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Chapter4

Intertextuality:HowTextsRelyonOtherTexts1
CharlesBazerman
UniversityofCaliforniaatSantaBarbara
From:What Writing Does and How It Does It, Ed. Bazerman & Paul
Prior. Erlbaum, 2004.

Almosteverywordandphraseweusewehaveheardorseenbefore.Our
originalityandcraftaswriterscomefromhowweputthosewordstogetherinnewways
tofitourspecificsituation,needs,andpurposes,butwealwaysneedtorelyonthe
commonstockoflanguagewesharewithothers.Ifwedidnotsharethelanguage,how
wouldothersunderstandus?Oftenwedonotcallattentiontowherespecificallywegot
ourwordsfrom.Oftenthewordsweusearesocommontheyseemtocomefrom
everywhere.Atothertimeswewanttogivetheimpressionthatthatwearespeakingas
individualsfromourindividuality,concernedonlywiththeimmediatemoment.
Sometimeswejustdontrememberwhereweheardsomething.Ontheotherhand,at
timeswedowanttocallattentiontowherewegotthewordsfrom.Thesourceofthe
wordsmayhavegreatauthority,orwemaywanttocriticizethosewords.Wemaywant
totelladramaticstoryassociatedwithparticularpeoplewithdistinctiveperspectivesina
particulartimeandplace.Andwhenwereadorlistentoothers,weoftendontwonder
wheretheirwordscomefrom,butsometimeswestarttosensethesignificanceofthem
echoingwordsandthoughtsfromoneplaceoranother.Analyzingthoseconnections
helpsusunderstandthemeaningofthetextmoredeeply.
Wecreateourtextsoutoftheseaofformertextsthatsurroundus,theseaof
languagewelivein.Andweunderstandthetextsofotherswithinthatsamesea.
Sometimesaswriterswewanttopointtowherewegotthosewordsfromandsometime
wedont.Sometimesasreadersweconsciouslyrecognizewherethewordsandwaysof
usingwordscomefromandatothertimestheoriginjustprovidesanunconsciously
sensedundercurrent.Andsometimesthewordsaresomixedanddispersedwithinthe
sea,thattheycannolongerbeassociatedwithaparticulartime,place,group,orwriter.
Nonetheless,theseaofwordsalwayssurroundseverytext.
Therelationeachtexthastothetextssurroundingit,wecallintertextuality.
Intertextualanalysisexaminestherelationofastatementtothatseaofwords,howituses
thosewords,howitpositionsitselfinrespecttothoseotherwords.Theremaybemany
reasonsforanalyzingtheintertextualityofatext.Wemaywanttounderstandhowa
schooldistrictspolicystatementisdrawingonorspeakingtoeducationalresearchand
politicalcontroversies.Wemaywanttoseehowstudentsintheirwritingareexpressing
knowledgeofwhattheyarelearningfrombiology.Wemaywanttounderstandwhat
techniquesarenecessaryforstudentstocommentintelligentlyandcriticallyonwhatthey
readinhistory.Wemaywanttounderstandhowstudentslearntowritearguments
informedbythebestknowledgeavailable,orwemaywanttoseehowsomepopulartexts
aredeeplypartsofcontemporaryculture.

1
ThankstoBethYeagerforclassroomdata.
Intertextuality 2

Learningtoanalyzeintertextualitywillhelpyoupickthroughthewayswriters
drawothercharactersintotheirstoryandhowtheypositionthemselveswithinthese
worldsofmultipletexts.Itwillhelpyouseewhatsourcesresearchersandtheoristsbuild
onandwhichtheyoppose.Itwillhelpyouidentifytheideas,research,andpolitical
positionsbehindpolicydocuments.Itwillhelpyouidentifywhatstudentsknowabout
negotiatingthecomplexworldoftexts,whattheyhaveyettolearn,andhowtheirneed
forparticularintertextualskillswillvarydependingonthetaskstheyareaddressing.
Finallyitwillhelpyouseehowstudentsandschoolsarethemselvesrepresented,made
senseof,andgivenidentitythroughintertextualresourcesthatcharacterizestudentsand
schools.

AnExample
Togiveyouaconcretesenseofhowintertextualityworks,considerthefollow
openingofasectionfromEducationWeekofOctober5,2000onthecurrentstateofthe
MiddleSchool.

TheWeakLink
ByAnnBradleyandKathleenKennedyManzo

Themiddlegradesarefeelingthesqueeze.Forthepast30yearsand
withparticularintensitysincethelate1980seducatorshavelaboredtocreate
distinctivemiddleschools,whosemissionistoattendtoyoungadolescents
social,emotional,andphysicalneedsaswellastheirintellectualdevelopment.
Yetbothproponentsofthemiddleschoolmodelandcriticsofthe
approachrecognizethattoomanysuchschoolshavefailedtofindtheiracademic
way.Instead,theoriginalconcepthasbeenunderminedbyillpreparedteachers
guidedbyilldefinedcurricula.
Middleleveleducationisnowsquarelyonthedefensive.Thestandards
andaccountabilitymovementisplacingunprecedenteddemandsonthemiddle
grades,typically68.Sofar,middleschoolsdonthavemuchtoboastaboutwhen
itcomestostudentachievement.
Thespotlighthasbeenparticularlyharshsince1996,whentheThird
InternationalMathematicsandScienceStudy[TIMSS]wasreleased.WhileU.S.
elementarystudentsscoredaboveaverage,middleandhighschoolstudents
scoreslagged.ThestudyfaultedtheAmericancurriculumforbeingamilewide
andaninchdeep.
TheNationalAssessmentofEducationalProgress[NAEP]andmoststate
testsrevealsimilarpatterns,withminoritystudentstendingtofareevenworse.
Themiddleschoolisthecruxofthewholeproblemandreallythepoint
wherewebegintoloseit,saysWilliamH.Schmidt,aprofessorofeducationat
MichiganStateUniversityandtheU.S.coordinatorforTIMSS.Inmathand
science,themiddlegradesareanintellectualwasteland.
Bazerman 3

Thearticledoesnthaveafragmentaryquotationuntiltheendofthefourth
paragraphandafullquotedsentenceuntilthesixth,yetfromthebeginningitcreatesan
intertextualwebofstatementsthatplacemiddleschoolsinthemiddleofacontroversy
anddefineparticularproblemsthatmiddleschoolsneedtoaddress.Thefirstparagraphin
settingoutthemovementthatcreatedthecurrentconceptandpracticeofmiddleschools
evokesthemanydiscussions,philosophicalstatements,developmentalstudies,policy
papers,schoolbondinitiatives,missionstatements,curricularguidelines,training
documents,parentalinformationsheetsandmyriadotherdocumentswhichguidedand
madereal,andcarriedontheworkofthemiddleschoolaroundthewholechildconcept.
Thesecondparagraph,againwithoutidentifyingparticularclimate,evokesan
extensiveatmosphereofcontroversybetweenproponentsandcritics.Furtherit
passesjudgmentoncertaincurriculaandtraining(whichrestonplansandmaterials)as
inadequate.Thereisalsotheimpliedhintofstudiesorreportsthatdefinitivelyestablish
theinadequacyoftrainingandcurricula,sothatitisimpliedthatbothproponentsand
criticswouldagreetotheinadequacyastherootcauseofschoolshavingfailedtofind
theiracademicway.Thus,ingenerallanguagetheparagraphnotonlyestablishesa
controversybutspecifiesaproblemandrootcausesthatallstatementsonbothsideshave
alreadyagreedto.
Thethirdparagraphaddsanotherintertextualcontextforthepressureonmiddle
schools:thestandardsandaccountabilitymovement.Thisevokesthepoliticalbattles
overeducationinmanystatesandthenation,aswellasparticularlegislativeinitiatives
undertakeninthenameofstandardsandaccountability.Thefourththroughsixth
paragraphsthenalightonparticulartests,theirresults,andstatementsinterpretingthem
toestablishwithsocialscientificcertitudethatthereisaspecificproblemwiththemiddle
schools.Itisonlyafterallthispreparationthatwegetadirectandforcefulquoted
statementtodrivehomethepointinthesixthparagraph.
Thejournalistshavecreatedadramaofamovementanditscritics,supportedby
scientificstudiestodefineaproblemandtakeasideinthecontroversy.Thejournalists
seemtobeadoptinganeutral,objectivevoiceofsimplyreportingonascontroversy,but
theyhaveassembledthecharactersandrecountedthetalesoastofocustheissueand
thenputthewordsofonepowerfulcriticattheclimax.Thereportersusethevoicesof
thepeopleandgroupstheyreportontotelltheirstoryasmuchasanovelistuses
charactersoraventriloquistusesdummies.OfcourseiftheirwerentaTIMSSora
NAEPwiththeirresultsorprominentacademicsmakingstatementsthereporterswould
nothavehadpowerfulresourcestotelltheirstory,norwouldtheyhavelikelytohave
cometothesameconclusions.Yetofthemanywaystheseandotherpotentialmaterials
couldhavebeenusedtocreateanoverallstatementandpositionofthisarticle,the
authors/reporterschosethisparticularwayofputtingthevoicestogetherinastory.

BasicConcepts
Intertextuality.Theexplicitandimplicitrelationsthatatextorutterancehasto
prior,contemporaryandpotentialfuturetexts.Throughsuchrelationsatextevokesa
representationofthediscoursesituation,thetextualresourcesthatbearonthesituation,
andhowthecurrenttextpositionsitselfanddrawsonothertexts.Whilethisisnowa
Intertextuality 4

widelyrecognizedphenomenon,thereisnotastandardsharedanalyticvocabularyfor
consideringtheelementsandkindsofintertextuality.ThetermsIintroducebelowarean
attempttocapturekeydimensionsandaspectsofintertextuality.
Levelsofintertextuality.Forpurposesofanalysiswemaydistinguishthe
differentlevelsatwhichatextexplicitlyinvokesanothertextandreliesontheothertext
asaconsciousresource.
1.Thetextmaydrawonpriortextsasasourceofmeaningstobeusedatface
value.Thisoccurswheneveronetexttakesstatementsfromanothersourceas
authoritativeandthenrepeatsthatauthoritativeinformationorstatementforthepurposes
ofthenewtext.InaU.S.SupremeCourtdecision,passagesfromtheU.S.Constitution
canbecitedandtakenasauthoritativegivens,eventhoughtheapplicationtothecaseat
handmaybeargued.Intheexamplediscussedabove,thetitleofthenewsarticleThe
WeakLinkinvokesandtakesatfacevaluetheoldadagethatachainisonlyasstrong
asitsweakestlink.
2.Thetextmaydrawexplicitsocialdramasofpriortextsengagedindiscussion.
Whenanewspaperstory,forexample,quotesopposingviewsofSenators,teachers
unions,communityactivistgroups,andreportsfromthinktanksconcerningacurrent
controversyoverschoolfunding,theyportrayanintertextualsocialdrama.The
newspaperreportisshapingastoryofopponentslockedinpoliticalstruggle.That
strugglemayinfactpreexistthenewspaperstoryandtheopponentsmaybeusingthe
newspaperstogettheirviewacrossaspartofthatstruggle;nonetheless,thenewspaper
bringsthestatementssidebysideinadirectconfrontation.
3.Textmayalsoexplicitlyuseotherstatementsasbackground,support,and
contrast.Wheneverastudentcitesfiguresfromanencyclopedia,usesnewspaperreports
toconfirmevents,orusesquotationsfromaworkofliteraturetosupportananalysis,
theyareusingsourcesinthisway.Intheexampleabove,thereportersusetheTIMSS
andNAEPdatatobackuptheirassertionabouttroublesofmiddleschools.
4.Lessexplicitlythetextmayrelyonbeliefs,issues,ideas,statementsgenerally
circulatedandlikelyfamiliartothereaders,whethertheywouldattributethematerialto
aspecificsourceorwouldjustunderstandascommonknowledge.Theconstitutional
guaranteesoffreedomofspeech,may,forexample,liebehindanewspapereditorialona
controversialopinionexpressedbyacommunityleader,withoutanyspecificmentionof
theConstitution.Thenewsarticlediscussedabovereliesonthemiddleschoolmission
toattendtoyoungadolescentssocial,emotional,andphysicalneeds.Thisphrase
reliesmostdirectlyonfamiliardiscussionsabouthowschoolscanservethewholechild,
callsforschoolsandotherinstitutionstodealwiththeproblemsofyouth,and
journalistic,academic,andpolicypresentationsofschoolprogramsthatsucceedandfail.
Thestatementmoreindirectlyreliesoncommonandoftrestatedbeliefsaboutthe
difficulttransitionsofadolescentsaswellasfictional,journalisticallyembellished,and
honestlyfactualaccountsoftroubledyouthandyouthviolence.
5.Byusingcertainimplicitlyrecognizablekindsoflanguage,phrasing,and
genres,everytextevokesparticularsocialworldswheresuchlanguageandlanguage
formsareused,usuallytoidentifythattextaspartofthoseworlds.Thisbook,for
example,useslanguagerecognizablyassociatedwiththeuniversity,research,and
Bazerman 5

textbooks.Intheexampleabove,paragraphbyparagraphthenewsarticlemovesus
throughtheworldsofschoolandadministrativepolicy,politicalcontention,statistical
analysis,andcontentiouspolicydebate.
6.Justbyusinglanguageandlanguageforms,atextreliesontheavailable
resourcesoflanguagewithoutcallingparticularattentiontotheintertext.Everytext,all
thetime,reliesontheavailablelanguageoftheperiod,andispartoftheculturalworldof
thetimes.Intheexamplenewsreport,theopeningsentencereliesonfamiliaritywiththe
middlegradesconcept,whichcameoutofthemidtwentiethcenturymovementto
createmiddleschools.Italsoreliesonfamiliaritywiththeidiomaticphrasefeelingthe
squeezewhichhaditsoriginsinunderworldlanguageandthenworkeditswayinto
sportsandbusiness.
Techniquesofintertextualrepresentation.Theselevelsofintertextualitycan
berecognizedthroughcertaintechniquesthatrepresentthewordsandutterancesof
others,startingwiththemostexplicit:
1.directquotation.Usuallyidentifiedbyquotationmarks,blockindentation,
italics,orothertypographicsettingapartfromtheotherwordsofthetext.Whilethe
wordsmaybeentirelythoseoftheoriginalauthor,however,itisimportanttoremember
thatthesecondauthor,inquotingthewriting,hascontroloverexactlywhichwordswill
bequoted,thepointsatwhichthequotewillbesnipped,andthecontextitwillbeused
in.
2.indirectquotation.Thisusuallyspecifiesasourceandthenattemptsto
reproducethemeaningoftheoriginalbutinwordsthatreflecttheauthors
understanding,interpretation,orspinontheoriginal.Indirectquotationfiltersthe
meaningthroughthesecondauthorswordsandattitudeandallowsthemeaningstobe
morethoroughlyinfusedwiththesecondwriterspurpose.
3.mentioningofaperson,documentorstatements.Mentioningadocumentor
authorreliesonthereadersfamiliaritywiththeoriginalsourceandwhatitsays.No
detailsofmeaningarespecified,sothesecondwriterhasevengreateropportunityto
implywhatheorshewantsabouttheoriginalortorelyongeneralbeliefsaboutthe
originalwithouthavingtosubstantiatethem,asthenewsreportersdowithrespectto
proponentsandcritics.
4.commentorevaluationonastatement,text,orotherwiseinvokedvoice.
ThereportersintheexampleaboveacceptastruthfulanddefinitivetheTIMSSand
NAEPstudies,althoughtheyhavebeeninfactcriticized.Theyalsoseetheoriginal
conceptunderminedandtheypassjudgmentoncurriculaasilldefined.
5.usingrecognizablephrasing,terminologyassociatedwithspecificpeopleor
groupsofpeopleorparticulardocuments.Intheexamplearticle,WilliamSchmidt
criticizesmiddlegrademathandscienceeducationbythephraseanintellectual
wastelandthatrecallsNewtonMinnowsfamousstatementofthesixtiescalling
televisionavastintellectualwasteland.Thisechonotonlyevokesmajorpublic
controversyovereducationalissues,butalsoimplicitlysuggeststhatmiddleschool
educationhasnomorevaluethantelevisionasaneducationaltool.
6.usinglanguageandformsthatseemtoechocertainwaysof
communicating,discussionsamongotherpeople,typesofdocuments.Genre,kinds
Intertextuality 6

ofvocabulary(orregister),stockphrases,patternsofexpressionmaybeofthissort.The
reportersoftheexamplearticleclearlyarewritingwithintheformsofjournalismover
publicpolicycontroversies.Andasmentionedpreviouslythelanguageofthatarticle
bringsusthroughworldsofeducationalplanning,politicalmovements,statistical
evaluation,andpolicycontroversy.
Usuallythemostexplicitpurposesandformalexpressionsofintertextuality(those
atthetopoftheprevioustwolists)aremosteasilyrecognizableandthereforemosteasily
analyzable.Itiswiththesemoreexplicitformswewillintroduceintertextualanalysis
here,andonlysuggestthepossibilitiesforexaminationofthemoreimplicitformsof
intertextuality.
Intertextualdistanceorreach.Intertextualrelationsarealsousuallymosteasily
recognizablewhenthetextualborrowingsinvolvesomedistanceintime,space,culture,
orinstitution.Phrasesthatarecommonandunremarkableinsportssuchassteppingup
totheplatejustpartoftheordinarywayoftalkingthateveryonesharesbecomeabit
remarkablewhentheystartappearinginpoliticalcontexts,suchaswhena
congresspersontalksaboutthecouragetotakeastandonanissuebytalkingabout
steppinguptotheplate.Thisphrase,usedmetaphorically,cansignalusthatthe
politicalsituationisbeingviewedlikeasportingeventandthatthestandingupfora
positionisbeingviewedasanindividualcompetitiveperformance.Itwouldbeeven
morelikelytobenoticedandremarkedonifthetermturnedupinapieceoflegislation.
Howfaratexttravelsforitsintertextualrelationswecancalltheintertextualreach.
Oftenadocumentdrawsonbitsoftextthatappearearlierinthetext,echoingand
buildingonit,inwhatwemightcallintratextualreference.Atextcanreachabit
farther,butstayinalimiteddomainwhenacompanymemoreferstoandrelieson
previousmemofromthecompanyonthesamecase.Wemightcallthisintrafile
intertextuality.Interestingquestionsrelyonthewaytextswithinafileorother
collectionpulltogethertomakearepresentationofacaseorsubjectwemightcallsuch
aphenomenontheintertextualcollection.Aclassroommightequallycreateafairly
closedworldofclassroomintertextuality,betweenthelectures,thetextbook,
assignmentsheets,classdiscussion,andstudentexamsandpapers.Classroom
intertextualitybroadensasstudentsandteachersbringoutsidereadingtobear,referto
othercourses,startdiscussingapplicationstoissuesfoundinthenewspapersortelevision
documentaries.Someresearchdisciplinesarefairlycontained,relyingonlyonan
explicitdisciplinaryintertextuality(althoughtheremaybeunnoticedrelianceonother
fields),whileothershaveamuchlargerinterdisciplinaryreach,andthosehaveabroader
interdisciplinaryintertextuality.
Outsideoftheacademicdisciplinaryworld,wemightspeakofintracorporateor
intraindustryintertextuality,butagainthereachmaybroadenintointrasystem
intertextuality,if,forexample,corporatedocumentsattendtolargercorporatepolicies,
governmentlawandregulations,documentsofothercompanies,economicpredictions,
consumercultureandsoon.
Bazerman 7

Finallyweshouldnoticeintermediality,whentheresourceorreferencemoves
fromonemediumtoanother,aswhentalk,ormovies,ormusicisalludedtoinawritten
text.
Translationacrosscontexts/recontextualization.Eachtimesomeoneelses
words,orwordsfromonedocumentoranotherpartofthesamedocument,areusedina
newcontext,theearlierwordsarerecontextualized,andtherebygivennewmeaningin
thenewcontext.Sometimestherecontextualizationgoesunnoticedastheearlier
meaningsarenotfarfromthemeaninginthenewcontext.Sometimes,however,theshift
issignificantaswhenthenameofamedicalprocedure,developedamongsurgeonsand
usedwithinhospitalsgetsbroughtupinfinancialdiscussionswithinsurancecompanies,
whentheprocedurethenbecomesamatterofcostsandwhowillpay.Whentheterm
travelstodiscussionofmedicalethicsittakesonnewmeaningsandconcerns.Thenthe
sametermwhenputintoapublicdebateovermedicalpolicycomestocarryahostof
othermeanings,particularlywhentheproceduremayinvolvereproductiverightsorsome
similarlycontroversialissues.
Sometimestherecontextualizationmayalsoputthewordsintoalessfriendlyor
morecriticalcontext,orsomecontextthatcommentson,evaluates,orputstheother
wordsatadistance.Anopponentofanabortionrightsactmaycallitthesocalled
reproductivechoiceact.Thephrasesocalledsignalsacriticismofthewayhis
opponentsusethewordchoice.Intalkingwithhisfriendsateenagermaymockhis
teachersjustbyrepeatingtheirfavoritephrasesusinganoddtoneofvoice.The
philosopherinascholarlybook,byidentifyingasetofideasasLockestheoryofthe
sensesholdsthoseideasupforexaminationandpossiblecriticism.Insuch
recontextualizationsthecurrentauthortakesastance,adoptsanattitude,commentson,or
evaluatestheoriginalwords.Wemightcallsuchrecontextualizationsintertextual
comment.
Finallywithinspecificgenres(seeChapter11)theremaybetypicalandexpected
patternsofintertextuality.Forexamples,asJohnSwales(1990)hasshown,inresearch
articleintroductions,authorscitethepreviousliteraturetoestablishthataproblemexists
andwhatisknown,andthentoidentifyaneedednewkindofstudynotcoveredbythe
previouswork.Thisdefinitionofthelimitsofpreviousresearchcreatestheresearch
spaceofthenewwork.
Anotherexampleofgenericallyexpectedintertextualityoccursinthenewsstory
aboutacontroversialissue,whereyoucanexpectquotationsfrompeopleonopposite
sidesoftheissue,orthenewspaperstoryaboutadisasterwhereyoucanexpect
quotationsfromwitnessesorvictims.

Methodologicalissues
Aswithanyformofresearchandanalysisthefirstandmostimportanttaskis
knowingwhyyouareengagedintheenterpriseandwhatquestionsyouhopeto
answerbyit.Intertextualanalysismight,forexample,helpyouidentifywhichrealmof
utterancesanauthorreliesonandhow,orhowanauthortriestoensurethereaderssee
thesubjectthroughacertainsetoftexts,orhowanauthortriestopositionhimselfor
herselfinrelationtootherswhohavemadestatements,ortounderstandhowaresearcher
Intertextuality 8

isattemptingtocharacterize,relyonandadvancepriorworkinherandrelatedfields,or
tounderstandhowstudentsareassimilatinganddevelopingasyntheticorcritical
understandingofsubjectmaterials.Althoughonemaybeginwithbroadexploratory
questionsthesooneronecandeterminewhatoneislookingfor,themoreonecanrefine
onesanalysissoastoprobemoredeeplyintothematerial.
Onceyouknowwhatyouarelookingforandwhy,thenexttaskistoidentifythe
specifictextsyouwanttoexamine,makingthemextensiveenoughtoprovide
substantialevidenceinmakingclaims,butnottoobroadtobecomeunmanageable.
Oftenintertextualanalysisisquiteintensive,soonemaylimitonesstudytoasingle
shorttext,atleastatfirst,tofocusonesinquiry.However,ifyoudecidetousevery
visibleandobviousmarkersofintertextuality,suchasconsideringonlytheworkscited
listtoseewhichauthorssomeindividualorgroupsrelyon,thanyoumightbeabletodo
abroadquantitativestudyonalargecorpus.Afterdoinganintensivepilotstudyona
smalltextyoumayhaveidentifiedasmallsetofeasilyidentifiablefeaturesthatare
relevanttoyourquestionandyouwanttofocuson,soyoumaythenmovetoamore
extensivestudy.Butrememberifyoumovetomoreextensiveanalysis,donottryto
answerquestionsthatrequiredetailedintensiveanalysis.
Havingidentifiedyourcorpusthenextstepistoidentifythetracesofother
textsthatyouwishtoconsider.Thisismosteasilydonewhenyouwishtoexamine
explicitovertreferencestootherauthors,asrevealedindirectquotationorformal
scholarlyreferencesorworkscitedlists.
Ifyouareworkingwithexplicitreferencesyoumightunderlineorhighlighteach
suchreferenceinthetextandthencreatealistofallinstances,leavingopenadjoining
columnstoaddinfurtherobservationsandinterpretations.Youmightinthenextcolumn
listhowitisexpressedwhetherthroughadirectquotation,indirectquotationorjust
paraphraseordescriptionbutstillattributed.Theninthenextcolumnyoumaybegin
interpretingtheintertextuality,makingcommentsonhoworforwhatpurposethe
intertextualelementisbeingusedinthenewtext.
Thenfromthesebasicfacts,youmaystartmakingobservationsand
interpretationsbyconsideringthereferenceinrelationtothecontextofwhattheauthor
issayingit.Dependingonthepurposesofyouranalysis,youmightaskwhythewriteris
bringinginthereference,howthepersonreferredtorelatestotheissueorstoryathand,
whetherthewriterisexpressinganyevaluationorattitudetowardtheintertextual
resource,howtheoriginalmayhavebeenexcerptedortransformedtofitinwiththe
authorscurrentconcerns,andwhetherthereferenceislinkedtootherstatementsinthe
textorotherintertextualreferences.
Ifyouranalyticalpurposeleadsyoutolookatunattributedorbackground
intertextuality,youwillneedtolookformoresubtleclues.Somedistinctivewords,well
knownnoworatthetimeoftheoriginalwritingandcirculationofthedocumentcan
suggestthattheauthorwasevokingawholerealmoflanguageandattitudes,soyou
mightlookforsimilarorrelatedwords.Thusifweseeanauthorappealingtothe
inalienablerightsofcitizenswewouldlookinamoreorderlywayforotherwordsand
conceptsechoingtheDeclarationofIndependence.Wemayevenpulloutourcopyto
remindusofallthetermsandconceptswemightsearchfor.
Bazerman 9

Inthesamewayifawordorphraseseemsoutofkeepingwiththegeneraltone,
level,orsetsofwords,wemightbegintoaskwherethesewordscamefrom,whatother
kindofdocumenttheymightreflect,andifthereanyothersimilarborrowingsinthetext.
Againyouwouldthendowelltomakealistofsuchwordsthatevokesome
worldorgrouporactorsoutsidethetext.Theninthesecondcolumnyoumightlistwho
thosewordsevokeandthenhowtheyareusedheretogiveaparticularimpression,then
inafurthercolumnyoumayinterprettheevocativewordsinrelationtothecontextthey
areusedin.
Whateverthefocusofyouranalysis,fromyourexamplesyoushouldstart
lookingforapatternfromwhichyoustartdevelopingconclusions,whichagainwould
dependonthepurposeofyourexamination.Ifyouraimistoexaminehowtheauthor
coordinatesintertextualelementsintoasinglecoherentstatement,yourfocuswillbeon
thetechniquestheauthorusestodrawthevoicesofothersintothecentralargumentand
relatethemtoeachotherthroughtheoverallperspectivebeingdeveloped.Ifyouraimis
toexaminethedegreeofmanipulationintheintertextualborrowing,youmaywishto
consulttheoriginalsourcesandcomparetheoriginalpresentationtothewaythenew
authorrepresentshisorhersources.

AppliedAnalyses
Themostvisibleintertextualityoccurswhenpeoplecommentonsomeothers
words,astheyfrequentlyhavetodoinschoolassignments.Inafifthgradeclass,for
example,whichwasassignedtowriteresponsestoRayBradburysstoryAllSummerin
aDay,astudentreferredtothefollowingpassagefromthestory:

Andtheyhadwrittensmallstoriesoressaysaboutit.
IthinkthesunisaFlower
Thatbloomsforjustonehour.
ThatwasMargotspoem,readinaquietvoiceinthestillclassroomwhilethe
rainwasfallingoutside.
Aw,youdidntwritethat!protestedoneoftheboys.

Onestudent,C.,quotesthelinesdirectly,andthenrephrasesthemeaninginapersonal
waytoexplainhowheconnectstothefeelingsofthecharacter.

...Ithinkshefeltreally,reallybad,asmuchasIdid,becauseshecouldjust
rememberthesun.Shewroteinherpoem,Ithinkthatthesunisaflowerthat
bloomsforjustonehour.Thatlinemademethinkofabeautifulflowerthat
bloomsforjustonehour.

ThequotationandthepersonalrephrasingofwhatisevokedinhisimaginationbringsC.
intorelationwiththemeaningsofthetextandarticulatesabondoffeelingforthe
character.Inhiscommentary,C.alignshimselfverycloselytothecharacterMargot.
Anotherstudentinanotheryear,writingaboutthesamestory,referencesthesame
passage,buttomakeadifferentpointandadoptadifferentpositionwithrespecttothe
Intertextuality 10

characterandstory.ThestudentR,tosupportherclaimthatthewayMargotwas
treatedinthestorywasnotnice,drawsinferencesaboutbehaviorsdescribedinthe
story.

Isaythatbecauseofthewaythekidsweretreatingher,likewhenMargotwrote
herpoem:Ithinkthesunislikeaflowerthatbloomsforjustonehour.Akiddid
notlikeherjustbecausesherememberedthesunandhewasjealous.Hetoldher
thatshedidnotwritethepoem.

R,inadditiontoquotingthecoupletfromthestoryalsoparaphrasesanadditionalline
abouttheresponseofoneboy;shealsomakesaninterpretivestatementtyingthetwo
statementsandcharacterstogetherinanemotionaldrama,whichshehasthenframedin
anevaluationoftheboysbehavior.Indoingsoshedoesdonemorethanextractand
sympathizewithonecharactersthought;shehasmadejudgmentsaboutthemeaningand
moralityofbothwordsandeventsportrayedinthestory.Shealsohasattributedmeaning
tomorethanthewordsofoneortwocharactersshehasattributedmeaningtothe
authorofthestorywhohascreatedthedramaticincident.(DatacollectedbyBeth
Yaeger).

Conclusion
Thisclassroomexamplealongwiththeearlierjournalisticexamplestrikingly
displaythatintertextualityisnotjustamatterofwhichothertextsyoureferto,but
howyouusethem,whatyouusethemfor,andultimatelyhowyoupositionyourself
asawritertothemtomakeyourownstatement.Peoplecandevelopadeptlycomplex
andsubtlyskilledwaysofbuildingonthewordsofothers.Suchcomplexintertextual
performancesaresofamiliarwehardlynoticethem.

ForFurtherReading
Thebestoverviewofintertextualityfromtheperspectiveofliterarytheoryis
GrahamAllen(2000),Intertextuality.AllenprovidesaroadmaptotheoristsVladimir
Volosinov,MikhailBakhtin,JuliaKristevaKristeva,RolandBarthes,andGerard
Gennete,largelyframedaroundthequestionoforiginalityoftextsandtheirdependence
onanexistingdiscursivefield.Volosinovs(1986)MarxismandthePhilosophyof
Languageisthemostfoundationalofthetheoreticalworks.Notlimitedtoliterary
concerns,itexamineshowallutterancesarelocatedwithinandtakeattitudestowarda
socialfield.Genettesworksareworthconsultingforhisdistinctionsofthevarious
relationsonetextmayadoptwithrespecttoothertexts(whathecallsthetexts
transtextuality):intertextuality(explicitquotationorallusion),paratextuality(therelation
todirectlysurroundingtexts,suchasprefaces,interviews,publicity,reviews),
metatextuality(acommentaryrelation),hypertextuality(theplayofonetextoffof
anotherfamiliartext),andarchitextuality(genericexpectationsinrelationtoothersimilar
texts).HeoffersdetailedanalysesofliterarytextsinrelationtothesecategoriesinThe
Architext(1992),Palimpsests(1997a),andParatexts(1997b).JackSelzer(1993)
providesabrieferintroductiontoliterarytheoreticalapproachestointertextualityand
Bazerman 11

beginstoputtheliteraryissuesinrelationtorhetoricalinvestigation,asdoesJimPorter
(1986).
Exemplarrhetoricalanalysesofhowintertextualityisconcretelyusedinnon
literarytextsarebyAmyDevitt;CarolBerkenkotter,TomHuckinandJamesAckerman;
andCharlesBazerman(1991,1993).Devitts(1991)studyofthewritingoftax
accountantsrevealsthatalthoughallthegenrestaxaccountantsworkrelyonandhave
strongintertextualconnectionswiththelegaltaxcode,thoseintertextualconnectionsare
displayedanduseddifferently.Forexample,lettersoftaxprotesttotheInternalRevenue
Serviceatechnicaldiscussionoftheinterpretationofspecificpartsofthetaxpublications
areinorder.Lettersofresponsetoclientsonlyhaveoccasionalmentionofreference
numbersinthetaxcodetoindicatethattheaccountantsviewisbasedonlaw,butthe
bodyoftheopinionispresentedastheaccountantsadvice,althoughwecanassumethat
awarenessofthelawisimplicitthroughout.Inalldocumentsexacttermsandphrases
fromthetaxcodeareusedwithoutquotation,becausethosetermstakeonauthoritative,
technical,andconsistentmeaning;however,quotationmarksareusedattimesfor
specificrhetoricaleffect.Berkenkotter,Huckin,andAckerman(1991)havestudiedhow
agraduatestudentlearnstousetheliteratureofhisdisciplineinwaysapprovedbythe
professorsandthendevelopsapositionfromwhichtodiscussandcontributetothat
literature.Thestudent,inlearninghowtoappropriatelyrepresenttheintertextualfield
andindevelopingastrategyforrepresentinghisownworkinrelationtothefieldalso
developshisownprofessionalidentityanddirectionforhiswork.Bazerman(1991)
examinestheoriginofmodernreviewoftheliteratureandcitationpracticesinscienceby
lookingatthewritingpracticesandsocialbeliefsofJosephPriestley,whosawthat
attendingtotheaggregateexperienceofhumankindwasnecessaryforadvancing
knowledge.Bazerman(1993)comparestherhetoricalpresentationofcitedmaterialsin
anunusualmodernscientificarticletothetextsoftheoriginalarticlestouncovertheway
inwhichthetwocoauthorsconstructtheintertextualfieldtopositiontheirown
argumentasapowerfulantidotetomistakendirectionstakenbytheirdiscipline.
ThelinguistPerLinell(1998)andtheessaysthatfollowinthespecialissueof
Textprovidethemostextensiveexaminationoftheissueoftransformationthrough
recontextualizationinanewtext.JohnSwalespresentshiswellknownmodelofhowthe
introductionsofscientificpaperslocatethemselveswithinintertexts.Bazermans
textbookTheInformedWriter(1995)inthechapterAnalyzingtheManyVoicesin
Writingprovidesfurtherdetailedadviceforwritinganessayanalyzingthe
intertextualityofapieceofwriting.

Activities
1.AnAcademicArticle
Locatearesearchorscholarlyarticleforyourownfield.Analyzehowthearticleuses,
buildson,takesapositionwithrespectto,andaddstopriorpublications.

2.News
a.Analyzeashortnewspaperstorytoexaminehowitcreatesasocialdramaandformsa
journalisticstandpointbythewayitorganizesitsrepresentationofwordsofothers.
Intertextuality 12

b.Findashorteditorialpieceonthesametopic.Examinetheintertextualityinthatpiece
andcompareittothatwhichyoufoundinthenewsstory.

3.ASchoolEssay
Analyzeanundergraduatepaperyouwroteinrelationtothematerialpresentedinthe
lecturesanddiscussions,textbook,assignedreadings,specialreadings,orthingsyoumay
havelearnedbefore.Considerhowyouassembledalltheseresourcestocomeupwith
yourownstatement.Whatpositiondidyoutaketoallthesematerials?Inwhatwaydid
youcreatesomethingnovel?Whatwasyourvalueadded,yourcritical,evaluative,
syntheticcontribution?Inwhatwaymightthosecriticalanalyticalorsyntheticactions
alsohavehadtheirintertextualsources?Towhatextentwastheteacherorreaderofthe
paperconcernedwiththeaccurateportrayalofmaterialinthecourseandtowhatextent
ontheadditionalworkyoudid?