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Yelena Baraz, Christopher S. van den Berg

American Journal of Philology, Volume 134, Number 1 (Whole Number

533), Spring 2013, pp. 1-8 (Article)

Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press

DOI: 10.1353/ajp.2013.0003

For additional information about this article

Accessed 15 Feb 2014 15:45 GMT GMT




Yelena Baraz and Christopher S. van den Berg

This introduction cannot do justice to the long and complex
history of intertextuality as practiced by classicists, but it is appropriate
to outline some of the more influential developments since Conte1 first
reconceived Giorgio Pasqualis arte allusiva in terms of Julia Kristevas
intertextuality2 and helped establish a dominant model for the study of
Latin poetry. During the last century, literary scholars of virtually every
critical persuasion explored the theoretical underpinnings of allusion
and intertextuality.3 Bakhtin, Barthes, and Kristeva first formulated the
vocabulary and conceptual frameworks which have since been taken
up, advanced, and revised by scholars across disciplines.4 The study of
intertextuality continues apace in a range of academic fields, with both
specialist studies and capable surveys aimed at broader audiences.5

Conte 1986.
On the restricted application of the term intertextuality, coined by Julia Kristeva,
by literary theorists, see, e.g., Pucci 1998, 1416, and Edmunds 2001, 816.
Pucci 1998, chap. 1, provides a concise overview.
Seminal are Bakhtin 1981, 1984a, and 1986; Kristeva 1969 and 1986 (drawing heavily
from Bakhtin); Barthes 1981 (largely indebted to Kristeva) and 1977 (whose The Death of the
Author is perhaps the seminal essay on textuality and authorship in modern literary studies).
Especially useful introductions, including assessments of recent developments and
vocabulary, are: Clayton and Rothstein 1991, Allen 2000, and Orr 2003. Classicists are
likely to know Schmitz 2007, 7886. A succinct overview is available in Martin 2011, the
introduction to articles first presented as papers at a seminar of the 2010 meeting of the
American Comparative Literature Association in New Orleans, entitled Intertextualities:
Text, Image, and Beyond. The papers in that collection reflect the diversity of methods
and media (esp. visual) for the study of intertextuality in neighboring disciplines.

American Journal of Philology 134 (2013) 18 2013 by The Johns Hopkins University Press
2 yelena baraz and christopher s. van den berg

Classicists, always on the lookout for verbal correspondences, have

engaged with the question of how to define and understand allusive phe-
nomena in a more rigorous way, although this engagement is in many
ways a continuation of ancient reading practices.6 In the last three decades,
work on the subject has intensified, with two major strands shaping the
debate. One can be dubbed, following Hinds now classic intervention,7
allusion versus intertext, pitting the detection and interpretation of
clearly defined literary reminiscences against more diffuse, more Kriste-
van understandings of interactions on the level of language as a semiotic
system.8 The other strand has contested where the interaction, however
one may choose to describe it, is to be imagined as taking place. Thus
Conte, influenced by structuralism and semiotics, has foregrounded text
in order to avoid psychologizing the author9 and distinguished between
local and systematic allusion. Thomas,10 in search for greater precision in
identifying and interpreting allusive relationships, has proposed replac-
ing allusion with reference, setting it apart from accidental verbal
correspondences.11 Hinds has suggested a move away from philological
fundamentalism towards semiology as exemplified mainly by Conte.12
He identifies allusion and intertext as two opposed concepts which are
essential to the philological and the semiological approaches, respectively.
He leaves some room for authorial intention in reaction to what he sees
as the extremes of reader-based approaches.13 A proponent of one such
approach, Pucci,14 has sought to shift the emphasis away from the author
and the text15 in proposing that allusion, while present in potentia in
the text, is only activated in the mental space of a full-knowing reader,
thus temporarily empowered at the expense of the otherwise controlling

See Farrell 1991, 425.
Hinds 1998.
Another major consideration of the two approaches is Fowler 2000.
In practice the author often reappears in individual readings (see Farrell 1991, 2124,
for a brief critique); the psychoanalytic account offered by Oliensis 2009 brings the author
back into focus as an agent, albeit one who only partially controls the creation of meaning.
Thomas 1986.
See also Wills 1996, who, at the outset of his study of word repetition as a particular
type of allusion, presents a very useful discussion and catalogue of markers/markings
of allusion (1524, 3031); cf. Wills 1998 for a useful typology.
Hinds 1998, esp. 1725.
Hinds 1998, e.g., 4751, 144.
Pucci 1998, 43.
Another analysis that focuses on the audience with an emphasis on the ideological
aspects is Laird 1999, 3543.
introduction 3

author.16 Edmunds,17 following primarily a Jaussian theory of reading, sees

allusion as created through interaction between reader and text, leaving
the author out of the equation entirely.18
While no consensus has emerged on these issues, nor does one
seem likely to, common ground is discernible concerning the ultimate
significance that textual reuse has to offer, and, consequently, the kinds
of meaning that modern scholars are likely to see in ancient texts. The
results of the critical dialogue about intertextuality have included a new-
found appreciation of the pervasive and productive character of imitation,
acknowledgement that reference both appropriates and undermines a
tradition, and acceptance that alluding authors interpret forerunners and
offer metacritical assertions about their own texts. These effects have led
to a recognizable framework for the interpretation of textual repetition
and reuse, and the most fruitful aspects of intertextuality have now found
their way into the critical repertoire of many classicists. Still, for others,
numerous alternatives demand consideration. More than ten years ago,
Fowler remarked on the tendency for intertextual criticism to concen-
trate on poetic literary texts to the neglect first of prose, subliterary and
non-literary texts, and second of other types of cultural production.19
His insight still holds, as critical attention tends to be limited in both
genre and era. For example, analysis of Roman texts has focused on
poetryespecially epicof the early empire. Recent exceptions provide
an impetus to move beyond the poetic canon on which the theoretical
frameworks currently in use are based.20
The present volume originated in the panel Intertextuality and Its
Discontents, which was held at the 2012 American Philological Associa-
tion meeting in Philadelphia.21 The panel was motivated partly by dis-
satisfaction with the current range of approaches to intertextuality and
partly by a desire to reexamine its application to the study of the ancient
world. That our own interest found considerable sympathy in the wider

Outlined in chap. 2, esp. 4044; note, however, that authorial intent is present in
his final definition of allusion (47).
Edmunds 2001.
With a critique of Hinds, whose distinction between allusion and intertext he
also rejects.
Fowler 2000, 128.
Van Mal-Maeder 2007; Marchesi 2008; OGorman 2009; Damon 2010; Levene
2010a, 82163; Polleichtner 2010.
We wish to thank Stephen Hinds (an exemplary respondent), John Henkel, and
Christopher Polt for their stimulating contributions to the original panel.
4 yelena baraz and christopher s. van den berg

community was reflected in the large number of abstracts submitted and

in the attentive crowd which braved a cramped room at the Philadelphia
Marriott. The time seemed right to invite scholars with new takes on the
old method to address a wider audience.
The articles in this volume identify hitherto unexplored areas and
promise to shed new light on the workings of textual redirection. The
problem is not solely whether we can impose the ascendant methodol-
ogy onto a broader array of worksalthough that enterprise may prove
valuablebut whether a more diverse application will alter or challenge
current orthodoxy. Others, of course, are also seeking new ground.22
Recent APA seminars on Allusion and Intertextuality in Classical His-
toriography (2011, organized by John Marincola) and on Historiogra-
phy, Poetry, and the Intertext (2013, organized by Christina S. Kraus)
bookend this panel, and the insights of all three will hopefully give new
prominenceand generically sensitive perspectiveto allusive practices
in non-poetic media.23 The articles collected here offer fresh perspectives
on referential relationships in traditionally overlooked genres and cultural
practices and suggest new possibilities for the theory, terminology, and
applicability of intertextuality.
The first piece, Cultural Studies, Oral Tradition, and the Promise
of Intertextuality, by Nigel Nicholson, poses a crucial question: can the
methodology usefully be applied where no fixed text exists, and can it
contribute to cultural studies by putting literary texts in dialogue with
oral tradition? Nicholsons approach draws on the linguistic theories of
Bakhtin, Medvedev, and Volosinov, whose work informed both Kristevas
original formulation of intertextuality and Raymond Williams founda-
tional contribution to the field of cultural studies. Nicholsons case study
examines the relationship between Pindars Olympian 10, a poem that
celebrates the victory of the Locrian Hagesidamus, and the oral tradi-
tion, transmitted in later texts, concerning another local Olympic victor,
Euthymus. Nicholson shows that the informal oral tradition gives us access

A different way forward is suggested by a project at SUNY Buffalo (presented in
Coffee et al. 2012) that expands the possibilities for automatic detection of textual reuse
in ancient poetry, promising to increase and refine the allusions available to the interpreter
interested in the interface of particular texts. Technological advances have always assisted
theoretical advances in the study of intertextuality, but technology is not necessarily coex-
tensive with the insights that are built on technology; compare Fowler 2000, esp. 12227,
with Coffee et al. 2012, 38283.
Papers from the first APA session are currently accessible online as working papers
introduction 5

to an ideological strain that can be read productively against the politics

of Pindars ode, allowing the interpreter to pinpoint areas of contestation
within the larger discourse of which it is a part without having to rely on
direct verbal allusion or be stymied by the problems of relative dating.
In a similar vein, Pauline LeVens Reading the Octopus: Authorship,
Intertexts, and a Hellenistic Anecdote (Machon fr. 9 Gow) examines the
disconnection of texts from identifiable forerunners and explores the value
of anecdotal discourses as a context for poetry. She asks how Machons
chreiae interact with poetic and scholarly practices in the Hellenistic world,
assessing the overlap of formal criticism with socio-cultural approaches
and arguing that both are necessary in order to understand such a corpus.
The essay begins by tracing what a formalist reading through a chain of
allusions can tell us about the chreia but then turns increasingly to the
cultural framework surrounding Hellenistic poetics. LeVen emphasizes
the possibilities of anecdotes to redefine our sense of textual sources as a
textual collective, in which different pieces of poetic background noise
circulate freely as context against which to read a text. The impossibil-
ity of pinning down the source of specific details upsets our ability to
trace a specific reference and therefore to ascribe authorial intention at
certain points in a text.
William Stull (On Encountering Cephalus in De Senectute)
takes us from poetry to prose and from Greece to Rome, but a Rome
looking back on the Greek tradition of dialogue. Stull first establishes a
framework for understanding Ciceros allusions to Plato by examining his
remarks on the adaptation of Greek texts (De Finibus 1.410) and then
proceeds to analyze the relationship of Ciceros De Senectute to Platos
Republic. Stull focuses on the association of Cato with Cephalus and on
the intellectual consequences of the comparison, in which Cicero is seen
to be challenging the reader to make sense of the conflict between the
Greek and the Roman strata of the text. Reference back to Plato is a
kind of translation, but one that operates at the cultural level: the smaller
network of textual connections illuminates the much larger problem of
Greek theory in relation to Roman historical realities. The intertextual
relationship is thus not simply adopting or challenging a literary forerun-
ner but rather contributes uniquely to Roman political theory, as Cicero
underlines the significance of experiential knowledge for the Roman
intellectual context.
Andrew Feldherrs article, Free Spirits: Sallust and the Citation
of Catiline, contributes to the ongoing debate on the nature of inter-
textuality in historiography, which presents a particular challenge given
the genres claims to a special relationship to reality. Feldherr examines
6 yelena baraz and christopher s. van den berg

the complex layering of rival authors (Catiline, Cicero, Sallust) of the

famous (and famously elusive) quo usque tandem in the Bellum Catilinae.
Sallusts (re)attribution of the phrase to Catiline means that the reader
cannot clearly determine its source and, therefore, its status: is it a literary
allusion or an accurate representation of a historical event? The parallels
in biography and language between Catiline and Sallust himself further
call into question the position of Sallusts text, a potential participant in
the political conflicts it recounts. The concluding section suggests that
Sallusts desire to combat the potential attribution of negative invidia as
the underlying motivation for his writing leads to his choice of Catiline
as subject.
Tara Welch offers a different model of how authors deal with mul-
tiple sources in Was Valerius Maximus a Hack? She studies Valerius
reuse of traditional material, using an intertextual approach to under-
stand the generic distinctiveness of his literary enterprise. Drawing on
Hinds discussion of topoi,24 Welch argues that Valerius use of a range
of sources can best be seen as anti-intertextuality in which the author
does not direct the reader to one specific model but rather encourages us
to gather the forerunners into a larger cultural tradition. Valerius anti-
intertextuality complicates the association of authorship with textual
appropriation and ownership. Welch reads against the assumption that
an author creates and therefore owns the material which he presents,
even in cases where that material is placed into its new setting through
intertextual citation. Welch observes: Valerius desires to be a conduit for
this material but not for the particular texts he uses as such. Upsetting
the traditional notions of authorship is carried out with a social function
in mind, namely, to create a sense of communal belonging to a textual
past: redefining ownership of texts also redefines who has legitimate
access to those texts.
Irene Peiranos article, Non subripiendi causa sed palam mutuandi:
Intertextuality and Literary Deviancy between Law, Rhetoric, and Lit-
erature in Roman Imperial Culture, turns to the Romans own ways of
conceptualizing intertextual relationships in the light of legal discourses
on property and ownership. Peirano explores what is culturally specific
about the techniques of imitation, that is, how ideas about intertextual-
ity are embedded in neighboring practices. Her way into the Roman
intertextual imaginary is by consideration of the metaphors and imag-
ery that structure and inform the presentation of textual interplay. The

Hinds 1998, 3447.
introduction 7

distinction between legitimate allusion and literary stealing, significant,

yet to moderns somewhat opaque, is connected to the broader cultural
practice of judgment: assessments of literature and rulings on legal mat-
ters. Peiranos point of departure is the famous claim in a declamatory
fragment recorded by Seneca the Elder that Ovid imitated Virgil non
subripiendi causa sed palam mutuandi, hoc animo ut vellet agnosci. What
results is a fruitful exposition of the legal framework in which textual
borrowing could be theorized and justified through appeal to familiar
Roman discourses on legitimacy, inheritance, obligation, and ownership.
Like Nicholson, Ilaria Marchesis Silenced Intertext: Pliny on
Martial on Pliny (on Regulus) proposes a way to move intertextuality
beyond the need for precise verbal allusion. Building on her 2008 inter-
textual study, The Art of Plinys Letters, Marchesi confronts the issues
that arise when we want to work between the two extremes that frame
Hinds seminal book: the verbal allusion (or, to use Thomas terminology,
reference) on the one hand and intertextuality broadly conceived on
the other. Marchesis study of the relationship between the letters of Pliny
and the epigrams of Martial proposes a model of intertextual clouds:
areas of loosely connected texts which may still bear interpretive
weight and may be shown to have interdependent meaning. This model
allows for establishment of specific connections where verbal clinchers
are absent and provides a theoretical foundation for interpretation of
large-scale textual interaction between two or more thematically inter-
connected texts. Marchesi begins with Plinys partial citation of Martial
in the famous obituary letter (3.21) and proceeds to read the interface
between the two authors corpora in a way that locates the explicit cita-
tion within the context of more diffuse, and more tentative, thematic and
circumstantial connections, especially those mediated through the figure
of Marcus Regulus.
The last article, On the Intersignification of Monuments in Augustan
Rome, by Mathew Roller, takes us into the world of Roman monuments.
Roller begins by recognizing the similarities between literary intertextu-
ality and acts of homage or suppression in material artifacts. He focuses
on competitive acts of memorialization by Romes aristocracy, such as
commemorative buildings and physical monuments. Roller draws attention
to the differences inherent in physical and literary media. He calls for a
new term, intersignification, to describe the intertextual-like relation-
ships among monuments and other types of signs beyond the literary.
To demonstrate the application of this approach, Roller presents two
case studies. The first is Octavians reactivation of the memory of Gaius
Duilius as he refers to Duilius rostral column in his own monument to
8 yelena baraz and christopher s. van den berg

the Naulochos victory. Roller shows that Octavians procedure to a large

extent follows the patterns familiar from studies of poetic intertextuality.
The second is Augustus building of the porticus of Livia after razing the
house of the unpopular Vedius Pollio. This erasure of the source text,
whose memory is then preserved as a paratext in a different medium
wordshas no analogy in the textual domain. Rollers thought provoking
inter-media experiment closes the volume by inviting us to widen the
application of the familiar theoretical approach to embrace sign systems
other than texts and to allow what we discover there to influence the
evolution of intertextuality.25

Princeton University

Amherst College

We wish to thank the contributors for their stimulating articles, the referees for
their prompt and constructive reports, and the editor of AJP for helping us see this venture
to completion. We are also grateful to Joshua T. Katz and Christina S. Kraus for their com-
ments on various drafts of this introduction.