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The Paratext, The Architext, The Intertext, The Hypertext...,
This review is from: Intertextuality (The New Critical Idiom) (Paperback)
Having not read much literary theory since the late 80s, I was surprised to see that the big names haven't changed much in over twenty years. It's mostly still Barthes, Derrida, Bakhtin, Kristeva, Showalter, Bloom, and their bloc. Though some, like Kristeva and Bakhtin, from the evidence in this book, seem to have risen in importance, while there's a whole batch of post-colonialist theorists who I didn't know about before, and the author also presents us a chapter with three interesting structuralists called Genette, Riffaterre and Jenny. Riffaterre, for instance, is a terrific inventor of new jargon, and Genette offers us the hypotext, the paratext, the architext, the peritext, the metatext and the epitext (I may have missed a few), to add to the boring old intertext and hypertext. There's also a section at the end on the internet, and hypertext's potential for changing how we read (this book was published in 2000), with the author suggesting that we may become more like Barthes' and Kristeva's engaged reader-writers, given the possibilities that we now have (e.g. through this website) to respond to texts in previously unavailable ways. Considering the density of the subject-matter, this is a very readable book, and did make me feel I understood concepts like The Death of the Author, dialogism, 'misreading' and intertextuality itself far better than I used to; no mean feat, really.