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This collection explores and clarifies two of the most contested ideas in literary theory - influence and intertextuality. The study of influence tends to centre on major authors and canonical works, identifying prior documents as "sources" or "contexts" for a given author. Intertextuality, on the other hand, is a concept unconcerned with authors as individuals; it treats all texts as part of a network of discourse that includes culture, history and social practices as well as other literary works. In thirteen essays drawing on the entire spectrum of English and American literary history, this volume considers the relationship between these two terms across the whole range of their usage. Debates about these two concepts have been crucial to the "new historicism" and the resurgence of interest in literary history. The essays in this volume employ a wide array of examples from that history - poetry of the Renaissance and the 20th century, Old English texts, and postmodernist productions that have served as recurrent "intertexts" for contemporary theory.
The contributors examine such questions as the role of the author, canon formation, gender, causality and the social dimension of texts. They hope to illuminate old assumptions and new ideas about agency that lie behind notions of influence, examining in the process models of an anonymous textual field that lie behind notions of intertextuality.
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- ID: 9780299130343
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