History and Poetics of Intertextuality

TitleHistory and Poetics of Intertextuality
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsJuvan, Marko
Refereed DesignationDoes Not Apply
Series EditorTötösy de Zepetnek, Steven
TranslatorPogačar, Timothy
Series TitleComparative Cultural Studies
Number of Volumes1
Number of Pages216
PublisherPurdue University Press
CityWest Lafayette, IN
ISBN Number978-1-55753-503-0
Keywordsallusion, citational figures and genres, dialogism, imitation, influence, intertextuality, memory, parody, quotation, systemic self-reference, topos, travesty
In his book History and Poetics of Intertextuality Marko Juvan argues that intertextuality is constitutive of all textuality and that it may be foregrounded in literary works, genres, or styles such as parody. Juvan surveys the field in order to ground the poetics of intertextuality in the history of its idea and presents its development as general intertextuality (from Kristeva to New Historicism) and citationality (from Genette’s late structuralism to the present text theory). He also discusses the concept’s precursors since Antiquity (imitatio, influence, etc.). In modern times the concept emerged in the 1960s from a radical theory of writing. Based in Derrida’s deconstruction, the notion and practice of intertextuality implied a relational and transformative character of identity, meaning, subject, text, and socio-historical reality. In consequence, the notion gained currency in postmodernist aesthetics while in literary studies it has been transformed from its transgressive content into a detailed descriptive methodology. However, by bringing citationality into focus, practices of intertextuality suggest that literature is an autopoetic system, living on cultural memory, and interacting with other social discourses. The poetics of intertextuality Juvan proposes in his book is based mainly on semiotics and it elucidates factors determining the socio-historically elusive border between general intertextuality and citationality (encyclopaedic literary competence, paratext, etc.). In his analysis Juvan explores modes of intertextual representation. He stresses that in intertextuality pre-texts evoked or re-written in post-texts figure as interpretants of the latter and vice versa. Juvan’s analysis suggests that intertextual derivations and references have become common in literary culture as citational figures and genres.
Marko Juvan has published a truly intertextual book on intertextuality: his book History and Poetics of Intertextuality defines and analyzes Kristeva’s and Bakhtin’s concept in an etymological, literary, and intercultural context, thus laying bare its linguistic, philosophical, and social roots. His carefully argued analysis not only deals with the history of intertextuality, but at the same time reveals the relevance of this key concept of semiotics to poetics and culture theory in the best possible exemplification of comparative cultural studies.
Peter V. Zima, University of Klagenfurt
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