuality can be seen as a form of synchrony, meaning that it focuses on the present state of language and culture. Vertical intertextuality can be seen as a form of diachrony, meaning that it focuses on the historical development of language and culture.


Intertextual references can have different functions and effects depending on how they are used and interpreted. Some of the main functions and effects are: - Parody: A parody is an imitation of another text that exaggerates or ridicules its features for comic or critical effect. A parody can be seen as a form of intertextual criticism that challenges the authority or validity of the original text. - Allusion: An allusion is an indirect reference to another text that relies on the reader's familiarity with it. An allusion can be seen as a form of intertextual enrichment that adds depth or complexity to the meaning of the text. - Quotation: A quotation is a direct reference to another text that reproduces its exact words or phrases. A quotation can be seen as a form of intertextual authority that supports or validates the argument or point of view of the text. - Plagiarism: A plagiarism is an unauthorized use of another text that passes it off as one's own. A plagiarism can be seen as a form of intertextual theft that violates the ethical or legal rights of the original author.


Intertextuality can be found in various forms of literature and other art forms, such as painting, music, film, or digital media. Intertextuality can be used to create new genres, styles, or modes of expression by combining or transforming existing ones. Intertextuality can also be used to create new meanings, perspectives, or critiques by juxtaposing or contrasting different texts. Intertextuality can also be used to create new effects, emotions, or experiences by engaging or challenging the reader's expectations and interpretations.


Some examples of intertextuality in modern and postmodern literature are: - James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) is an intertextual adaptation of Homer's Odyssey (8th century BC) that transposes the epic journey of Odysseus to the mundane life of Leopold Bloom in Dublin on June 16th 1904. - T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land (1922) is an intertextual collage of quotations from various sources, such as Shakespeare, Dante, Baudelaire, Wagner, Buddha, and the Bible, that create a fragmented and disillusioned vision of modern civilization. - Jorge Luis Borges's Ficciones (1944) is an intertextual collection of stories that explore themes such as infinity, paradox, labyrinths, mirrors, libraries, and books within books, often referencing fictional or imaginary texts. - Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955) is an intertextual novel that intertextualizes the story of Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee" and transforms it into a dark and perverse narrative of obsession and death. What are the benefits and challenges of intertextuality for readers and writers?




Intertextuality can have various benefits and challenges for readers and writers, depending on how they approach and use it. Some of the main benefits and challenges are: - Liberation and empowerment: Intertextuality can liberate and empower readers by allowing them to participate in the creation of meaning. By recognizing and interpreting intertextual references, readers can construct their own readings of a text that are not limited by the author's intention or authority. Readers can also compare and contrast different texts and discover new connections and insights. Intertextuality can also liberate and empower writers by allowing them to express themselves in new and creative ways. By using intertextual references, writers can enrich their texts with multiple layers of meaning and engage in dialogue with other texts and authors. Writers can also challenge and subvert existing genres, conventions, and expectations by using intertextuality. - Challenge to cultural hegemony: Intertextuality can challenge the cultural hegemony of originality and uniqueness by showing that every text is influenced by and dependent on other texts. Intertextuality can expose the illusion of authorial autonomy and creativity by revealing the traces of other texts in a text. Intertextuality can also question the value and status of canonical texts by showing that they are not isolated or superior, but part of a larger network of texts. Intertextuality can also celebrate the diversity and plurality of texts by showing that there is no single or definitive meaning or interpretation of a text, but multiple and contingent ones. - Difficulty of identification and interpretation: Intertextuality can pose difficulties for readers and writers in identifying and interpreting intertextual references. Intertextual references can be obscure, ambiguous, or hidden, requiring extensive knowledge and skill to recognize them. Intertextual references can also be misleading, confusing, or contradictory, requiring careful analysis and evaluation to understand them. Intertextual references can also be subjective, variable, or contextual, requiring awareness and sensitivity to the historical, cultural, or personal factors that influence them. - Ethical and legal issues: Intertextuality can raise ethical and legal issues of plagiarism and appropriation by blurring the boundaries between originality and imitation, authorship and ownership, creativity and copying. Plagiarism is the unauthorized use of another text that passes it off as one's own without giving proper credit or acknowledgment. Appropriation is the authorized or unauthorized use of another text that modifies or transforms it for a different purpose or audience. Plagiarism and appropriation can be seen as forms of intertextuality that violate the ethical or legal rights of the original author or text. Plagiarism and appropriation can also be seen as forms of intertextuality that challenge or critique the ethical or legal norms of authorship or textuality.


Conclusion: Intertextuality as a key concept for understanding contemporary culture




Intertextuality is a key concept for understanding contemporary culture because it reflects the complex and dynamic nature of language, literature, and art in the age of globalization, digitalization, and postmodernism. Intertextuality shows that texts are not isolated or fixed entities, but interconnected and fluid processes that are constantly changing and evolving in relation to other texts. Intertextuality shows that meaning is not given or stable, but constructed and negotiated by readers and writers who are influenced by various historical, cultural, and personal factors. Intertextuality shows that creativity is not a matter of originality or uniqueness, but a matter of combination and transformation of existing texts.


Intertextuality is also a key concept for understanding contemporary culture because it offers opportunities and challenges for readers and writers who encounter intertextual texts. Some of the main opportunities and challenges are: - Learning and discovery: Intertextuality can offer opportunities for learning and discovery by exposing readers and writers to new texts, cultures, and perspectives. By following intertextual references, readers and writers can expand their knowledge and appreciation of different literary traditions, genres, and styles. Readers and writers can also explore the historical, cultural, and personal contexts that shape the production and reception of texts. Intertextuality can also stimulate curiosity and creativity by inviting readers and writers to make their own connections and associations between texts. - Engagement and enjoyment: Intertextuality can offer opportunities for engagement and enjoyment by enhancing the aesthetic and emotional appeal of texts. By using intertextual references, texts can create various effects, such as humor, irony, suspense, surprise, or nostalgia. Intertextual references can also evoke emotions, such as admiration, sympathy, or anger. Intertextuality can also foster a sense of participation and belonging by creating a shared culture and community among readers and writers who recognize and appreciate the intertextual references. - Critical thinking and evaluation: Intertextuality can offer opportunities for critical thinking and evaluation by challenging readers and writers to question and analyze texts. By encountering intertextual references, readers and writers can develop their analytical skills and critical awareness of how texts construct meaning and influence each other. Readers and writers can also examine their own assumptions and biases that affect their interpretation and evaluation of texts. Intertextuality can also encourage a reflexive and ethical attitude by making readers and writers aware of their own positionality and responsibility in relation to texts. FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about intertextuality:



  • What is the difference between intertextuality and influence? Influence is a more specific term that refers to the direct or indirect impact that one text or author has on another text or author. Intertextuality is a more general term that refers to the complex network of relationships that exist between texts.



  • What is the difference between intertextuality and plagiarism? Plagiarism is a form of unethical or illegal intertextuality that involves using another text without proper acknowledgment or permission. Intertextuality can be ethical or legal if it involves using another text with proper acknowledgment or permission, or if it falls under fair use or parody.



  • What is the difference between intertextuality and adaptation? Adaptation is a form of creative intertextuality that involves transforming one text into another medium or genre. Intertextuality can involve adaptation, but it can also involve other forms of textual interaction, such as quotation, allusion, parody, or criticism.



  • What is the difference between intertextuality and allusion? Allusion is a form of explicit intertextuality that involves making a direct or indirect reference to another text within a text. Intertextuality can involve allusion, but it can also involve other forms of textual interaction, such as quotation, parody, criticism, or influence.



  • What is the difference between intertextuality and metafiction? Metafiction is a form of self-referential intertextuality that involves making a text aware of its own fictional nature or status as a text. Intertextuality can involve metafiction, but it can also involve other forms of textual interaction, such as quotation, allusion, parody, or criticism.



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