B Y Z A C K C H R I S T O D O U L O U
• the shaping of a text's meaning by another
• Intertextual figures include: allusion,
quotation, calque, plagiarism, translation,
pastiche and parody.
• An example of intertextuality is a writer’s
borrowing and transformation of a prior text,
and incorporating an aspect of it in a new
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 another"
• 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 discourses.
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
• 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
• 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
• 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.
• 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 postmodern.
• This highlights how interpretation lies with the
audience – that it is subjective - it is the audience
that creates meaning.