Literature, Language, and Life

Home » Uncategorized » David Lodge’s Chapter “Intertextuality” in reference to “Maps” (Sabrina)

David Lodge’s Chapter “Intertextuality” in reference to “Maps” (Sabrina)

Lodge begins his chapter on intertextuality by using an excerpt from Joseph Conrad’s The Shadow Line (1917). He uses this particular excerpt as a base to get his point across on intertextuality. Lodge states that there are several different ways in which a text can refer to another such as: parody, echo, allusion etc. But he says many theorist think that intertextuality is the very “condition” of literature, and that all texts are based off of other texts.

Intertextuality was developed by a postconstructuralist names Julia Kristeva in the 1960s. Since then it has been widely referred to and accepted by postmodern theoreticians and literary critics. This came as a result of responding to Ferdinan de Saussure’s theory that signs obtain meaning through structure in particular text. But she opposed this saying readers are influenced by other text, and go back through their archives when reading a new book. (Novak)

Essentially, intertextuality is when writers use or refer to previous texts. What this does is give more levels of meaning to a text. When a text is read shaped by another text, all the effects of the previous text provide new meaning and influence on the way one interprets the original text. It almost functions as a subtheme, and it reminds us of the double narratives in allegories. (Novak)

Lodge specifically refers to Intertextuality as being “entwined in the roots of the English novel, while at the other end of the chronological spectrum novelist tend to exploit than resist it.” He is implying that authors are now just recycling old works in order to add meaning to their own work.

In terms of intertextuality in Maps Nuruddin never explicitly refers to a particular text. The way Nuruddin uses intertextuality in the book is by expecting the reader to about the events and lifestyles that take place in Somalia. For example how Misra in chapter one acts as a motherly figure to Askar. In Somalian relationships, women commonly act as mothers or motherly figures to young children in the family. This is why Misra even breastfeeds Askar, because it is normal in Somalian relationships. It is also used when Nuruddin depicts the way Askar sees the violence around him. This is because Nuruddin expects the reader to know about the conflicts in Somalia he is referring to.

In conclusion, intertextuality is using through out almost all novels. Nuruddin specifically uses it in maps by him excpecting the reader to know about Somalian culture and conflicts that he refers to. Knowing this further exemplifies the reader’s ability to experience life from Askar’s eyes and develop meaning.


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