How to Read Literature Like a Professor

Intertextuality Term Analysis

Invented by the Russian scholar Mikhail Bakhtin, intertextuality simply refers to the relationship between different literary works. It might help to think of all texts as existing in a giant network or web, with inherent connections between one book and others. Note that intertextuality is at play even when texts aren’t explicitly borrowing from or referring to other literary works. Intertextual elements often come in subtle forms, and can be difficult to identify—especially to the less experienced reader.

Intertextuality Quotes in How to Read Literature Like a Professor

The How to Read Literature Like a Professor quotes below are all either spoken by Intertextuality or refer to Intertextuality. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Surface Reading vs. Deeper Reading Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of How to Read Literature Like a Professor published in 2014.
Introduction Quotes

Memory. Symbol. Pattern. These are the three items that, more than any other, separate the professorial reader from the rest of the crowd.

Page Number: xxvii
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other How to Read Literature Like a Professor quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 4 Quotes

There is only one story. Ever. One. It's always been going on and it's everywhere around us and every story you've ever read or heard or watched is part of it.

Related Symbols: The One Story
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Interlude: One Story Quotes

Don't bother looking for the originals, though. You can't find the archetype, just as you can't find the pure myths. What we have, even in our earliest recorded literature, are variants, embellishments, versions, what Frye called "displacement" of the myth.

Related Symbols: The One Story
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

We—as readers or writers, tellers or listeners—understand each other, we share knowledge of the structures of our myths, we comprehend the logic of symbols, largely because we have access to the same swirl of story.

Related Symbols: The One Story
Page Number: 200
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Read Like a Professor LitChart as a printable PDF.
How to read literature like a professor.pdf.medium

Intertextuality Term Timeline in How to Read Literature Like a Professor

The timeline below shows where the term Intertextuality appears in How to Read Literature Like a Professor. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before?
Archetype and Pattern Recognition Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
Literature, Life, and Society Theme Icon
...thus the connection between Sarkin Aung Wan and Sacajawea is part of a network of intertextuality. (full context)
Symbol and Metaphor Theme Icon
Archetype and Pattern Recognition Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
Literature, Life, and Society Theme Icon
Foster claims that the reason this network of intertextuality exists is because “there is only one story.” This universal story has always been happening... (full context)
Surface Reading vs. Deeper Reading Theme Icon
Archetype and Pattern Recognition Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
Literature, Life, and Society Theme Icon
...who is well-practiced in pattern recognition. As a result, many readers will fail to identify intertextual references within a literary work. There is nothing wrong with this, as almost all works... (full context)
Surface Reading vs. Deeper Reading Theme Icon
Archetype and Pattern Recognition Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
Contemporary writers in particular are known to deliberately play around with intertextuality, and the results can be difficult to untangle. Angela Carter’s novel Wise Children (1992) portrays... (full context)
Surface Reading vs. Deeper Reading Theme Icon
Archetype and Pattern Recognition Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
This brings Foster back to the earlier point that recognizing intertextual features is not necessary to understanding and enjoying a book; rather, it is a “bonus”... (full context)
Chapter 5: When in Doubt, It’s from Shakespeare…
Intertextuality Theme Icon
...fraught) relationship of writers to their literary predecessors is all part of the web of intertextuality. In T.S. Eliot’s “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1917) the main character bashfully declares... (full context)
Interlude: Does He Mean That?
Surface Reading vs. Deeper Reading Theme Icon
Symbol and Metaphor Theme Icon
Archetype and Pattern Recognition Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
Literature, Life, and Society Theme Icon
...argument so far, authors seem to be doing a great many things at once: juggling intertextual references, creating multiple layers of symbolic meaning, following preexisting patterns, and so on. Foster acknowledges... (full context)
Symbol and Metaphor Theme Icon
Archetype and Pattern Recognition Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
Literature, Life, and Society Theme Icon
...groups of writers who we know made conscious choices in the way they including symbolic, intertextual, archetypical, and ironic meaning; these are called the “Intentionalists,” and many were part of the... (full context)
Chapter 12: Is That a Symbol?
Symbol and Metaphor Theme Icon
Archetype and Pattern Recognition Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
Literature, Life, and Society Theme Icon
...completely different meaning. This is not to say that there is never any overlap or intertextual resonance, but that a river in one work can have a totally distinct and contradictory... (full context)
Interlude: One Story
Surface Reading vs. Deeper Reading Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
Literature, Life, and Society Theme Icon
For the first time, Foster explicitly introduces the concept of intertextuality. This was an idea invented by the Russian formalist scholar Mikhail Bakhtin, which highlights the... (full context)