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Introduction to Ancient Asian Literature

• Ancient history is usually defined as the time period up to 500 CE. Some of the most prominent countries in ancient Asia were China and
India. Ancient literature is often closely related to religion and this is true of Ancient Asian literature as well. The ancient literature of India is
primarily concerned with Hinduism while the ancient literature of China is mainly concerned with Daoism and Confucianism.
Ancient Literature of India
• Vedas are the oldest of Sanskrit literature and Hindu scripture.
• Sanskrit is the ancient language of India and Hinduism is a multi-god religion that originated in India.
• There are four parts to the Vedas: the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads.
• It's an Indian epic poem written by the poet Valmiki in Sanskrit.
• Ramayana is divided into seven books and is a love story between Rama, a god and Sita, a princess.
• The antagonist or villain of the story is Ravana who at one point kidnaps Sita. But in the end, Rama saves Sita and they have two sons
Ancient Literature of China
• The Art of War was written by Chinese general Sunzi (better known by the name Sun Tzu) in the fifth century BCE. It's a text about warfare
and military strategy. There are thirteen chapters in The Art of War and these chapters contain aphorisms, or concise wisdom, about battle. One
of his most famous aphorisms is 'the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.' This text has influenced military and
business strategy.

Confucius Analects
• Confucius was a Chinese teacher and philosopher in the fifth century BCE.
• The Confucius Analects are teachings of Confucius to his disciples.
• Confucius Analects are those regarding social interaction and hierarchy and respect in families and in government.
• Devotion to ancestors, parents, older siblings, and government officials was essential according to the Confucius Analects.

Singaporean writers
• Russell Lee, mysterious author of popular True Singapore Ghost Stories series.
• Aaron Lee, poet and lawyer.
• Colin Cheong, poet and novelist.
• Gopal Baratham, neurosurgeon and writer.
• Felix Cheong, poet

Thailand Writers
• Binlah Sonkalagiri is the pen-name of Thai author Wuthichat Choomsanit. He won the S.E.A. Write Award in 2005 for his work, Chao Ngin
• Chart Korbjitti first came to prominence with the publication of his novel Khamphiphaksa (The Judgment).
• Chit Phumisak was a historian and poet. His most influential book was The Face of Thai Feudalismmisak.
• Hem Vejakorn he is best known for his illustrations for the covers of 10-satang pulp novels, which have in turn influenced subsequent
generations of Thai artists and illustrators.

Philippine Writers
• Nick Joaquin started to write short stories, poems, and essays in 1934. He wrote so variedly and so well about so many phase of the
Filipino throughout his entire life span.
• Gregorio F. Zaide authored 67 books, some were use as textbooks in history for secondary and colleges in the country. He has also
written more than 500 articles in history printed in local and foreign journals.
• Teodoro Agoncillo wrote abundant books and papers about Philippine History.
His famous works are:
• History of the Filipino People
• The Crisis of the Republic
• The Revolt of the Masses
• The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan
• Ang Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas
• The Malolos, Philippine History (adopted as official textbook in Philippine History).

Japanese Writers
• Abe Kobo published his first novel in 1948 and worked as an avant-garde novelist and playwright, but it wasn't until he published The
Woman in the Dunes in 1960 that he won widespread international acclaim.
• Osamu Dazai was a Japanese author who is considered one of the foremost fiction writers of Japan. He's known for works like Shayo
(1947, The Setting Sun) and Ningen Shikkaku (1948, No Longer Human).

A. Indian Literature
• Brought by the Aryan migrations around 1500 B.C. was called Vedic after the Vedas, a collection of sacred hymns.
• Classical Period (6th century B.C. until about A.D. 1000) includes epics, court poems, and dramas written in the elite language Sanskrit known for its
formality and richness of expression.
1. The Rigveda
• means “hymns of supreme sacred knowledge”
• foremost collection or Samhita made up of 1,028 hymns.
• oldest of the Vedas
• contains strong, energetic, non-speculative hymns, often comparable to the psalms in the Old Testament.
2. The Dhammapada (Way of Truth)
• is an anthology of basic Buddhist teaching in a simple aphoristic style.
• one of the best known books of the Pali Buddhist canon.
• contains 423 stanzas arranged in 26 chapters.
• these verses are compared with the Letters of St. Paul in the Bible or that of Christ's Sermon on the Mount.
3. The Upanishads
• form a highly sophisticated commentary on the religious thought suggested by the poetic hymns of the Rigveda.
• the name implies, according to some traditions, 'sitting at the feet of the teacher.'
• the most important philosophical doctrine is the concept of a single supreme being, the Brahman, and knowledge is directed toward reunion with it
by the human soul, the Atman or self.
4. Epics
Major Indian epics that are the literary embodiments of Hinduism:
• The Mahabharata
• The Ramayana
The Mahabharata
• traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyasa, consists of a mass of legendary and didactic material that tells of the struggle for supremacy between two
groups of cousins, the Kauruvas and the Pandavas set sometime 3102 BC.
• the poem is made up of almost 100,000 couplets divided into 18 parvans or sections. It is an exposition on dharma(codes of conduct).
The Bhagavad Gita (The Blessed Lord's Song)
• one of the greatest and most beautiful of the Hindu scriptures.
• it is regarded by the Hindus in somewhat the same way as the Godpels are by Christians.
• it forms part of Book IV and is written in the form of a dialogue between the warrior Prince Arjuna, his friend, and charioteer, Krishna, who is also an
earthly incarnation of the god Vishnu.
The Ramayana
• was composed in Sanskrit by the poet Valmiki.
• consists of some 24,000 couplets divided into seven books.
• it reflects the Himdu values and forms of social organization, the theory of karma, the ideals of wifehood, and feelings about caste, honor and
• the poem describes the royal birth of Rama, his tutelage under the sage Visvamitra, and his success in bending Siva's mighty bow , thus winning
Sita, the daughter of King Janaka, for his wife.
5. The Panchatantra
• is a collection of Indian beast fables originally written in Sanskrit.
• work was known under the title The Fables of Bidpal in Europe and Bidpal in Indian sage name.
• it is intended as a textbook of artha (worldly wisdom): the aphorisms tend to glorify shredwness and cleverness more than helping of others.
6. Sakuntala
• a sanskrit drama by Kalidasa.
• tells of the love between Sakuntala and King Dushyanta.
• what begins as a physical attraction for both of them becomes spiritual in the end as their love endures and surpasses all difficulties.
• emotion or rasa dominates every scene in Sanskrit drama.
7. The Little Clay Cart ( Mrcchakatika )
• is attributed to Shudraka, a king.
• the caharcters in this play include a Brahman merchant who has lost his money through liberality, a rich courtesan in love with a poor young man,
much description of respiendent palaces and both comic and tragic or near-tragic emotional situations.
8. Gitanjali: Song Offerings
• was originallypublished in India in 1910 and translated in 1912.
• Rabindranath Tagore uses imagery from nature to express the themes of love and the internal conflict between spiritual longings and earthly
9. The Taj Mahal
• a poem by Sahir Ludhianvi
• about the mausoleum in North India built by the gul emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz-i-Mahal.
• the facade of this grandlose structure is made of white marble and is surrounded by water gardens, gateways, and walks.
• the construction of the building took twenty years to complete involving some 20,000 workers.
10. On Learning to be an Indian
• an essay by Santha Rama Rau
• illustrates the telling effects of colonization on the lives of the people particularly the younger generation.
• the writer humorously narrates the conflicts that arise between her granmother's traditional Indian values and the author's own British upbringing.

• Major Indian Writers

1. Kalidasa - a Sanskrit poet and dramatist, is probably the greatest Indian writer of all time. His poems suggest that he was a Brahman ( Priest).
2. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)- is a Bengali poet and mystic who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. His sympathy for their poverty and
backwardness was later reflected in his works.
3. Prem Chand - is the pseudonym of Dhanpat Rai Srivastava (1880-1936)
- is the pseudonym of Dhanpat Rai Srivastava (1880-1936).Indian author of numerous novels and short stories in Hindu and Urdu, he
pioneered adapting Indian themes to Western literary styles.
4. Kemala Merkandaya (1924) - her works concern the struggles of contemporary Indians with conflicting Eastern and Western values. In her fiction,
Western values typically are viewed as modern and materialistic and Indian values as spiritual and traditional.
5. R. K. Narayan (1906) - one of the finest Indian authorsof his generation writing in English. All of Narayan's works are set in the fictitious South indian town
of Malgudi. They typically potray the peculiarities of human relationships and the ironies of Indian daily life, in which modern urban existence clashes with
ancient tradition. His syle is graceful, marked by genial humor, elegance, and simplicity.
• His novels include:
• The English Teacher (1945)
• Waiting for the Mahatma (1955)
• The Guide (1958)
• The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961)
• The Vendor of Sweets (1967)
• A tiger for Malgudi (19830
• The World of Nagaraj (1990)
6. Anita Desai (1937)- is an English-language Indian novelist and author of children's books, she is considered India's premier imagist writer. Most od Desai's
wprks ferlect her tragic view of life.
Her works include the following:
• Cry, the Peacock - her first novel which addresses the suppression and oppression of Indian women.
• Clear Light of Day- author's most successful work.
• Fire on the Mountain - criticized work.
• Major Indian Writers
7. Vir Singh (1872-1957)- aSikh writer and theologian, wrote at a time when Sikh religion and poliitics and the Puunjabi language were under heavy attack by
the English and Hindus. He extolled Sikh courage, philosophy, and ideals, earningresect for the Punjabi language as a literary vehicle. His novel Kalghi Dhar
Chamatkar is about the life of 17th century guru Gobind Singh.
• His other novels:
• Sundri (1898)
• Bijai Singh (1899)
8. Arundhati Roy- is a young female writer whose first book The God of Small Things won fo her a Booker Prize in 1997. this first novel is a story about the
childhood experiences of a pair of fraternal twins who become the victims of circumstance. the story is a description of how the small things in life build up,
translate into people's behavior, and affect their lives.

B. Chinese Literature
• reflect the political and social history of China and the impact of powerful religions that came from within and outside the country.
• Chinese literature and all of culture has been profoundly influenced by the three great schools of thought:
 Confucianism
 Taoism
 Buddhism
1. The Book of Songs (Shih Ching)
• oldest collection of Chinese poetry and is considered a model of poetic expression and moral insight.
• the poems include court songs that entertained the aristocracy, story osngs that recounted Chou dynasty legends, hymns that were sung in the
temples accompanied by dance.
2. The Tao- Te Ching (Classic of the Way of Power)
• the basic concept of the dao is wu-wei or “non-action” which means no unnatural action, rather than complete passivity.
• it implies spontaneity, non-interference, letting things take their natural course, i.e., “Do nothing and everything else is done.”
• Leo-Tzu “old philosopher” founder of Taoism. He favored a more direct relationship between the individual self and the dao.
3. The T'ang Poets
• Chinese lyrical poetry reached it's height.
• Inspired by scenes of natural beauty.
• T'ang poets wrote about the fragile blossoms in spring, the falling of leaves in autumn, or the changing shape of the moon.
4. The Analects (Lun Yu)
• one of the four Confucian context.
• Confucious believes that people should cultivate the inheritsnt goodness within themselves -unselfishness, courage, and honor -as an ideal of
universal moral and social harmony.
• To Confucious, a person's inner virtues cam be fully realized only through concrete acts of 'ritual property' or proper behavior toward other human
5. The Book of Changes (I Ching)
• one of the Five Classics of Confucian philosophy and has been primarily used for divination. This book is based on the concept of change - the one
constant of the universe.
6. The Parables of the Ancient Philosophers
• illustrate the Taoist belief and the humanism of the Chines thought.
• In them can be seen the relativiy of all things as they pass through man's judgement, the virtues of flexibility, and the drawbacks of material
7. Record of a Journey to the West
• is the foremost Chinese comic novel written by Wu Chengen. The novel is based on the actual 7th century pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk
Xuanzang (601-664) to India in search of sacred texts.
8. Dream of the Red Chamber
• is a novel by Cao Zhan thought to be semiautobiographical andgenerally considered the greatest of all Chinese novels.
9. The Injustice Done to Tou Ngo
• a play by Guan Han-Chong, tells of the story of the poisoning of Old Chang by his own son but the conviction of Tou Ngo for the crime.
10. Romance of the Three Kingdoms
• is a classic historical novel about ancient Chine during the fall of the Han dynasty and the era of Three Kingdoms. The truth is revealed in the end
and the tragic heroine is indicated.
11. A Country Boy Quits School
• by Lao Hsiang is an endearing social satire. It is about poor Chinese family which is forced to send its boy to school following an official
proclamation, ignoring it would mean a jail term.
12. Literature for the Masdes
• an essay by Mao Tse-tung is often labeled as propaganda of communism. THis type of writing with a very definite political purpose came into being
after the Chinese revolution and shows that Communist literature can be good literature.
• Major Chines Writers
Taoist Writers:
• Chuang Tzu (4th century B.C.)- most important early interpreter of the philosophy of Taoism
• Lieh Tzu (4th century B.C.)- a Taoist teacher who had many philosophical differences with his forebears Lao-Tzu and Chuan-Tzu
• Lui An (172-122 B.C.)- Taoist scholar and grandson of the founder of the Han dynasty. He produced a collection of essays on metaphysics,
cosmology, politics, and conduct

 Major Chinese Writers

Taoist Writers:
• Ssu-ma Ch'ien (145-90 B.C.)- was the greatest of China's 'Grand Historians' who dedicated himself to completing the first history of China the
Records of the Historian.
The T'ang Poets:
• Li Po (701-762)- he was a Taoist, drawing sustenanca from nature and his poetry was often other-wordly and ecstatic.
• Tu Fu (721-770)- is the Confucian moralist, realist, and humanitarian. He was public-spirited and his poetry helped chronicle the history of the age:
the deterioration
• Wang Wei (796-761)- he is known for the pictorial quality of his poetry and for its economy.
• Po Chu-l (772-846)- he wrote many poems speaking bitterly against the social and economic problems that were plaguing China.
• Li Ch'ing-chao (A.D. 1084-1151)- regarded as China's greatest woman poet and was also the most liberated women of her day.
• Chou-Shu-jen (1881-1936)- has been called the 'father of the modern Chinese short story because of his introduction of Western techniques. He is
also known as u Hsun whose stories deal with themes of social concern, the problems of the poor, women, and intellectuals.

C. Japanese Literature
• borrowed much from Chinese culture but evolved its own character over time.
• poetry is distinguished by such forms as the tanka and the haiku.
• Lady Murasaki Shikibu composed the world's frist novel, The Tale of Genji.
• Japanese literature is also known for its unique dramatic forms, particularly in subtle and mysterious Noh plays.
1. The Shinto Legends
-have been accepted as historical fact although in postwa times they were once again regarded as myths.
2. The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon
-represents a unique form of the diary genre. It contains vivid sketches of people and place, shy anecdotes and witticisms, snatches of poetry, and 164 lists
on court kife during the Heian period.
3. The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki Shikibu
-a work of tremendous length and complexity, is considered as the world's first true novel. It traces the life of a gifted and charming prince.
4. The Tale of Heike
-written by an anonymous author during the 13th century was the most famous early Japanese novel.
5. Essays in Idleness by Yoshida Kenko
-was written during the age of feudalism. t is a loosely, organized collection of insights, reflectors, and observations written during the 14th century.
6. Tanka
-is the most prevslent verse form in traditional Japanese literature consist of five lines of 7-5-7-7syllables including at least one caesura, or pause.
7. Haiku Atsumori by Seami Motokiyo
-consists of 3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables characterized by prescision, simplicity, and suggestivenss.
8. Atsumori by Seami Motokiyo
-is drawn from an episode of The Tale of the Heike, a medieval Japanese epicbased on historical fact that tells the story of the rise and fall of the Taira
9. In the Grove by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
-is the author's most famous story made into the film Rashomon. The story asks these questions: What is the truth? Who tells the truth? How is the truth
• Novels
1. Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
-tells a love denied by a Tokyo dilttante, Shimamura, to Komako, a geisha who feels 'used' much as she wants to think and feel that she is drawn
sincerely , purely to a man of the world. Kawabata makes use of contrasting thematic symbols in the title: death and purification amidst physical decay and
2. The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki
-is the story of four sisters whose chief concern is finding a suitable husband for the third sister, Yukiko, a woman of traditional beliefs .
3. The Sea of Fertility by Yukio Mishima
-is the four-part epic including Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn, and The Decay of the Angel.
4. The Setting Sun by Ozamu Dazai
-is a tragic, vividly pinted story of life in postwar Japan.
5. The Buddha Tree by Fumio Niwa
-alludes to the awakrning of Buddha under the bo tree when he gets enlightened after fasting 40 days and nights. The author was inspired by personal
tragedies that befell their family and this novel makes him transcend his persoal agony into artistic achievement.

• Major Japanese Writers

• Seami Motokiyo had acting in his blood for his father Kanami, a priest, was one of the finest performers of his day.
The Haiku Poets
• Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is regardedas the greatest haiku poet. Basho means 'banana plant' a gift given to him to which he became deeply
attached. Over time his hut became known as the Basho Hut until he assumed the name.
• Yosa Busom (1716-1783)-is regarded as the second greatest Haiku poet. Buson presents a romantic view of the Japanese landscape, vividly
capturing the wonder amd mystery of nature.
• Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)- is ranked with Basho and Buson although his talent was not widely recognized until after his death. Issa's poems
capture the essence of daily life in Japan and convey his compassion for the less fortunate.
• Yasunari Kawabata (1399-1972)- the sense of loneliness and preoccupation with deat that permeates much of his mature writing possibly derives
from the loneliness of his childhood having been orphaned early.Three of his best novels are: Snow Country, Thousand Cranes, and Sound of Mountains.
• Junichiro Tabnizaki (1886-1965)- is a major novelist whose writing is characterized by eroticism and ironic wit. Among his works are: Some Prefer
Nettles, The Makioka Sisters, Diary of a Mad Old Man.
• Yukio Mishima (1925-1970- is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka, a prolific writer who is regarded by many writers as the most important Japanese
novelist of the 20th century. His highly acclaimed first novel, Confessions of a Mask is partlyautobiographical work that describesshy stylistic brilliance a
homosexual who must mask his sexual orientation.
• Dazai Ozamu ( 1909-1948)- it is believed that Ozamu had psychological conflicts. The Setting Sun is one of his works.
• Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927)- is a prolific writer of stories, plays, and poetry, noted for his stylistic virtuosity. Among his works are
Rashomon, and Kappa.
• Oe Kenzaburo (1935)- a novelist whose rough prose stlye, at time nearly violationg the natural rhythms of the Japanese language, epitomizes the
rebellioon of the ost-WWII generation which he writes. Among his works are: Lavish are the Dead, The Catch, Our Generation, A Personal Matter, The
Silent Cry, and Awake, New Man!


Intertextuality is a sophisticated literary device making use of a textual reference within some body of text, which reflects again the text used as a
reference. Instead of employing referential phrases from different literary works, intertextuality draws upon the concept, rhetoric, or ideology
from other writings to be merged in the new text. It may be the retelling of an old story, or the rewriting of popular stories in modern context for
instance, James Joyce retells The Odyssey in his very famous novel Ulysses.

Example #1: Wide Sargasso Sea (By Jean Rhys)

In his novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys gathers some events that occurred in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. The purpose is to tell readers an
alternative tale. Rhys presents the wife of Mr. Rochester, who played the role of a secondary character in Jane Eyre. Also, the setting of this
novel is Jamaica, not England, and the author develops the back-story for his major character. While spinning the novel, Jane Eyre, Rhys gives
her interpretation amid the narrative by addressing issues such as the roles of women, colonization, and racism that Bronte did not point out in
her novel otherwise.

Example #2: A Tempest (By Aime Cesaire)

Aime Cesaire’s play A Tempest is an adaptation of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. The author parodies Shakespeare’s play from a post-
colonial point of view. Cesaire also changes the occupations and races of his characters. For example, he transforms the occupation of
Prospero, who was a magician, into a slave-owner, and also changes Ariel into a Mulatto, though he was a spirit. Cesaire, like Rhys, makes use
of a famous work of literature, and put a spin on it in order to express the themes of power, slavery, and colonialism.

Example #3: Lord of the Flies (By William Golding

William Golding, in his novel Lord of the Flies, takes the story implicitly from Treasure Island, written by Robert Louis Stevenson. However,
Golding has utilized the concept of adventures, which young boys love to do on the isolated island they were stranded on. He, however,
changes the narrative into a cautionary tale, rejecting the glorified stories of Stevenson concerning exploration and swash buckling. Instead,
Golding grounds this novel in bitter realism by demonstrating negative implications of savagery and fighting that could take control of human
hearts, because characters have lost the idea of civilization.

Example #4: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (By C. S. Lewis)

In this case, C. S. Lewis adapts the idea of Christ’s crucifixion in his fantasy novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. He, very shrewdly,
weaves together the religious and entertainment themes for a children’s book. Lewis uses an important event from The New
Testament,transforming it into a story about redemption. In doing so, he uses Edmund, a character that betrays his savior, Aslan. Generally, the
motive of this theme is to introduce other themes, such as evil actions, losing innocence, and redemption.

Function of Intertextuality

A majority of writers borrow ideas from previous works to give a layer of meaning to their own works. In fact, when readers read the new text with
reflection on another literary work, all related assumptions, effects, and ideas of the other text provide them a different meaning, and changes
the technique of interpretation of the original piece. Since readers take influence from other texts, and while reading new texts they sift through
archives, this device gives them relevance and clarifies their understanding of the new texts. For writers, intertextuality allows them to open
new perspectives and possibilities to construct their stories. Thus, writers may explore a particular ideology in their narrative by discussing
recent rhetoric in the original text.

Intertextuality is the complex interrelationship between a text and other texts taken as basic to the creation or interpretation of the text
Intertextuality is the shaping of a text's meaning by another text. It is the interconnection between similar or related works of literature that reflect
and influence an audience's interpretation of the text.

Types of Intertextuality

1. Optional intertextuality has a less vital impact on the significance of the hypertext. It is a possible, but not essential, intertextual relationship
that if recognized, the connection will slightly shift the understanding of the text.[13] Optional Intertextuality means it is possible to find a
connection to multiple texts of a single phrase, or no connection at all.[6] The intent of the writer when using optional intertextuality, is to pay
homage to the 'original' writers, or to reward those who have read the hypotext. However, the reading of this hypotext is not necessary to the
understanding of the hypertext.

The use of optional intertextuality may be something as simple as parallel characters or plotlines. According to Emily Keller, J.K. Rowling's Harry
Potter series shares many similarities with J. R. R
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Keller says that they both apply the use of an aging wizard mentor (Professor Dumbledore and Gandalf) and a
key friendship group is formed to assist the protagonist (an innocent young boy) on their arduous quest to defeat a powerful wizard and to
destroy a powerful being.[17]

2. Accidental intertextuality is when readers often connect a text with another text, cultural practice or a personal experience, without there
being any tangible anchorpoint within the original text.[13] The writer has no intention of making an intertextual reference and it is completely
upon the reader's own prior knowledge that these connections are made.[18] Often when reading a book or viewing a film a memory will be
triggered in the viewers' mind. For example, when reading Herman Melville's 'Moby Dick', a reader may use his or her prior experiences to
make a connection between the size of the whale and the size of the ship.

Intertextuality (pronounced in-terr-text-yoo-a-lih-tee) is not a literary or rhetorical device, but rather a fact about literary texts – the fact that they
are all intimately interconnected. This applies to all texts: novels, works of philosophy, newspaper articles, films, songs, paintings, etc. In order
to understand intertextuality, it’s crucial to understand this broad definition of the word “text.”

Every text is affected by all the texts that came before it, since those texts influenced the author’s thinking and aesthetic choices. Remember:
every text (again in the broadest sense) is intertextual.

II. Examples of Intertextiality

Example 1

Fan fiction is a great example of deliberate intertextuality. In fan fiction, authors enter the fictional worlds of other authors and create their own
stories. For example, a Lord of the Rings fan fiction might tell the story of minor characters or add new characters to the world of Middle Earth.
Sometimes, fan fiction becomes extremely successful in its own right – 50 Shades of Grey was originally written as Twilight fan fiction.

Example 2

Martin Luther King’s writing was heavily influenced by the work of Mohandas Gandhi, especially in the area of nonviolent resistance. Much of this
intertextuality was deliberate, with King explicitly crediting Gandhi as one of his influences. Scholars, however, have debated whether there
might have been other aspects of Gandhi’s writing, such as his aesthetic style, that also influenced King in a more latent way.

III. Types of Intertextuality

a. Deliberate Intertextuality

Sometimes, intertextuality is the result of an author’s choice. When a heavy metal artist makes references to Norse mythology, or when a novelist
draws on the works of Shakespeare as inspiration, these choices forge a relationship between the old text and the new. We can call this
deliberate intertextuality.

b. Latent Intertextuality

Even when an author isn’t deliberately employing intertextuality, though, intertextuality is still there. You can’t escape it! Everything you’ve ever
seen or read sticks somewhere in your memory and affects your understanding of the world. They all contribute to building your specific
worldview which, in turn, determines how you write or create art. We can call this latent intertextuality.

Of course, since we can’t read an author’s mind, it’s not always easy to know the difference between deliberate and latent intertextuality. We might
find a similarity between two texts, but we have no way to know whether it was deliberate or accidental unless the author tells us!

IV. The Importance of Intertextuality

Intertextuality shows how much a culture can influence its authors, even as the authors in turn influence the culture. When you create a work of
art, literature, or scholarship, you are inevitably influenced by everything that you’ve seen or read up to that point. Even seemingly disparate
fields, such as music and philosophy, can exert a strong influence on each other through intertextuality – the philosopher Nietzsche, for
example, was heavily influenced by the early operas of Richard Wagner. Similarly, authors from different cultures and historical periods can
influence each other!

Intertextuality also shows how a similar cultural, religious, political, or moral ideology can be expressed in very different ways through different
cultural practices. For example, think about the way that art, music, literature, and philosophy all changed in the aftermath of World War I. This
earth-shattering event made people feel like nothing was stable or certain, and this was reflected in all aspects of artistic and scholarly pursuits.
Post-war paintings were far more abstract and chaotic; post-war philosophy was nearly obsessed with problems of evil and unpredictability;
post-war music was more formless and atonal; post-war novels questioned the rules of linear structure and chronology. Every aspect of the
society was affected by the events of this bloody war, and everything produced in
its aftermath shows plenty of latent (and sometimes deliberate) intertextuality.

V. Examples of Intertextuality in Literature

Example 1

James Joyce’s Ulysses was a deliberate retelling of Homer’s Odyssey, but transplanted out of ancient Greece into modern-day Dublin. The
various chapters in Joyce’s novel correspond to the adventures of Odysseus in Homer’s epic poem. For Joyce, the point of this deliberate
intertextuality was to show that ordinary people can experience something heroic in their everyday lives.

Example 2

Steven Pressfield’s novel The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was adapted into a movie starring Will Smith, was originally written as a re-telling of
the Hindu epic Bhagavad Gita – the name “Bagger Vance” is supposed to sound like “Bhagavad.” In the original Hindu epic, the god Krishna
discusses the importance of enlightenment and warrior virtues with Prince Arjuna – the novel/movie transplants this ancient story onto the
links of a golf course.
VI. Examples of Intertextuality in Pop Culture
Example 1

The actor Christopher Guest appeared in countless comedic movies in the 1980s, including such classics as The Princess Bride (1987) and This Is
Spinal Tap (1984). In the earlier film, he plays a heavy metal guitarist whose amplifier, as we learn in one scene, can be turned up to 11 instead
of the usual 10. Three years later, he appeared on screen again playing a man with 6 fingers on his right hand – the character had 11 fingers
instead of 10. Fans have wondered ever since whether this was a deliberate reference to Spinal Tap or just an accident: deliberate or latent

Example 2

Most people today have seen Star Wars, but many do not realize that it was intended to be an intertextual work, based on the psychological
theories of Joseph Campbell. Campbell wrote a book called Hero With a Thousand Faces, which describes a single, universal form of hero-
stories that appears in cultures all over the world. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, wanted to explore this idea of the cross-cultural
heroic ideal in the character of Luke Skywalker.

VII. Related Terms

External Allusion

Allusion is a particularly common form of deliberate intertextuality – it’s when one text makes a deliberate, but subtle, reference to another.


Citation is another common form of deliberate intertextuality – unlike allusion, it isn’t subtle at all! The point of a citation is to acknowledge, loud
and clear, that the author is borrowing an idea or phrase from someone else. Citation is about giving credit to the original author.


Plagiarism is stealing another person’s work without giving them proper credit. In formal essays, it’s important to cite your sources so that you
won’t be guilty of plagiarism.

Sometimes the line between latent intertextuality and plagiarism is muddy. For example, imagine a young comedian sees an older comedian on
stage at a club. Years later, the young comedian uses a joke that he heard that night – but he’s forgotten that he ever heard it! It was just lying
buried in his memory all those years until it came out when he was writing a new set of jokes. This is an accident, and it’s certainly latent
intertextuality. But it’s also plagiarism, even though it was accidental! That’s why it’s important to be very careful about using other people’s
texts in your own work.

Definition of Assertion

When someone makes a statement investing his strong belief in it, as if it is true, though it may not be, he is making an assertion. Assertion is a
stylistic approach or technique involving a strong declaration, a forceful or confident and positive statement regarding a belief or a fact. Often,
it is without proof or any support. Its purpose is to express ideas or feelings directly, for instance, “I have put my every effort to complete this
task today.”

Types of Assertion

Assertion has four types, including:

1. Basic Assertion

It is a simple and straightforward statement for expressing feelings, opinions, and beliefs such as:

“I wish I could have expressed this idea earlier, because now someone else has taken the credit.”
“Excuse me, first I want to finish my work, then I shall go with you.”

2. Emphatic Assertion

It conveys sympathy to someone, and usually has two parts: the first encompasses recognition of the feelings or situations of the other person,
and the second is a statement that shows support for the other person’s viewpoint, feelings, or rights such as:

“I understand you are busy, and me too, but it is difficult for me to finish this project on my own. So, I want you to help me complete this project.”
“I know this is making you angry and frustrated because you have not gotten a response yet. But I can help you by giving you an estimate of how
long it might take.”

3. Escalating Assertion
It occurs when someone is not able to give a response to a person’s basic assertions, and therefore that person becomes firm about him or her
such as:
“If you do not finish this work by 6:00 tonight, I I will engage the services of another worker.”
“I really want to finish this point before you start yours.”
4. Language Assertion

It involves the first person pronoun “I,” and is useful for expressing negative feelings. Nevertheless, it constructively lays emphasis on a person’s
feelings of anger such as:

“When you speak harshly, I cannot work with you because I feel annoyed. Therefore, I want you to speak nicely and then assign me a task.”
“When I don’t get enough sleep, it affects my nerves and I feel irritated. Therefore, I try to go to bed earlier.”

Examples of Assertion in Literature

Example #1: Animal Farm (By George Orwell)

In Animal Farm, pigs make use of assertion as a tool for making propaganda in the entire novel. This is to weaken the position of other animals,
preventing contradiction with their rules and leadership. In chapter seven, Squealer informs other animals that they need not sing the original
anthem of the Old Major, Beasts of England — a song they used to inspire the revolution in the chapter one. Squealer asserts, saying:

“It’s no longer needed, comrade … In Beasts of England we expressed our longing for a better society in days to come. However, that society has
now been established. Clearly this song has no longer any purpose.”

Look at his language where he gives them information that is obvious, which they have realized already, and no one can make arguments against
it. Thus, no one argued against his assertion.

Example #2: Pride and Prejudice (By Jane Austen)

Elizabeth conceals her surprise at the news of Darcy’s plan to marry her. When Lady Catherine objects to this marriage, as Bennets have low
connections and their marriage would ruin Darcy’s position before his friends and society, Elizabeth attempts to defend her family background
by asserting:

“I am a gentleman’s daughter.”

In fact, she sets herself free from the exasperating control of snobs like Miss Bingley, Mr. Collins, and Lady Catherine, and declares:

“I am … resolved.”

Then further says with assertion:

“… to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly
unconnected with me.”

Example #3: Cherry Orchard (By Anton Chekov)

Trofimov and Lopakhin exchange barbed words, and Lopakhin calls Trofimov an “eternal student.” When Lopakhin asks Trofimov’s views about
him, Trofimov replies that he considers Lopakhin as “a soon-to-be-millionaire,” and “a beast of prey.” Then, Gayev points towards the
conversation about pride the two men had earlier.

Trofimov asserts with reasoning about the folly of their pride, as man is a “pretty poor physiological specimen,” they are in misery, and “the only
thing to do is work.” Although, he was pessimistic about the current situation of humans, however, he starts feeling optimistic for their future.
He expresses this idea with assertion and rebukes Russian intellectuals, as they do not even know the meaning of work.

Example #4: Othello (By William Shakespeare)

“I never did
Offend you in my life, never loved Cassio
But with such general warranty of heaven
As I might love. I never gave him token.”

In these lines, Desdemona makes a dying assertion that she is innocent, denying Othello’s accusations. However, blinded by emotion and furious,
Othello is resolved to kill her.

Function of Assertion

The function of assertion is to let readers to feel that they should not disagree or dispute what they read or hear; rather, they should accept the
idea or notion as an indisputable fact. It has proved to be one of the best approaches for writers to express their personal feelings, beliefs, and
ideas in a direct way. By using this technique, writers can defend others’ feelings and rights if violated. This rhetorical style also expresses self-
affirmation and rational thinking of personal respect or worth. It is very common in various fields of life, like literature, politics, advertisements,
and legal affairs.