Intertextual collage in postmodern texts: linguostylistic perspective
Uliana Tykha, postgraduate student
Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University
Keywords: intertextuality, quotation, allusion, collage.
Cтатья посвящается стратегии интертекстуального коллажа в постмодернистских текстах. Анализируется его лингвостилистичний аспект, понятие цитации и аллюзии.
Ключевые слова: интертекстуальность, цитация, аллюзия, коллаж.
Modern linguistic science dwells on the text that is studied in terms of its internal development and the relationship with other texts. The concept of intertextuality changed the idea of text as a homogeneous structure and proposed instead the interpretation of the text as a heterogeneous essence. It was Julia Kristeva who coined the term “intertextuality”, defining a text as “a mosaic of quotations where every text is the absorption and transformation of another text” [6, 383].
For J. Kristeva intertexuality inherently is “permutation of texts”: it states that “in a space of a few test utterances, taken from other tests, mutually interact and neutralize one another”. Text is combinatorics – permanent interchange between multiple fragments of modern writing [9, 9]. Intertextuality finds its specific implementation in various shapes and forms of textual interaction.
Despite the abundance of interpretations of intertextuality, the linguistic aspect of this category in postmodern texts still remains open for an in-depth research. Postmodern writing is one of the vital premises for intertextual studies as it employs intertextuality as a stylistic device which shapes reader’s perception of a text. This process is termed “intertextuality as textual strategy”. According to Gérard Genette, intertextuality as a stylistic device reflects the transtextual relations a text may have with others. This interrelation is realized by means of quotation and allusion [1, 434].
Intertextuality is a device that lets one text be rewritten in another text; intertext is a whole set of texts that appear in a work, regardless of whether it relates to a work in absentia (in the case of allusions) or include it in praesentia (in the case of quotations) [9, 9]. Nathalie Piegay-Gros calls quotation the emblematic form of intertextuality, as it best shows the process of incorporating one text with another one. Quotation as intertextual means is typical of the texts that are characterized by collision and fragmentation. Entering the text, quotation immediately catches the eye, but its identification and interpretation require reader’s erudition. Indeed, the choice of the quoted text, its volume, implementation methods and the meaning that it acquires when incorporated into a new context are extremely important components of quotation decoding [9, 84]. Despite the explicit nature of quotation, it still goes far beyond its traditional functions – to be authoritative and ornamental. Entering a novel, quotation fully integrates into written structure and themes of the work [9, 86].
Speaking of reader’s role in quotation and allusion recognition, Charles Nodier emphasizes that "quotation itself only indicates the average erudition; though successful allusion bears the stamp of a genius" (Nodier Ch. Questions de literature legale. Paris: Crapele, 1828). Allusion differently influences the memory and intelligence of a reader, without violating the integrity of the text. Nodier emphasizes that allusion is “a clever means to relate the well-known views with its own language; it is different from quotation because does not require author’s name which is well-known, and especially that successfully borrowed expression does not only refer to the authority, as quotation does, but is as successful appeal to reader's memory to place him in another order of things similar to that, which it is referred to”.
N. Fateeva believes that resorting to quotation, author appeals to the reconstructive intertextuality, registering the unity of "own" and "alien" texts; in case of allusion constructive intertextuality is implemented, which organizes borrowed items in the single semantic and compositional structure of a new text [10, 129].
Postmodernist modes of rewriting add some new twists to older kinds of textual transformation: playful, hide-and-seek type of indirection, a tongue-in-cheek seriousness, an often respectful and even honorific irony, and an overall tendency toward oblique and even secret or quasi-secret textual reference [3, 243]. Due to the postmodernist prevalence of rewriting as a technique of composition, scholars of contemporary literature define parody as the main genre of rewriting and parodic mode as the most salient distinguishing feature of cutting-edge postmodern literature [3, 245].
Allusion can be an important, indeed cardinal, device in the structure of comic texts. Furthermore, wherever allusions occur some excursion into parody is possible; the parodic line often begins with the allusive point [5, 218]. In terms of imitation, parody imitates the style of a particular writer or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect. Parodic allusion is then, “a stylistic device in which one text incorporates a caricature of another, most often, popular cultural text…that seeks to amuse through juxtaposition” [1, 435-436]. A. Pasco states that allusion is not genre, but is rather a mode, a strategy, a device that occurs in all genres. “Allusion is a metaphorical relationship created when an alluding text evokes and uses another, independent text” [4, 12].
Perception of the text as a “mosaic of quotations” indicates collage existence in postmodern poetics of intertextuality. This purposeful reassembly of fragments to form a new whole is, undoubtedly, an active element in many postmodern texts [6, 387].
In his essay “The Object of Post-Criticism” Gregory Olmer states: “By most accounts collage is the single most revolutionary formal innovation in artistic representation to occur in our century” [11, 2]. It breaks narrative expectations, surprises the reader while requiring him/her to fill in the gaps, draw conclusions, and make connections from only the implication of relationship between often disparate elements.
Contemporary author Maureen Seaton says that “collage has historically played with narrative, and in some cases, has sought to disrupt, even destroy linear narrative entirely. There are great possibilities for reader engagement in the negative spaces of collage, in the silences of the leaps between images or chunks of text – I believe greater possibilities than in the traditional lyric or narrative” [11, 11].
In his book “The Frame and the Mirror: On Collage and the Postmodern” Thomas P. Brockelman states that “collage practices — the gathering of materials from different worlds into a single composition demanding a geometrically multiplying double reading of each element — call attention to the irreducible heterogeneity of the “postmodern condition” [2, 10-11]. Quotations and cliches are the main elements of literary collage that serves as the main compositional technique of postmodern text. Nonlinearity, metalanguage, intertextuality are the characteristics of literary collage. Quotation as a basics of collage writing can be decomposed into two interconnected operations: repeatition of a unit, derived from a specific context, which is also a semantic transformation by comparing it with the other elements of the context. Leaving parent contexts and integrating into the new system, elements of text collage become symbolically important because of actualization of semantic potential and evoking connotative process [8, 232].
Having touched upon the notion of intertextuality in terms of postmodern aesthetics, we singled out quoatation and allusion as its linguostylistic manifestation. Appealing to reader’s perception, the post-structuralist concept of intertextuality significally stands to decode postmodern writing. The expanding scope of quotation and allusion combined by a blending technique of collage emphasizes the intertextual structure as a distinguishing attribute of postmodern texts.
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