Intertextuality
Zeinab Nasrollahi
Paratextuality
Genette:
The paratext marks those elements which lie
on the threshold of the text and which help to
direct ...
Paratextuality
Threshold consists of a
• Peritext, i.e. titles, chapter titles, prefaces
and notes
• Epitext consisting of...
Paratextuality
The paratext performs various functions which
guide the text’s readers and can be understood
pragmatically ...
Paratextuality
As Genette demonstrates, there are a number of
ways in which the naming of the author or the
titles of work...
Paratextuality
major peritextual field
• dedications,
• inscriptions,
• epigraphs
• Prefaces
can have major effects upon t...
Paratextuality
Paratexts
• autographic,
• allographic
They can slip into modes of ambiguity
crucial for an interpretation ...
Paratextuality
Genette asserts that
the single most important aspect of
paratextuality is ‘to ensure for the
text a destin...
Hypertextuality
Palimpsests involves ‘any relationship uniting
a text B (which I shall call the hypertext) to an
earlier t...
Hypertextuality
Genette’s hypertextuality is concerned not with a
general facet of language, or culturally signifying
prac...
Hypertextuality
Self expurgation: differences between the first serialized version
and the final published edition of Thom...
Hypertextuality
The problem of the missing or forgotten hypotext crops
up a number of times in Genette’s study.
• in the c...
Hypertextuality
Genette’s resolution of his own unease with
regard to uncertain cases is to remind himself
and his readers...
Hypertextuality
The French theorist Laurent Jenny, in his ‘The Strategy
of Forms’, distinguishes between works which are
e...
Hypertextuality
In Genette’s view, in case of Palimpsests, the reader has
a choice between reading the text for itself or ...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
The core of Riffaterre’s semiotic
approach is:
• his belief that literary texts are...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
Riffaterre refers to: ‘referential fallacy’
• the text refers not to objects outsid...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
The reading strategy Riffaterre charts is one in which
the reader at first seeking ...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
What forces the reader into the leap from a mimetic to
semiotic interpretation of t...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
Riffaterre resists the traditional literary critical notion of
‘ambiguity’ and the ...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
Another term frequently invoked by Riffaterre, the
‘interpretant’ is a sign which e...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
The way the reader recognizes this transformation, and
so recognizes the text’s sem...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
Only when we have recognized the matrix and passed to the
semiotic significance of ...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
Intertextuality is the web of functions that constitutes
and regulates the relation...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
We do not, that is, need to discover specific inter-texts
behind the texts we read;...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
This hypogram (a single sentence or string of
sentences) may be made out of clichés...
STRUCTURALIST
HERMENEUTICS:
RIFFATERRE
the hypogram represents specifically literary or
‘poeticized’ signs.
A hypogram dep...
Literary competence
Riffaterre is a celebrated theorist and
practitioner of literary criticism. But his
reliance on a noti...
Literary competence
the competence he is referring to involves the
reader’s awareness of language as it is presently
used ...
Literary competence
A related critique is voiced by Culler, and the
critics Paul de Man and Geoffrey Hartman.
This concern...
Literary competence
Riffaterre’s theory, for all its significance within the
area of textual and intertextual studies, rem...
THANKS FOR YOUR
ATTENTION
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Intertextuality

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Intertextuality

  1. 1. Intertextuality Zeinab Nasrollahi
  2. 2. Paratextuality Genette: The paratext marks those elements which lie on the threshold of the text and which help to direct and control the reception of a text by its readers. 2
  3. 3. Paratextuality Threshold consists of a • Peritext, i.e. titles, chapter titles, prefaces and notes • Epitext consisting of elements – such as interviews, publicity announcements, reviews by and addresses to critics, private letters and other authorial and editorial discussions– ‘outside’ of the text in question. Paratext: Peritext + Epitext 3
  4. 4. Paratextuality The paratext performs various functions which guide the text’s readers and can be understood pragmatically in terms of various simple questions, all concerned with the manner of the text’s existence: when published? by whom? for what purpose? Such paratextual elements also help to establish the text’s intentions: how it should be read, how it should not be read. Size, Typeface, images, design (powerful paratextual elements) 4
  5. 5. Paratextuality As Genette demonstrates, there are a number of ways in which the naming of the author or the titles of works can function to control reception of the text. • Thematic titles: which refer to the subject of the text • Rhematic titles: which refer to the manner in which the text performs its intentions. 5
  6. 6. Paratextuality major peritextual field • dedications, • inscriptions, • epigraphs • Prefaces can have major effects upon the interpretation of a text. 6
  7. 7. Paratextuality Paratexts • autographic, • allographic They can slip into modes of ambiguity crucial for an interpretation of the text. Paratexts can signify a text’s status as part of a literary canon and thus worthy of study 7
  8. 8. Paratextuality Genette asserts that the single most important aspect of paratextuality is ‘to ensure for the text a destiny consistent with the author’s purpose’ function privileged at the expense of intention 8
  9. 9. Hypertextuality Palimpsests involves ‘any relationship uniting a text B (which I shall call the hypertext) to an earlier text A (I shall, of course, call it the hypotext), upon which it is grafted in a manner that is not that of commentary’ What Genette terms the hypotext is termed by most other critics the inter-text, that is a text which can be definitely located as a major source of signification for a text. 9
  10. 10. Hypertextuality Genette’s hypertextuality is concerned not with a general facet of language, or culturally signifying practices, but with a generic aspect of the closed system of literature The meaning of hypertextual works depends upon the reader’s knowledge of the hypotext which the hypertext either satirically transforms or imitates for the purpose of pastiche. Texts can be transformed by processes of self- expurgation, excision, reduction, amplification and so on. Novels and movies based on books 10
  11. 11. Hypertextuality Self expurgation: differences between the first serialized version and the final published edition of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Excision and reduction: versions of Shakespeare or popular novels which Victorian publishers often published minus the inappropriate or religiously controversial bits. Amplifications: hypotexts can go through processes of extension, contamination and expansion, as in Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers, which amplifies a Biblical hypotext of approximately 26 pages to a novel of approximately 1,600 pages. Transmotivization: Hypertexts can give a character motivations lacking in the hypotext, as in the example of Prince of Egypt. Genette seeks merely to explore the ways in which texts are read in relation to other texts. 11
  12. 12. Hypertextuality The problem of the missing or forgotten hypotext crops up a number of times in Genette’s study. • in the case of such texts, the text’s status changes from hypotext to autonomous text. Sometimes even the scholarly community forgets important hypotexts, long buried in forgotten traditions. • In such cases the hypertext becomes merely a text, a non-relational, nontransformational work. Genette also argues that all texts are potentially hypertextual, but that sometimes the existence of a hypotext is too uncertain to be the basis for a hypertextual reading. 12
  13. 13. Hypertextuality Genette’s resolution of his own unease with regard to uncertain cases is to remind himself and his readers that ultimately every hypertext ‘can be read for itself and in its relation to its hypotext’ For Genette, indeterminacies within an individual text are unimportant, since his task is to establish a general system of possibilities and functions. 13
  14. 14. Hypertextuality The French theorist Laurent Jenny, in his ‘The Strategy of Forms’, distinguishes between works which are explicitly intertextual – such as imitations, parodies, citations, montages and plagiarisms – and those works in which the intertextual relation is not foregrounded. When a work enters into a relation of intertextuality with a genre, what was, in that architextual genre, a code (a generic structure) can become part of the text’s or the hypertext’s message We are close here to Kristeva’s point that intertextuality involves the transposition of elements from existent systems into new signifying relations. 14
  15. 15. Hypertextuality In Genette’s view, in case of Palimpsests, the reader has a choice between reading the text for itself or in terms of its intertextual relations is a kind of bad faith. Jenny’s insistence that intertextuality’s essence lies in the ‘perturbation’ of formal and thematic structures, might strengthen the argument against Genette that what is required is not a poetics which can separate textual from intertextual dimensions but a theory of interpretation which can explore the interpretive processes by which the clash of these two dimensions is registered and reconciled 15
  16. 16. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE The core of Riffaterre’s semiotic approach is: • his belief that literary texts are not referential (mimetic). • they have their meaning because of the semiotic structures which link up their individual words, phrases, sentences, key images, themes and rhetorical devices. • signaled by this anti-referential approach 16
  17. 17. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE Riffaterre refers to: ‘referential fallacy’ • the text refers not to objects outside of itself, but to an inter-text • For Riffaterre, true analysis seeks to describe the uniqueness of the literary text. Riffaterre states that the ‘largest analysable corpus that we conceive in literature should be the text and not a collection of texts’ The text itself, because of its uniqueness ‘control its own decoding 17
  18. 18. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE The reading strategy Riffaterre charts is one in which the reader at first seeking for a textual mimesis is forced, by the indeterminacies of the text, into a deeper examination of the text’s non-referential structures. Reading, then, takes place on two successive levels: • first, a mimetic level which tries to relate textual signs to external referents and tends to proceed in a linear fashion; (Mimetic) • second, a retroactive reading which proceeds, in a nonlinear fashion, to unearth the underlying semiotic units and structures which produce the text’s non-referential significance. (semiotic) 18
  19. 19. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE What forces the reader into the leap from a mimetic to semiotic interpretation of the text is recognizing what Riffaterre calls the text’s ‘ungrammaticalities’. Ungrammaticalities are aspects of the text which are contradictory on a referential reading but resolved when we reread the text in terms of its underlying sign structures. By analyzing a poem by Sylvia Plath, the necessity of a semiotic analysis is pinpointed which apparently ambiguous images and phrases are connected on a deeper, non-referential level. 19
  20. 20. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE Riffaterre resists the traditional literary critical notion of ‘ambiguity’ and the various poststructuralist and deconstructionist versions of that concept. Riffaterre prefers to substitute alternative figures and explanatory concepts which work to reinforce the notion of a move from initial ambiguity or ungrammaticality on a mimetic level to final decidability on a semiotic level. Against the term ambiguity, Riffaterre offers the rhetorical term ‘syllepsis’, a word which means something in one context and has an opposed or clashing meaning in another context. 20
  21. 21. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE Another term frequently invoked by Riffaterre, the ‘interpretant’ is a sign which explains the relation between one sign and another sign. For Riffaterre, texts produce their significance out of transformations of socially normative discourse, which he calls the ‘sociolect’. A text’s significance, we might say, depends on an ‘idiolect’ which transforms a recognizable element of the sociolect by means of inversion, conversion, expansion or juxtaposition. 21
  22. 22. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE The way the reader recognizes this transformation, and so recognizes the text’s semiotic unity, is to discover what Riffaterre calls the poem’s ‘matrix’, a word, phrase or sentence unit which does not necessarily exist in the text itself but which represents the kernel upon which the text’s semiotic system is based. The matrix is hypothetical, being only the grammatical and lexical actualization of a structure The text’s structural unity is created by the transformation of this matrix. 22
  23. 23. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE Only when we have recognized the matrix and passed to the semiotic significance of the text, do the text’s various apparent ‘ungrammaticalities’ become understandable as referring to an ‘invariant’ structure. Riffaterre is a superb close reader of texts, his characteristic manner of presenting theoretical points being through intricate interpretations of canonical texts. Riffaterre’s concern is with what it is to read, with what it is to produce a text. This concern with the phenomenology of reading can be discerned in the rather blurred relationship drawn in his work between the notion of the ‘intertext’and of the ‘hypogram’ 23
  24. 24. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE Intertextuality is the web of functions that constitutes and regulates the relationship between text and intertext inter-text is a corpus of texts, textual fragments, or text-like segments of the sociolect that shares a lexicon and, to a lesser extent, a syntax with the text we are reading (directly or indirectly) in the form of synonyms, or even conversely, in the form of antonyms. In addition, each member of this corpus is a structural homologue of the text. inter-text is an aspect of the sociolect rather than a specific text or group of texts for semiotic interpretation to occur, all that is required is what he calls the presupposition of the intertext. 24
  25. 25. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE We do not, that is, need to discover specific inter-texts behind the texts we read; all we need to do to produce a sufficient interpretation is to assume that such an inter-text – either a specific text or a piece of socially significant language – is being transformed by the text in question. Intertextual reading is the perception of similar comparabilities from text to text; or it is the assumption that such comparing must be done if there is no intertext at hand wherein to find comparabilities. hypogram is ‘the text imagined by him [the reader] in its pretransformational state’ 25
  26. 26. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE This hypogram (a single sentence or string of sentences) may be made out of clichés, or it may be a quotation from another text, or a descriptive system. Since the hypogram always has a positive or a negative ‘orientation’, the constituents of the conversion always transmute the hypogram’s markers ... This means that the significance will be a positive valorization of the textual semiotic unit if the hypogram is negative, and a negative valorization if the hypogram is positive. 26
  27. 27. STRUCTURALIST HERMENEUTICS: RIFFATERRE the hypogram represents specifically literary or ‘poeticized’ signs. A hypogram depends on the notion that certain words or word groups already possess a ‘poetic’ function in the sociolect. Riffaterre’s interpretive practice is dependent on discovering the ways in which texts produce semiotic unity by transforming socially shared codes, clichés, oppositions and descriptive systems; yet such an approach refuses to accept that such a reliance on the sociolect involves the text in anything other than its own self-generating system, its idiolectic and thus unique significance. 27
  28. 28. Literary competence Riffaterre is a celebrated theorist and practitioner of literary criticism. But his reliance on a notion of linguistic or literary competence has produced a series of criticisms and objections. when he is evoking literary competence Riffaterre is not referring to knowledge of texts and canons, but is rather referring to an adequate possession of the sociolect. 28
  29. 29. Literary competence the competence he is referring to involves the reader’s awareness of language as it is presently used in communication and as it has been used in previous eras. The spectacle is born not of a spectator’s delusion but of a cancellation of sociolectic conventions: this is enough to make the poem’s representation a coded sign, the self-sufficient icon of a truth deeper than conventional representation 29
  30. 30. Literary competence A related critique is voiced by Culler, and the critics Paul de Man and Geoffrey Hartman. This concerns Riffaterre’s oversimplification of figurative language. Riffaterre’s arguments about hypogrammatic structures, and more generally about the essential semiotic unity of texts, represent the fullest articulation of one source of the whole post-Saussurean project of semiology. 30
  31. 31. Literary competence Riffaterre’s theory, for all its significance within the area of textual and intertextual studies, remains blind to the disrupting effect of what has been called ‘the hermeneutic circle’. This phrase is employed to refer to the fact that it is impossible to ascertain whether reading produces the theory of textuality or whether reading supports and is driven by that theory. Readers come from numerous backgrounds and have numerous reading experiences. They clearly do not share a single ‘sociolect’. We cannot, therefore, refer to the presupposition of readers as if it were a singular, or predictable phenomenon. 31
  32. 32. THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION

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