To learn about the concept of intertextuality
and how it works.
What do you think the term means?
What they mean
•Inter: a prefix from Latin, where it meant
“between,” “among,” “in the midst of,” “mutually,”
“reciprocally,” “together,” “during”
•Textuality: all of the attributes that
distinguish the communicative content under analysis as
an object of study
• the shaping of a text's meaning by another text.
• Intertextual figures include: allusion, quotation,
calque, plagiarism, translation, pastiche and
• An example of intertextuality is a writer’s
borrowing and transformation of a prior text, and
incorporating an aspect of it in a new text.
The shaping of texts' meanings by other texts.
• Notion introduced by Julia Kristeva.
• Kristeva argued against the concept of a text as a
isolated entity which operates in a self-contained
manner and states that:
"any text is the absorption and transformation of
• Every text (and we can insert any cultural object
here: image, film, web content, music etc.) is a
mosaic of references to other texts, genres, and
Where a text alludes to, or references,
• Some texts refer directly to each
other – such as in 'remakes' of films,
extra-diegetic references to the
media / society in the animated
cartoon The Simpsons, and many
amusing contemporary TV ads.
• The interpretation of these
references is influenced by the
audiences’ prior knowledge of other
Examples of Intertextuality
• Officer and A Gentleman
• Scary Movie
• This particularly self-conscious form of
intertextuality credits its audience with the
necessary experience to make sense of such
references and offers the pleasure of recognition.
• By referring to other texts and other media
reminds us that we are in a mediated reality. This
runs counter to the dominant 'realist' tradition
which focuses on persuading the audience to
believe in the on-going reality of the narrative.
Intertextuality and Genre
• There are intertextual frameworks
(references) at work that are less obvious or
• The assignment of a text to a genre
provides the audience of the text with a key
• Each example of a genre utilises
conventions which link it to other members
of that genre.
• Such conventions are at their most obvious
in 'spoof' versions of the genre.
• List all the intertextual references made
in the opening sequence of
• Austin Powers: Goldmember (Roach 2002)
• Watch the following clip that
summarises what we have just
• Any questions?
Intertextuality - Simpsons
• Almost every episode of The Simpsons contains
at least one film reference to a famous film scene.
• The Simpsons also contains intertextual
references to politics, religion – nearly every
aspect of social, political and cultural life.
• The grabs on the following slides are from an
episode where the Simpsons referenced Psycho
• In 1968 Barthes announced 'the death of the author' and
'the birth of the reader', declaring that 'a text's unity lies
not in its origin but in its destination' - in other words there
is no longer such a thing as an original text – very
• This highlights how interpretation lies with the audience –
that it is subjective - it is the audience that creates
Something Else to Consider
• The notion of intertextuality problematizes the idea of a
text having boundaries and questions the separation of
'inside' and 'outside':
• Where does a text 'begin' and 'end'?
• This again is postmodern