Intertextual Representation: On Mimesis as Interpretive Discourse Author(s): Michael Riffaterre Source: Critical Inquiry, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Sep., 1984), pp.

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Intertextual Representation: On Mimesis as Interpretive Discourse

Michael Riffaterre

If we try to arrive at the simplest and most universally valid definition of the representation of reality in literature, we may dispense with grammatical features such as verisimilitude or with genres such as realism, since these are not universal categories. Their applicability depends on historical circumstances or authorial intent. The most economic and general definition, however, must at least include the following two features. First, any representation presupposes the existence of its object outside of the text and preexistent to it. Readers feel, and critics pronounce, that the text's significance depends on this objective exteriority, even though this significance may entail destroying the commonplace acceptance of the object; indeed, negating something still presupposes that something. Second, the reader's response to the mimesis consists in a rationalization tending to verify and complete the mimesis and to expand on it in sensory terms (through visualizations, for instance). The metalanguage of criticism accordingly prolongs and continues the text's mimetic discourse, and critics evaluate representation in terms of its precision and suggestive power. Both processes-presupposition and rationalization alike-assume that referentiality is the basic semantic mechanism of the literary mimesis. There are, however, literary representations almost devoid of descriptive content, or so vague and so skimpy that their object cannot be analyzed or rationalized in sensory terms. Criticism is hard put to explain why readers feel compelled to evaluate them. And yet these texts not only lend themselves to interpretation but they are especially apt to trigger and control the reader's hermeneutic behavior. In short, the
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it is neither a context that may explain the text or its effect on readers. becoming instead the verbal vehicle of an interpretive activity that ends up by making the object subservient to the subject. a syntax with the text we are reading (directly or indirectly) in the form of synonyms or. Similarly. We must be clear that intertext does not signify a collection of literary works that may have influenced the text or that the text may have imitated. Intertextvs. the privilege of a good memory or a classical education. is the editor of Romantic Review. . necessary to any textual decoding. Intertextuality necessarily complements our experience of textuality. in the form of antonyms. nor one that may be used as a basis of comparison to point out the author's originality. textual fragments. that the text does not Michael Riffaterre. or textlike segments of the sociolect that shares a lexicon and. from the verbal to the nonverbal domain. or rather from texts to texts. to a lesser extent. and that intertextuality is the agent both of the mimesis and of the hermeneutic constructions on that mimesis. It is the perception that our reading of the text cannot be complete or satisfactory without going through the intertext. I propose that reference in such cases is from words to words. He is presently working on a book about Anthony Trollope (forthcoming in 1985). intertextuality is not just a perception of homologues or the cultivated reader's apprehension of sameness or difference. "Syllepsis. Some scholars glibly mistake the intertext for sources and seem to think that intertextuality is just a newfangled name for influence or imitation. Intertextuality Let me first anticipate and so avoid possible confusion in my terms. An intertext is a corpus of texts. each member of this corpus is a structural homologue of the text: the depiction of a stormy night may serve as an intertext for a tableau of a peaceful day.2 In addition." appeared in the Summer 1980 issue.142 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation represented object eschews referentiality yet refuses to vanish altogether. crossing the trackless sands of the desert may be the intertext of furrowing the briny deep. The term indeed refers to an operation of the reader's mind. Intertextuality is not a felicitous surplus. In contrast. but it is an obligatory one. University Professor at Columbia University.' Critics fail to explain this paradox because they stick to referentiality as the only law governing representation and assume that the reference on which the mimesis is based is from words to things. His previous contribution to Critical Inquiry. even conversely.

in French literature till the end of the nineteenth century) to speak plainly. It even presides over the formation of conventional literary language in those periods of literature when aesthetic fashions demand that the mimetic lexicon differ from that of everyday language. and with the overdetermining factor of mythic animation. an image is chosen that will simultaneously be accurate and eschew a prudishness of talk that makes a mere burp unacceptable at the denotative level-an image which ignores the connotative stigma of any literal or figurative eructation. if one prefers Neptunian examples. gargoyles and fountain lions vomit water. In a given poem. Representation is thus the stronger because it is out of the ordinary and because it demands of the reader special tolerance of impropriety that only the extraordinary legitimates and that we significantly call poetic license.5 Intertextual mimesis assumes one of two types according to whether the text represents reality by resorting to an intertext incompatible with that reality. or volcanoes erupting. for that matter.3 Mimetic Displacement This detour through an intertext is a widespread phenomenon affecting genres as well as individual works. cannons vomit fire.4 But the basic selection depends on the opposition principle of intertextuality. Literary language chose instead a verb that propriety excluded from everyday language. it would not do in English literature of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (or. That vomit of all things should have been singled out to become a literary stereotype manifests intertextuality in its utmost power. under certain verbal conditions. . The choice of the Latinate form is a function of artifice (although at a secondary stage. fuliginous ones). water gurgling from ornamental figurehead spouts. as a variant of "vomit. or. To represent cannons firing. and the connotations of which would seem a fortiori to exclude it from lofty ornamental discourse: in literature. Artifice. represented without eliciting such a dual perception. a peaceful as the contrary of a stormy day will make sense-literary sense-only in opposition to countless depictions where day and peace are night. volcanoes vomit lava and ashes. and without our feeling a need for it. The intertext it conjures up belongs to the realm of the disgusting (Ekel) that Kant finds so overwhelmingly unbearable as to exclude any aesthetically acceptable representation."we find in literature guns belchingup fiery clouds. and smokestacks. or whether the text represents reality by negating an intertext compatible with that reality. is the generating agent of this practice. of course.Critical Inquiry 1984 September 143 signify unless as a function of a complementary or contradictory intertextual homologue.

"the poem attempts to make words do what a painting can do: to make us see not a vaguelygeneralized barrow in vaguely-generalized rain but redness and wheel and glaze and rain and water. the heavily laden first verse contrasts as well with the nakedness of representation where no fancy adjective. more paradoxically yet. that the thing itselfand a lowly one it is-deserves to be looked at. or. Nothing apart from the initial deixis suggests to the reader that he is expected to find pleasure and truth in the intrinsic qualities of the thing depicted. Be this as it may. Such is the case with William Carlos Williams'celebrated wheelbarrow: so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens The poem requires that we take aesthetic pleasure in its unadorned description of the plainest and most pedestrian of farming or gardening tools. It is so emphatically worded ("so much depends / upon") and so violently at odds with any reader's expectations of what might be found beautiful or simply worth describing that one almost suspects a parody or hoax. for instance. the text offers a representation. For example. whereas it should be a mere grammatical link . the fact that "upon"fills out a line and precedes a break between stanzas highlights its spatial suggestiveness. relieves the stark simplicity or even the objectivity of the object.144 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation First Type:Activating the Intertext In the first type. The index or deixis of aesthetic experience is clearly proposed. the literariness of which results from a conflict between the textual mimesis of the object and an intertextual mimesis of the same object that voids or contradicts one or more basic semantic features of the textual one. Its very thingness need only be shown in order that the wheelbarrow attain the announced status of an art object. no elaborate descriptive imagery. According to Winifred Nowottny."6She believes this is accomplished through Williams' emphasis on spatial and color relations. The critics' consensus on the poem is that it achieves its aims-it fulfills the poet's intent by sheer emphasis on the visual properties of the object and by the unusual focus that gives each detail such a separate perceptibility that the object's existence acquires something like an absolute quality.

It never enjoys the occasional literary sheen of a assortment spade or an axe. but there is also something cleaner than both: the very edge of the pen/knife that cuts or delineates these lines. but he. it seems to me. focuses on the cuts. The pressure of an intertext thing-unattached. delicate china. the only barrow ever to be literally glazed. But it does so by showing the barrow not as an object but as the painting of an object. effected by the peculiar lineation. Another instance is in the way the lines cut off normal subordination and restore individuality to the visual and spatial properties of things. Such cuts restore independent." "Glazed" presupposes an artistic object with the finish of fragile. that place things "beside" each other. Our perception of the wheelbarrow is determined by the intertext rather than by the fact that the poem's construction gives us the elemental unmotivated reality. the barrow is an artifact.. of the lowest rank in a farmer's of tools.'1 The representations it evokes are everything that a wheelbarrow emphatically is not. suggests an outward-turned force that excludes or could exclude all but its own presence. here turned inward. will be the extreme of kitsch. full-fledged lexical value to the components of "wheelbarrow" and "rainwater. The cuts are too frequent to create perceptible rhythmic anomalies. nor am I downplaying the impact of cuts not just on syntagms but even on the morphemic integrity of compound words." But this reading is vulnerable: it ceases to work if one hears the poem read aloud without seeing the text. rustic."7 Geoffrey Hartman certainly does not fall into this trap. "Glazed" conjures up a vast intertext of artifacts made with aesthetic intent. is the word "glazed. they remain almost as inert and general as in ordinary contexts.. as the centerpiece of a still . a miniature china one holding a flower or greenery. Of all the knickknacks that may end up on a petty bourgeois mantelpiece. To be sure.9 The real agent of the poem's efficacy. too. avoiding plot or temporal climax.. nor does it play a symbolic role in proverbs as a cart or a plowshare may. moreover. There is meaning.8 I do not deny the power of line cuts. but this is because she yields to the common temptation to equate success in description with sensory richness: "A particularly unfortunate result of this technique is that the word "red"and the word "white" are not given qualitative immediacy. Nowottny criticizes this abstraction. The red wheelbarrow moves us into the forgetfulness of pure perception. and one that no accident of the reading process can alter. constituted by a discourse of the kind attributable to an artist makes thingness just as absolute.Critical Inquiry 1984 September 145 that remains faithful to its grammatical function and is meaningless except in relation to meaningful objects. there is an object focussed on. but a utilitarian one-sturdy. The cutting edge of the caesuras.

But the stars are round cardboard with a tin edge [P. "Glazed" in fact changes the nature of "beside" and makes the latter the spatial index of an artful setup for a painting: we are indeed presented with the wheelbarrow.. . This definition lists its separate parts and a metonym. or of the use of house-painter terminology in a Virginia Woolf landscape. where dawn touches up facades and actually paints into being the houses that night had obliterated. . which are artfully assembled to suggest everyday. . Nor should one think I read too much into "glazed. but not as the object in itself.. rather than being reality itself." for this is not an isolated instance of an intertext of artifact being called upon to undergird a description of exemplary nature. . through an intertext of art and technique. as a painter's rendition of it.. .. natural happenstance. . This function of "glazed"is not unlike that of "gilding"in Shakespeare's picture of the sun "Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy" (sonnet 33). "glazed" is not just a metaphor. Its impact is due not only to the otherness invoked to represent the wheelbarrow. . 58]13 But none is more striking than the poet's description of a rose: . The poem represents nature in its truth through an implicit reference to its opposite. . the farmyard. like the wheelbarrow in Francois Millet's Angelus or in Salvador Dali's parodies of Millet. . are selected from a dictionary-like definition of the tool.. Here the objects.146 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation life. . rather.. for its context..1 If anything. Indeed. Williams repeatedly describes nature by the detour of ostentatious artifice: The Easter stars are shining . . . The whole picture is of a picture of reality. * o Nobody to say itNobody to say: pinholes stars of tinsel from the great end of a cornucopia of glass'2 or. it stems first of all from the fact that it excludes a fundamental seme of the "wheelbarrow" sememe. "glazed"is more powerful in our poem than the metaphors I am comparing it to. .

. . .. .? Sharper.. . 1984 September 147 . infinitely rigid penetrates the Milky Way The fragility of the flower unbruised penetrates space [P. . . neater. the natural rose is depicted by the detour of its intertextual counterpart. Artifice being. moist. a paragon of natural beauty. that an equally exemplary synecdoche of the rose (the fine edge of its petal-the embodiment of the word "rose['s]" most typical semantic features: the flower's utmost delicacy of shape and its frailty) calls forth its imagery from an intertext of metal edges: Somewhere the sense makes copper roses steel rosesIt is at the edge of the petal that love waits . . more cutting figured in majolicathe broken plate glazed with a rose [P.. . 33] . . . . half-raised cold. The edge cuts without cutting . the glazed image of a rose. but the queen of them all. . touching . plucked.'4 Such is the power of this complementarity. or of this change of an opposition into an equivalency. a china plate with a rose pattern. the subject of his poem is an actual rosenot just a flower. . . * * * * . o* ? *. therefore.. precise. . as it were. .. the code conventionally used to represent its opposite. 32] Even though the model used by Williams may have been an artifact. fragile From the petal's edge a line starts that being of steel infinitely fine. But this masterpiece of nature is represented in terms of the artifact.Critical Inquiry The rose is obsolete but each petal ends in an edge... .

The reader's assumption-though he need not make it by a fully conscious process-is that the difficulty he experiences in deciphering the ungrammaticality of a given sign must be pointing to a grammaticality elsewhere. In the example above. the description of these fresh. during the May of the following year. at the level of significance. It is clear that the sentence generated by "salesman" has the same effect as "glazed" in Williams. was I to bring home a branch of apple-blossom from the florist. The narrator of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. equally grammatical (although with different acceptations) on both sides. "flowers between whose snowy cups it seemed almost as thoughit had been the salesman who had."and the two meanings of "edge"-as a blade's and as a fine line.148 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation I have underscored the exemplary nature of this detour of literariness. These are dual signs. I should underscore as well that the text tends to refine the exemplary. in his generosity towards myself. out of his wealth of invention too and as an effective contrast. buys a branch of apple blossoms to reminisce about the apple trees that gave him so much pleasure during his country walks at Combray. added on eitherside the supplement of a becomingcrimsonbud. for example. or to share the pleasure proposed at the narrative level and exemplified at the descriptive level. certain words may invite and facilitate the reader's simultaneous perception of text and intertext. the generic index pointing both to the representation and to the register we must adopt in interpreting and evaluating it. As his memories become stronger and more sensuous. of telling the reader there is a latent intertext at work. Proust then writes. among the semiotic systems of the sociolect and/or among other literary texts. The systematic metonymic or synecdochic exploration of all aspects of the given object becomes an ascending scale of value judgments and for the reader serves as an ordered sequence of invitations to admire further."'6 . Besides the connectors. suggestive of delicate design-a syllepsis that the poem actualizes in an apparent adynaton: "the edge / cuts without cutting."'5 The climax of a praise of natural flowers is reached through an intertext about artificial flowers. These connectors work by triggering presuppositions. and to stay all night long before its flowers. by compelling the reader to recognize that the text makes sense only by reference to meanings found neither within the verbal context nor within the author's idiolect but within an intertext. natural flowers switches from a straight text about their appearance to an intertext of artificiality: "How often in Paris. It does not matter that the former is a syntagm and the latter a lexeme: both are signs which have the primary function." This is the setup for our sharing in the narrator's admiration. these signs are first the ghost word that would embody the phonetic kinship of "petal" and "metal.

wear The beauty of the morning. the title is not topical but generic: it indicates a genre or subgenre. All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. rock. In the first. and temples lie Open unto the fields. At the level of meaning. The painter now comes out into the open field and plants his easel facing his subject. or hill. valley. the ethos of which is. with curtains drawn (or some curtains drawn-he may need a north light). theatres. Ships. where he has been doing nature from memory. domes. never felt. that it defines the object as something to be admired and directs the reader toward decoding rules. But the tableau presented in the poem itself utterly lacks the linear precision and notation of details we are thus led to expect. In the second. as we saw before. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour. but more importantly it suggests that this content is meant to be interpreted. "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge. And all that mighty heart is lying still! 7 The title and the date indicate beyond a doubt that the poem is descriptive and that the poet intended it to be the reflection of an actual contemplative experience. with the aid of intermediaries: other painted landscapes. a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the -very houses seem asleep. and to the sky. the text cannot represent reality without using an intertext that cancels or challenges the very nature of the represented object. the title is a topographical index pointing to a place and identifying the reality the text purports to imitate. bare. like a garment. conversely. . My first example is Wordsworth's much-admired sonnet on London at dawn. his own sketches or those of the masters before him. Ne'er saw I. towers. At the level of significance. silent.Critical Inquiry 1984 September 149 Second Type: Negating the Intertext The second type of intertextual representation is exactly the reverse of the first. The painter has left the studio. This raises two questions: What is the real function of the title? and How does a representation so bare as this represent? The title does point to a content. September 3. the text owes its descriptive power to an intertext that it negates while compelling the reader to remain fully aware of that intertext. 1802": Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth.

a beauty equal to nature's-indeed an obvious lesson.. a paradox only because the mimesis encourages visualization. or on the spur of the experience. Localization transforms (indeed. We get a blurred impression-points of roofs and pinnacles along the skyline. "composed" connotes simultaneity of impression and recording. The lesson we are supposed to learn is that London has beauty. a friend of Wordsworth objected in 1836 to the paradox of a city clothed in bareness. a description is first of all. the perception of a truth now first revealed. For this reason." Standing alone. however. or something other than commonly believed). quickly breaks down: . and sometimes only. Near Dunkeld. a statement of intent and an invitation to the reader to vie with the text and to make the sensory experience his own by developing and building on the written given. It implies immediacy. Whereas at the meaning level it still designates a point in space. This praise of the city. The poet looks at London and sees it as a sort of corpse and admires it as such. Wordsworth writing fresh from the Simplon Pass.'9 Cleanth Brooks remarks that mimetic effectiveness is achieved through means that should by rights be ineffective: The attempt to make a case for the poem in terms of the brilliance of its images . unanimously agreed upon by readers and critics alike. Once modified by a statement of place. at the significance level it now gives a point in time-the flash of perception. surprise at a spectacle (this is something more than expected. worthy of recording. welcomes a death which is the death of what the city has come to stand for in his symbolic world.20 . titles like his "Effusion in the Pleasure-ground on the Banks of the Bran. the drawing of a lesson from this spectacle. so persuasive and so noble. . the sonnet as a whole contains some very flat writing and some well-worn comparisons.. has not been understood. has much puzzled commentators because of its nakedness. Soon the very houses will seem to jabber. subverts) the meaning of "composed. it also implies two reactions in rapid succession: first. hence spontaneous inspiration on the spur of the moment.. and second.150 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation Early Romanticism offers many examples: Shelley gazing from the Euganean hills. all twinkling in the morning light.. the sweet will of the Thames will be soured and harnessed.18 Consequently. As I stated at the beginning. thought-out writing."Again. however. calculated art.. critics could not resist the temptation to add details to the poem: "He caps the London profile with Westminster Bridge." or Victor Hugo's "Dictated in the Presence [his veryphrase] of a Mountain Glacier" ("Dicte en presence du glacier du Rh6ne"). Its semiotic mechanism." Another writes: "The buildings lie open to the field and sky as if they were ruins of their usual selves. and a remarkable one. later on relived over and over again in the writing down and then the reading of its description. and so forth.. this verb denotes studied art. More than that.

22 We have no reason to suspect that these masters of the written word all alike yielded . These are devoid of mimetic power. two possible contraries-easy. theatres. as a personage clothed in particular quality. with its minus sign. So does the word "garment" (1. faire temples. an indirect allusion to the possibility of an allegorical representation of nature. compound sign for "nature."21 necessary by the river: William Blake and Woolf. and spire. or the city. syntagmatic. The three nouns thus summarize an entire landscape and operate together as a multiple. 4) and "glideth" (1."is transcoded into the figurative line 6. second. towers. and that the writing is abstract. 4). within the representational frame of high ground. and temples". running from as far back as Spenser's "High towers." to Browning's "domes and towers and The "ships"in line 6 have been added. In this context. But this does not mean that they are worn out. As mimesis." Not surprisingly. The writing is abstract in that most of the praise comes out of mere marking. an adjustment rendered palaces. time-tested devices for eliciting and controlling reader reaction. and dome. "valley. nature" is emphasized by a symmetrical transformation: an abstract phrase." Far from being neutral. as opposed to cloak.Critical Inquiry 1984 September 151 It is true that there are no graphic details. all-purpose gap-fillers. rolling hills or craggy steeps. "garment" has the plus sign. To put it otherwise. along with eulogies like "more fair" (1. only that they pack. "Garment" is not an image but the shadow of an image.. the polarity "city vs. The three nouns conceal two pairs of descriptive polar opposites: first. 1). domes. And in the pseudomimetic attire paradigm. "the entire city. wear" (1. "garment" is the homologue in clothes code of "majesty" in physical behavior or deportment code. and that all the images are stereotyped. the heights. goodly theaters. rock. or hill" throws together what seems a random sampling of paraphernalia of nature scenery. Archaic morphemes like "doth . or hill." to Shelley's Venetian "Column. and for nature-"valley. these periphrases are instances of the poetic sign's exemplariness.. But only the loose syntagm makes it desultory: the lexicon is strongly and significantly organized. We know the whole line is also a cliche from innumerable variants. since they do not directly affect the actual extolment lexicon). What turns this nondescript description into an encomium of London is not a sequence of full-fledged signifiers but a series of positive markers. they act as praise-boosters (not hyperboles. make exactly the same adjustment. faced with the same descriptive problem. rock. or whatever. 12) are mere indices of poetic discourse. in unchanging traditional formulas. the valley and its counterpart. tower. What about the stereotypes? We have two descriptive periphrases: the cliche enumeration for city-"Ships. they have in fact almost no semantic content save that every one is qualified with a plus sign. if not actually flat. which really does not aim at making us see how beauty clothes an object but is merely a praise-implying way of connecting the object and the quality it is endowed with.

so-called natural features. It remains strong. as in Shelley). the negated intertext survives everywhere (that is. exemplariness motivates the stereotype: it sums up not only the complex city mimesis but the mimesis of a meliorative city-the city as a majestic panorama-by implying the multitudinous varieties of shape and structure. demonstrated how Wordsworth composedhow he arranged to cancel a major. it recedes into the . London appears to have taken on descriptive features characteristic only of Nature herself. Here once more. becomes the Temple of Melpomene. where the city is phantasmal. Since both opposite poles are given positive markers. As soon as London is alluded to. The whole skyline is contained between rounded highrise and pointed highrise buildings ("domes" vs. is that the terms may be interchangeable but must always be polar opposites (the theatre. inevitably presuppose the entire gamut of intermediate terms in the paradigm. with Wordsworth's abiding aesthetic tenet set forth in his "Preface to the Second Edition of LyricalBallads": "Ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect. I hope. but the description does not pick out a random assortment of normal. The symmetrical emphasis by the same means of two opposite poles does much more than underscore certain representations: it tells the reader how to interpret the poem. and these extremes. for instance. any concept we may have of city or natureI still have to make clear why this cancellation retains its powerful hold upon the reader's imagination and does not wear out. Only those features which our linguistic competence tells us are the reverse of the real London are selected: the city is said to be silent as nature. recognizable as linked by polarity. This is the surprise the genre demands. For the cancelled opposition has not been destroyed. activating and actualizing its intertextual homologue). in any event.152 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation to the temptation to pad their work the easy way. And the sonnet can never be read without the reader perceiving it as the reverse image of what the sociolect tells him the real city is like. pinnacles or spires or even pyramids. and that the secret of its power lies in polarization. Its expression accords. within the sociolect. basic opposition that molds and structures. The title had announced a reality only for the text to expel it. This implication requires mention of only the extreme opposite components of synonym paradigms." between the profane and the sacred. and goes on working so well. through the agency of intertextuality. to push it back from front stage into the wings. but this silence remains complementary to the bustle and the turmoil and the uproar of the city in the sociolectic intertext. it stays in the language) except in the idiolect of this particular sonnet. London and its river are described as if they were indistinguishable from nature."23 Though I have. Proof that such is indeed the sign structure. borrowing through metaphor the very language of its contrary-that is. and the whole architectural parade of public buildings is encompassed within the space between "theatres" and "temples.

with sleep-it flies in the face of the Thames image we accept as realistic (what we get. No matter how the poem may try to rationalize this moment of peace-with the dawning day. for instance. at the beginning of Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend). The adjective owes its role and its power of controlling the reader's interpretation to its shape. a hostage from the sociolect. "smoke" summarizes every stereotype about urban pollution that arose from the conflicting ideologies of the sublime in nature and of the realism born of the industrial revolution. "Smokeless" literally quotes from the intertext. the river's "own sweet will" (1. the one word through which the latent intertext surfaces into the text: "smoke. of its literal meaning." We are not given just any fragment of that intertext. slave to the boats that exploit it. the one word foreign to the text's idealization. The objective image of the city must be deciphered between the lines at the same time as the idealized picture is decoded. almost. Another connector might be the unusual colloquialism. as it were. We are affected by whatever the poem says because at every step of the way. this trace left by the intertext at the surface of the text displacing it. an exchange of black for white. There is a connector that forces upon the reader's consciousness the inseparability or the mutual complementarity (like an obverse and a reverse) of the bright and glittering skyline and of the soot and grime drifting down and blackening the cityscape of the sociolect.Critical Inquiry 1984 September 153 background so that it can be described as what it is not (contrariwise. In all allusions to the modern Babylon. we are being forced to fight against habit. this is the exact reverse of the nineteenth-century Thames stereotype: the harnessed river par excellence. no lack. Once again. 8). The word is one of a kind: it sticks out in context both morphologically (it is the only compound) and semantically (there is something technical about its specificity as opposed to the vagueness or generality of all the other adjectives). This singularity vividly focuses on the one verbal borrowing. There is no void. 12). suddenly freed of its irony and returned to the tenderness. is "smokeless" (1. We are able to discover the equivalence through a sustained correspondence. Wordsworth chooses the most powerfully representative of all the metonyms of London in common parlance. in accordance with this law that we cannot negate anything in language without naming it. to resist the pressure of usage and a vast corpus of texts attesting to the contrary of what Wordsworth wants us to see. term . But this repression or displacement of London is no suppression. The complementarity of sonnet and sociolect resembles the correspondence between a photograph and the negative it has been developed from: developing requires a reversal of tones. This connector. the wheelbarrow had been represented but only to be beautified by the implication that it was an objetd'art). Thus the semiosis consists in a reverse mimesis: an object is offered for our identification through the mimesis of what it is not.

fresh. since those same spires and roofs had faded from their eyes. in many a sportive chase. because the novel draws most of its symbols ." The sonnet is powerful not because it substitutes an unexpected code for the one expected in the description of a city but because it substitutes a positive structure for its negative homologue. The water going on its glistening track. and darkened chimney stacks of Home. and leaped from off the blades of oars.24 Dickens makes us see something that is in the eye of the beholder. and swiftly passed. but only because it is the novel's aim to depict the tribulations of two young men. Dickens provides an example in Martin Chuzzlewitwhen this view of Liverpool is gilded and transmogrified by the joy of two exiles who have finally returned home: Bright as the scene was. relates an individual experience." "natural/unnatural. spoken in the first person. the canopyof smoke that overhung the town was brighterand more beautifulto them than if the richest silks of Persia had been waving in the air. in Bleak House. ." This correspondence is what links the two faces of a coin. roofs. set deep into the stonework of the quays. or pairs of antonyms like "pure/impure. aside to dance and sparkle round great ships. and heave them up. through obdurate old iron rings. the same transformation of a negative model to a positive one. surprisingly. it is one that must be generalized. a shower of diving diamonds. between the semes defining the meaning of the object and the semes of its counterpart. A year had passed. The beholder's "I"is but the grammatical tool of the semiosis itself... free. Poetry's aim is different: while the sonnet. The spectacle therefore is born not of a spectator's delusion but of a cancellation of sociolectic conventions: this is enough to make it a coded sign. We are free not to share their naive enthusiasm. and sparkling. .. was music in their ears. and wantoned with the idle boats. the self-sufficient icon of a truth deeper than conventional representation. This modified version of an idealized big city mimesis is found. Surprisingly.. From Descriptive to Narrative Let us now observe how the same poetic description beautifying London.. ever and again. it was nothing to the life and exultation in the breasts of the two travellers. The distant roar. Everything is so simple. and full of motion.154 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation for term.. that swelled up hoarsely from the busy streets. functions in a fictional context and how its hermeneutic system undergoes successive transformations to fit the changing needs of the narrative. so close to automatic writing that narrative motivation would actually weaken the effect.. airy. of the "nonobject. at sight of the old churches. turned. so beautifully mechanical." "clean/unclean. .

Not only is it a still night on dusty high roads and on hill-summits. where wharves and shipping make it black and awful. and on the river where the water-meadows are fresh and green. where many bridges are reflected in it. where it winds away from these disfigurements through marshes whose grim beacons stand like skeletons washed ashore. vibrating. a solitude and stillness seem to proceed from her. makes for quite a dramatic.Critical Inquiry 1984 September 155 from the most sordid scenes in London. or the epic of garbage recycling in Our Mutual Friend. with the grey ghost of a bloom upon them. as if the city were a vast glass. and keep their sheep in the fold by hook and by crook until they have shorn them exceeding close. where it expands through the bolder region of rising grounds. The pressure of this ideological bias. and the footsteps on the pavements pass more tranquilly away. But it is in Bleak House that realism seems to be built exclusively on the representation of squalor. where the shepherds play on Chancery pipes that have no stop. Tulkinghorn's inhabiting. What's that? Who fired a gun or pistol? Where was it?25 To be sure. Dickens evokes a veritable apocalypse of pollution. wind-mill and steeple. the still night. whence a wide expanse of country may be seen in repose. its smoky house-tops lose their grossness. in the pale effulgence. too. not only is it a still night in gardens and in woods. but even on this stranger's wilderness of London there is some rest. when London is transfigured into a midsummer night's dream-a moonlit sublimation of the object: He looks up casually. thinking what a fine night. murmuring weirs. this moonlight night. the noises that arise from the streets are fewer and are softened. A very quiet night. quieter and quieter as it spreads away into a fringe of trees against the sky. what a bright large moon. that influence even crowded places full of life. not only does the stillness attend it as it flows where houses cluster thick. From the overture picturing the Chancery mired in mud and fog. not only is it a still night on the deep. to the final chase through lanes ending in the Thames. to the touching story of the crossing sweeper. The ugliness of the city is a Dickensian obsession: witness the ruinous hovels of Little Dorrit. and the stream sparkles on among pleasant islands. the muted harmony is here only to prepare the coup de theatreof Mr. into a distant ringing hum. almost operatic contrast. Its steeples and towers. and its one great dome. or the ever expanding suburban blight in Dombey and Son. and whispering rushes. In these fields of Mr. Tulkinghorn's assassination. of this overwhelming aesthetic and ethical constant. The still night only . When the moon shines very brilliantly. and on the shore where the watcher stands to see the ship with her spread wings cross the path of light that appears to be presented to only him. rich in corn-field. grow more ethereal. and where it mingles with the ever-heaving sea. to the squalor of the slums. every noise is merged. what multitudes of stars! A quiet night.

with the difference that predication (theverbal sign for interpretation) is syntagmatic instead of being morphological. Since silence remains a structural requirement of the hermeneutic system. a poetic moment. "its smoky house-tops lose their grossness. Similarly in Dickens. A similar peculiarity controls our decoding in the case of "grossness. Dickens. So essential was this stillness in Wordsworth that it triggered a repetition-another codified. a device to focus on the connector. This spectacle. a sign referring to a spectacle rather than the spectacle itself. unusual in its reference to the negative concreteness of "house-tops. into a distant ringing hum. thus setting apart a textual segment and tagging it as a descriptive and interpretive aside. descriptive sign countervailing noise pollution. is already reduced to the presuppositions that an observer's contemplative stance implies. chronicles a society: he must not allow the idyllic vision of countrified London to hide the evil lurking in the still of the night. in any case. on the other hand.156 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation sets the stage for the pistol shot that will reverberate through nineteen more chapters. A novel. ethereal sound: "Everynoise is merged. one of the metonyms for the metropolis in the London intertext. These contrary postulations of poetry and realism find expression in both the narrative . But Dickens' motives do not affect the intertextual descriptive mechanism. The relative anomaly of "smokeless"in the context of the sonnet is. If moonlight is a garment here." it is indeed present. Again as in Wordsworth." We recognize an allusion to the Glasharmonika inherited from German Romanticism." an abstract word. we remember. the continental equivalent of Coleridge's aeolian harp-in short. as sunlight is in Wordsworth. as if the city were a vast glass. which is quite like that of Wordsworth's poem. Instead of a compound of noun plus suffix. it is also a deceptive cloak that must be lifted. never felt. a geometry symbolic of the mimesis. well-established sign for emotion: "Ne'er saw I. since the pronoun is not repeated). however. Just as in Wordsworth. this moonlight night. a sublimation of noise within a sublimation of the city. Fictional verisimilitude makes it unlikely that London should lie absolutely still. As for the connector "smokeless." The historical present neatly separates this clause from the surrounding narrative. Wordsworth's description is a self-sufficient piece. But they are not put to the same use." The two passages are thus clearly two variants of the same descriptive structure. with moral connotations. a calm so deep" (a very oral one. the conflict is solved by translation of silence from no sound to mystical. It is a specialized. the sublimation of London is effected through a simplified version of a cityscape-the abstract skyline ("steeples. hence more emotional. that is." "dome")that is less a representation than a representation of representation." "towers. repetition coincides with this symbolic climax of significance. almost inaudible. silence does not just stand for nature. we have the clause. his subjective truth colors the object's reality. vibrating. has to stay closer to everyday reality than poetry does.

In a third stage. the use of "crook" for a shepherd's staff. referentiality still prevails. Parody does not disturb the peace. The shepherds are not portrayed as full-fledged characters. Thus representation is finally verified. since the pastoral in Dickens' times has already become an egregious example of the contrived in literature. The same is true of "pipes" and "stop": shepherds do play pipes. In the narrative. in the sociolectic stereotypes about sharp practices in the law business. vibrating. the humorous rewrite of London as parodic pastoral: In these fields of Mr. and keep their sheep in the fold by hook and by crook until they have shorn them exceeding close. every noise is merged. There is no question that the passage refers to the literary genre. but the noun "crook" is not shepherd talk. as it were. and these metonyms themselves are conventional symbols rather than real things. they appear only in the guise of metonyms. but the successive secondary metaphors appear more and more convincing as they build toward the acceptability that is the law of the descriptive. The puns and wordplays are no . of course. this moonlight night. rather than to an actual. between text and intertext. where the shepherds play on Chancery pipes that have no stop. The reader may still demur at the first pun (on "stop"). This is all that is needed for generating a pastoral. the need for realism and the intertext of London's image according to the sociolect combine together to suggest that it is unnatural to paint a bucolic London. Tulkinghorn's inhabiting. into a distant ringing hum." So is "stop. as if the city were a vast glass. Consider. the parody is finally fully activated by the proximity of "shepherds" in the pastoral text and "fleecing" in the intertext-that is. It is true that this staff does have a hooklike handle. In fact. The moon's magic wand embellishing the landscape is familiar stuff. for example."the conventional synecdoche for the whole syrinx. or exchange. Applied to London. which is diffused by the moon in equal measure on London and the countryside. This proximity facilitates the semiotic transference. In a second stage. direct mimesis of reality. but at the imagistic level and not at the referential one. the as if structure that would otherwise make the simile legitimate. thus to a sign system. the dramatic contrast between a stagey stillness and the gunshot that rends it. the image-trope or vision-does no more than hyperbolize an already conventional representation. In the first.Critical Inquiry 1984 September 157 and the descriptive. The unfolding of descriptive parody can be divided into three stages. it is the descriptive sameness of the open fields and the city that now motivates the otherwise farfetched extended metaphor of the lawyers masquerading as bad shepherds. but the noun is as literary as the Elizabethan "oaten straws. in the descriptive. This growing acceptability stems from intertextuality replacing.

Notations such as the "fringe of trees against the sky. When details are given. linguistic habit-remains so powerful that critics persist in seeking referents accessible to the senses. between the bucolic convention and the satirical one. the sole purpose of which seems to be to provide space for the unfolding of paradigms of adjectives stating successively the good and the bad. good and bad.158 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation longer lexical games but the signs of equivalencies between codes. are accepted conventions in both. the lure of the referential fallacy-that is. The hermeneutic function of representation has taken over and eliminated any actual mimesis. Topographical pointers and spatial distribution are just a grammatical structure. Their representation is ungrammatical.""awful. it is an intertextual phenomenon: in context. in effect.""black. When representations get more complex and therefore more sensory." they would hardly convince us if we really tried to visualize them. a perfectly sensible editor still tries to get some sound out of this patently fictitious flute and to find a literal side to this metaphor: "the Chancery lawyers' pipes. with the grey ghost of a bloom upon them. an intertext consisting of the multiple instances of a motif that recurs throughout the novel. would produce a monotonous serenade."26 The whole passage quoted above is articulated by a verisimilitude system we expect to find steeped in referentiality (or a presumption of it). The transition from moonlit idyll to social satire is easy since shepherds.""grim." "disfigurements. A case in point is the pun on "no stop. but since there are no stops. We . they confirm and corroborate the marking constant with a simile that is already conventional and already value oriented. these flutes lack a component basic to the dictionary definition of all musical woods and winds. Even the one striking experience of the real toward the end-the optical illusion that makes moonshine on the sea look as if it shone only for the observeris more like a mystical moment that balances the gloom of the surroundings symbolically and sets up a contrast with the coming pastoral parody. Conversely. Even in such cases." Like any pun. But a closer examination of the system's components shows that their hold on reality is as flimsy as the imaginary flute's. like the navigational beacons that "stand like skeletons washed ashore. Even though the pun does not escape his attention. the word designates the holes of the flute. however. and that always boils down to the defining behavior of the Chancery shepherds: the tune they play is endless litigation." the "stream[s] sparkl[ing]. a syntactic frame which outlines an ideal setting made up of interchangeable landscape stereotypes. and the way in which the idea of a nonfunctional flute blocks meaning forces us to an intertext where "no stop" is grammatical. having no stop. the details about the darker side of the Thames when it flows across the industrial zone are negative markings ("thick. they are not based on referents but instead are significance-induced."and so forth)." and the "murmuring weirs" are mere positive markings on a par with the ones we observed in Wordsworth.

For this to occur. Better still. In some instances. a special index may be present that engages the reader and involves him in interpretation: the first-person pronoun in Wordsworth's sonnet is such an index. Interpretation takes over at the very point where the text would seem closest to an objective recording. The literary representation of reality. The mimetic text is not composed of words referring to things but of words referring to systems of signs that are ready-made textual units. as in lyrical poetry or poetry of the self. Conclusion The following factors seem to be constant in the literary representation of reality: (1) The mimesis proper refers not to referents but to elementary representations of these. the index need not be explicit: it is enough that it be implied. Within the frame of presuppositions that such a grammar allows. Even if he does not sympathize with the message. as in Williams' poem. the mimetic lexicon is weighted so as to dictate value judgments to the reader and to lead him inescapably to specific conclusions. (2) The presence of lexical connectors makes the perception of intertextual references compulsory and inescapable. he necessarily adopts the text as if it were his own expression and becomes responsible for its significance. since in uttering it the reader does much more than a passive decoding.27 (3) Most paradoxically. By taking on the pronoun himself. it is simply a feature characterizing a particular genre. actually are hermeneutic devices. the index's deixis is really superfluous. he still performs a praxis of interpretation. then. But the mimesis remains little more than a grammatical symbol of referentiality. It is indeed predicated on objects that seem to be outside the text and are presumed to exist independently of textual significance. it is in and through intertextual mimesis that literature challenges representation most and most undermines its readers' views about the world. rather. is essentially an interpretive discourse. to a semiotic oneness. The mere superim- . for all its objectifying stance. the more total the subordination of the mimetic multiplicity to a single message. Formal similarities or semiotic homologies facilitate their dual relevancy astraddle text and intertext.Critical Inquiry 1984 September 159 have to conclude that the verisimilitude system itself. or. or of the writer's intent. or the more it proclaims itself a mirror. and particularly those descriptive details whose definiteness seems to invite the reader's sensory participation. The more faithfully a text is supposed to reflect the manifold aspects of reality.

1. Paul de Man. "Sociolect.g. Precisely because the enjambment affects compounds. 1980). "Hypogram and Inscription: Michael Riffaterre's Poetics of Reading. 12]). N. the cuts. 5. and third. par. (London. 81118."CriticalInquiry6 (Summer 1980): 625-38. 20) and which he then develops figuratively (see 1.Deconstruction (Ithaca. Ibid. and my "Syllepsis. In sum. because the slightest predicative manipulation of the sociolectic given must be decoded as assimilation or rejection or parody. The Language Poets Use (London. because a negative representation necessarily amounts to a conflict of two interpretations. the infernal Furies. Winifred Nowottny. is language viewed not just as grammar and lexicon but as the repository of society's myths. esp. And the artistic representation of the object is no longer distinguished from the nature of the object itself in our sensation. See Roland Barthes et al. 9. pp. See Jonathan Culler. "Three hundred cannon threw up their emetic" [Lord Byron."an individual's specific semiotic activity. H. first. rev. 48.. 7. sees William Carlos Williams' device as culminating an English tradition in the practice of enjambment. 120. st. 120. second. This is true. whose argument is similar to Hartman's (although it leads him to a different interpretation).trans. It is figurative and therefore distinct from the literal (albeit symbolic) vomit of Errour in which Edmund Spenser wallows so graphically in The Faerie Queene (see 1.e. repulsive terms such as the image I am discussing: There is only one kind of ugliness [Hdsslichkeit]which cannot be represented in accordance with nature. These are represented by themes. but the examples he cites all differ . pp. Sociolect is opposed to "idiolect. But he excepts those words that excite sensations as if their object were present. Don Juan. p. my paper. 1917).Y. John Hollander. 2. that which excites disgust [Ekel]. Bernard. See Immanuel Kant. J. unmediated by any sign. and in the case of literature. 8. Criticismin the Wilderness:The Study of LiteratureToday (New Haven.. 121. without destroying all aesthetical satisfaction [asthetische Wohlgefallen]and consequently artificial beauty. let alone perceiving. the object is represented as it were obtruding itself for our enjoyment while we strive against it with all our might. viz.. which rests on mere imagination. Littrature et realite (Paris. prevents him from expecting.) is deemed beautiful qua mimesis. on the referential fallacy.Literature. [P." the sociolectic and the idiolectic. CritiqueofJudgement. 1982)." Diacritics 11 (Winter 1981): 17-35. It is so well established that it sprouts parodies (e. Kant remarks (after Aristotle) that the literary representation of an ugly or horrible object (a snake. 21). 1931). 2d ed. 1981). For in this peculiar sensation. 1. intertextuality cannot avoid being hermeneutic. 1962). the whole weight of his linguistic competence. Geoffrey H. and descriptive systems (stereotyped networks of metonyms around any given lexical nucleus). canto 8. pp. 1. This commonplace practice stems from Latin in which vomere used figuratively is already a literary cliche. Hartman.160 Michael Riffaterre Intertextual Representation position or parallelism of text and intertext suffices to make representation into an interpretation. a dragon. The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics. and thus it is impossible that it can be regarded as beautiful. Conn. 4. because intertextuality at least compares and usually opposes two viewpoints. 3.. commonplace phrases. 195] 6. 193-96. i. the lexicon and grammar specific to a text and whose rules and verbal equivalencies are valid only within its limits. or rather two coding systems for the same "thing. the reader's lifelong habits. etc. The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron (Oxford.." in semiotic terminology.

Spring and All (Columbus." first. the egg-plant of a prince.CriticalInquiry 1984 September 161 from those of Williams in that they exhibit devices that make the cut perceptible whether the reader sees or hears."and "porcelain" as that of the objet d'art. Ben Jonson. It is not unusual to compare the starry canopy to a sable pavillion with light filtering through holes in it-a simile so stylized as to hardly require visualization. 174-76).. By making it the tin and cardboard crown of a child on Twelfth Night. 13.g. Harold Bloom. however. Ohio. Thus The maker of catastrophe invents the eye And through the eye equates ten thousand deaths With a single well-tempered apricot. or rather a blackand-white photograph of it." white and gray. pp. in itself less a thing than the symbol of an attitude. A mock artifact is even farther from nature than an ordinary one... Agon: Towardsa Theoryof Revisionism (New York. The first is closer to "tinsel. 247-51. 1969]. "coronal of the black. while "coronal" belongs in the specialized beautifying discourse of literary convention. the representation of the natural in terms of artifacts is a consistent feature. one with which the sentence pattern does not fit (e. The almost pedestrian specificity of "pinholes. or the cut coincides with a recognizable rhyme sequence. Williams. pp. all further references to this work will be included parenthetically in the text. If neatly glazed. and the Early Poetry of William Carlos Williams [Princeton. Dalloway(New York. gives visual immediacy to the image. See Wallace Stevens. "glazed" alone suffices to epitomize the sterile. thus approximating literalness: "great end" and "glass"bring the cornucopia close to being a utensil. p. whereas "coronal" is. See Virginia Woolf." p.. Either a rhythmic pattern is identified. the representation presupposes the "coronal" discussed in n. but not equally so: "pinhole" is not perceived as such. reft of the relief which dawn brings when.. An egg-plant of good air. 18.. the rhyming word occurring at the wrong place in the sentence (e. it remains marginal to it and belongs to a different type of discourse. 11. spotting each windowpane." The CollectedPoems of Wallace Stevens (New York. pp.Stieglitz. 14. 1982).J. 253] "Glazed"functions here as the hyperbolic equivalent of "porcelain." Note. and his second Marvell passage) (see Vision and Resonance: Two Senses of Poetic Form [New York. In short. the proximity of . washing the walls all is once more decked out to the eye. 1925). huddled together in the darkness." on the contrary. that even Williams' borrowings from conventional rhetoric end up generating phrases that deflate the convention. "Extracts from Addresses to the Academy of Fine Ideas." since.g. p. debunking the former. 253]): Let the secretary for Porcelain observe That evil made magic. For Stevens. Even though this appears four poems after the previous quotation.. because "pinhole" is everyday matter-of-fact parlance. in the discourse of traditional allegory ("a crown for her head with / castles upon it"-the corona muralis of ancient goddesses) and then in the discourse of an American child's candy factory fantasy ("skyscrapers / filled with nutchocolates"). 1970). as in catastrophe. Similarly. or. the following appositives develop "coronal. his Thomas Campion. The good is evil's last invention. 12. 1969). I omit from the quotation a first metaphor." the second to "cornucopia. This perception of the poem's meaning has no connection with what we might see if we knew the genesis of the poem (see Bram Dijkstra. 34-35: "things . as a rhetorical commentary on the realistic picture. The collage includes pictures of crockery. impoverishing aspects of aestheticism when the glaze is a cover-up for the bad and the good of real life ("The evilly compounded.. and Andrew Marvell examples). Mrs. Cf. 1975]. Indeed. becomes the same as the fruit Of an emperor. [P. TheHieroglyphics a New Speech: of Cubism. 12. say. Williams' model is a collage by Juan Gris entitled Roses (1914). pp. the lowly material again de-conventionalizes the image and leaves only the artificiality of the artifact. 107-11). 253. his Robert Herrick and Robert Frost examples. "pinholes" and "coronal" are both figurative. N. vital I" ["The Poems of Our Climate. 10.

5. 1844-1864. p. pp. 250). September 3. 92. An interpretation exclusively based on a natural reading-a reading recognizing the text's self-sufficiencywill have only two sets of represented objects to build with: a vegetable sequence ("rose" and its metonyms or synecdoches) and an artificial sequence used as an oxymoron to repeat. I distinguish between "meaning. Spenser's Minor Poems (Oxford. and Woolf.ed. 22. C."Poetical Works. 15. see Woodring. since mentions of the materials used in the pictorial model tend to be understood as metaphors. Ernest de Selincourt (Oxford.. 24 vols. 620. 1911). 48. "Preface to the Second Edition of.. 19: "his golden London. p. parliaments. George Ford and Sylvere Monod (New York. Thomas Hutchinson. 26. and amplify the first. 734.. Dickens. 43-44. The Well WroughtUrn: Studies in the Structureof Poetry (New York. 17. p." The Complete of 1961). Spenser. Abrams (Englewood Cliffs. we may use it as a metaphor here: Freud's word refers to the effect of repeated stimuli that. Mrs. H. King Edward the Third. p. sc. New York. M. 1:536. 15. 18:26). and trans.ed. 2 vols. Edward S. my emphasis. pp. p. Hutchinson (London."The Poems and Plays of RobertBrowning. 130. can impart this knowledge. bk. 25. Beyondthe Pleasure Principle. e. 718-19." when these words are decoded successively and separately and interpreted according to context and sociolect through their one-to-one relationship with their referents. 249. Remembranceof Things Past. churches. James Strachey. by Dickens. Scott Moncrieff. N. p. Carl Woodring (in an otherwise thoroughly convincing analysis). a hollow misty cry" (pp. Wordsworth (Boston. See William Blake. eds. lessen the resistance to their being transmitted from one neuron to another (see. domed houses. depict. 1910). Bleak House. Ford and Monod. my emphasis. chap. N. my point is that outside sources only. Furbank (Harmondsworth. however. rev. 27.162 Michael Riffaterre IntertextualRepresentation which causes us to see a broken plate in a circumference. throng'd with shining spires / And corded ships". Wordsworth." in Wordsworth. perceived globally and retroactively. William Wordsworth. and the hoot of a steamer on the river. the fact that in usage some words are identified as equally apt in opposite and mutually exclusive contexts opens the way to an interchange between them. do not know this. Martin Chuzzlewit. (1906. 554. towards Westminster. 166. David Ferry. . which therefore cannot and should not play any role in a natural reading of the poem. 21. That is. Even if his concept remains unsubstantiated. ed. a word understood in two different ways in the text in which it appears and in that text's intertext. P. Marcel Proust.6.ed. LyricalBallads. trans. The CompleteWritings of William Blake. "Some Characteristics of Wordsworth's Style. Casey. It also includes pictures of roses presumably from a gardener's catalog. (New York. and by extension. p. 2. 1802. 214. only philologists do. ed. Geoffrey Keynes (London. Charles Dickens. some of them cut to fit the plate's edge." Poetical Works. p. and Robert Browning.J. "Ruines of Time. 1977). a word understood in two different ways at once.g. / And her silver Thames. 20. through their relationship with structural invariants. 167. observing" "looming houses. "Lines Written among the Poetical Works PercyByssheShelley. 1969). some with their petals extending beyond it.. ed." when these words are interpreted in accordance with the constants of the text as a whole. Wordsworth. 23. ed. 18. 13. p. "Literary Description and Phenomenological Method. 10-12. bk.. Readers." Yale French Studies 61 (1981): 176-201. Dalloway: "he tripped through London. Here. 1968). 1953-74]. 19. For the same words in a literary text. Cleanth Brooks. Euganean Hills. vol. 16.These syllepses function somewhat like Sigmund Freud's Bahnung. vol. [London. 584 n. Cf. 1972). To recapitulate: words that can be both affirmed and negated ("edge. 24. 1934). 1947). and "significance. Ernest Rhys. in the end. ed. 1965). 2 vols. "Luria. Percy Bysshe Shelley." "smoke" in "smokeless")or simultaneously figurative and literal ("shepherds")." The Poetical Worksof Edmund Spenser. 11. The StandardEdition of the Complete PsychologicalWorks of Sigmund Freud. and for the friend. chap. high houses. 35. 2. K. Bleak House. 166. p. 1. 1. In any case. not the text itself. 1966). The verbal description of a pictorial collage is not necessarily perceived as a verbal collage unless there is a statement identifying it as such. p. "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge.

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