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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds Hi everyone, I’m here to give you a very short introduction to intertextuality, we’re going to start by thinking about the term itself. The word ‘intertextuality’ comes from the French word ‘intertextualité’ that was first coined by the French feminist and French philosopher Julia Kristeva, and Julia Kristeva was writing in the 19th century,and she was building on the work of earlier theorists and critics, such as Saussure and Mikhail Bakhtin who were all thinking about the relationship between a text and multiple other texts from a conceptual and theoretical perspective and this is in essence what intertextuality is.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds It is thinking about the relationship between the primary and another text, or a variety of other texts, and those other texts are known as the ‘intertext’. So you have the primary text and the intertext. That intertext is often another literary text, it doesn’t always have to be another literary texts, though. It can be a philosophical text, for instance, or a scientific text as well. That other text can also be a text that was written in a different time period, in a different language, from a different geographical, or a different cultural, context from that primary text. So what does this mean for us as readers of poetry?

Skip to 1 minute and 31 seconds So when we come to a primary text, when we’re thinking about intertextuality in a primary text, in a poem, we’re thinking about the allusions, we’re thinking about the images, the ideas, the tropes, or even singular words, in a poem that come from, or are shaped by, another text, another literary text, that intertext. And that’s the label to identify those allusions in a primary text, and then we can start thinking about the meanings that we can draw out of that primary text and thinking about that relationship between that primary text and that intertext, that other literary text. It also allows us to put poets and writers in a kind of conversation with each other.

Skip to 2 minutes and 25 seconds So we’re thinking about that relationship between the primary texts and an intertext even if they are divided, even if they are divided by time, or geography, or even language. It also allows us to ask the bigger questions about authorship and originality. And those are questions that theorists in particular were interested in asking.

Skip to 2 minutes and 44 seconds Somebody like Roland Barthes, for instance, is interested in intertextuality:- what that means for authorship and originality for instance. It also allows us to think about readings and misreadings of a poem. And importantly allows us to draw out meaning from a poem, or different meanings of a poem.

A very short introduction to intertextuality

In this video, Dr Shazia Jagot gives a very short introduction to intertextuality.

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This video is from the free online course:

Poetry: How to Read a Poem

University of York