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Intertextuality in Contemporary Writing - Essay Example

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Intertextuality in Contemporary Writing

However, it must first be questioned whether or not sharing a general plot makes stories similar, or if it is the unique creation of that story which is valued above all other.
The concept of intertextuality is not new. Intertextuality is defined as "Intertextuality is the shaping of texts' meanings by other texts. It can refer to an author's borrowing and transformation of a prior text or to a reader's referencing of one text in reading another" (Wikipedia). Another, more clear and accepted definition describes intertextuality as
Texts, whether they be literary or non-literary are viewed by modern theorists as lacking in any kind of independent meaning. They are what theorists now call intertextual. The act of reading, theorists claim, plunges us into a network of textual relations. To interpret a text, to discover its meaning, or meanings, is to trace those relations. Reading thus becomes a process of moving between texts. Meaning becomes something that exists between a text and all other texts to which it refers to and relates, moving out from the independent text into a network of textual relations. (Hansen, Intertextuality)
Even the word draws from other sources, having been changed and developed to its' current meaning. Yet intertextuality is more than just the influences that other writers and texts have upon the text in question. It affects the subject of the piece, the style of the writing, even the word choice made. It is semiotics to every detail, and intertextuality suggests that there is actually nothing new in a new text, that all ideas have been borrowed or influnced by other writers and texts. To suggest that all writing is a form of plagiarism is an interesting concept, and yet holds quite a bit of validity. Even now, in this essay, the ideas have been written before. The form has been written before. Other authors have expounded on the concept of intertexuality. If all essays were compared, chances are there would be little that was not found in at least two essays. If not even an essay can be unique, than how can a novel, or a play
Yet, at the same time, how can they not be unique An excellent example of this is Carpentier's essay, "Like the Night." Clearly, the concept of looking at how a soldier feels about war is not unique in and of itself. Look at contemporary classics, such as The Things They Carried. Like "Like the Night" the story focuses on the tales of men at war, and their thoughts and feelings about what is happening around them. Yet, while they each share unique thoughts and ideas, would they not both be strengthened by reading both texts They are a part of the intertextual network that Hansen described.
Another piece that deserves notice is Barth's "Dunyazadiad." This piece clearly draws on other works and ideas, as it is not a story meant to stand alone, but rather a remake of an already written story. His story not only connects to other stories on an idea basis, but also embellishes and changes a story that already had meaning and idea. There are deeper concepts in this story then, since it adds yet another layer to the original story, bringing the meanings written by that author, and by Barth. Clearly, this piece can not stand by itself, since it would lose so much.
So, the answer to the question "The concept of inte ...Show more

Summary

There is much to be argued about intertextuality. While each writer attempts to use individual thought and ideas in their writing, is that truly possible And if it is, is that truly desirable Even looking back to Shakespeare, who used stories and ideas from other writers, and then layered in his stories context and subtext that all relate to other stories and ideas written…
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