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Unformatted text preview: 1 Introduction: Genre, Performance, and the Production of Intertextuality I live in a world of others words. Bakhtin (1986:143) The relationship of texts to other texts has been an abiding concern of lit- erary theorists since classical antiquity, certainly since Aristotle speculated on the potential shape of tragedies based on the Iliad and the Odyssey as against other relations of the fall of Troy and its aftermath ( Poetics xviii.4, xxiii). Whether by the attribution of literary influence, or the identification of literary sources and analogues, or the ascription of traditionality, or the allegation of plagiarism or copyright violation or, indeed, by any of a host of other ways of construing relationships among texts the recognition that the creation of literary texts depends in significant part on the align- ment of texts to prior texts and the anticipation of future texts has drawn critical and ideological attention to this reflexive dimension of discur- sive practice. In the domain of oral poetics, intertextuality has been a defining focus since the latter part of the seventeenth century, when oral tradition became a key element in marking the juncture between premodern and modern epochs in the evolution of language and culture. In the late eighteenth century, Herders celebration of the sung again quality of oral poetry, its circulation among the people, and its capacity to spite the power of time, established the foundational orientations of the study of oral poetics toward the genetic relationships among variants and versions and the durability of the oral tradition constituted by the intertextual relation- ships that link these cognate texts. In this philological perspective, which had a formative influence on textual criticism more generally and which was inscribed into the scholarly tradition of folklore and anthropology by the Brothers Grimm and Franz Boas, the texts are conceived essentially as cultural objects: durable, repeatable, classifiable, linked to other texts by relationships of descent (both textual and national) and generic similarity (Bauman and Briggs 2003). Moreover, one may find apparently corresponding taken as corrobo- rative understandings among the tradition bearers, those who carry and pass on the textual objects. When, for instance, Jn Nor Q mann, an elderly Icelandic storyteller, concludes a story about a nineteenth-century poet with magical powers a narrative that figures centrally in a later chapter of this book by remarking Now Gudrun, his daughter, told my father this story, he would appear to be confirming the traditionality of the nar- rative, handed down from the past by repeated tellings, as well as identify- ing it by genre ( saga : story)....
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This note was uploaded on 07/28/2008 for the course LCC 2600 taught by Professor Auslander during the Spring '08 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.
- Spring '08