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Course 2 Formalist and Structuralist Approaches of the Text

Considered the father of modern linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure traditionally represents the starting point in any discussion about text, meaning or intertextuality. He achieved a shift in interest from a diachronic study of language towards a synchronic approach, regarding language as a system of signs based on a set of rules and conventions which enables the speaker to shape his thoughts and use the language. In his analysis of language he distinguishes between langue (the set of rules and codes governing the language) and parole (the actual use of language) and when speaking about langue he introduces his theory on the linguistic sign. Saussure demonstrates that language is, at any moment, a coherent structure where the integer elements are not pre-existent to the relations they establish within the system. He first focuses upon speech which he regards as primary in comparison with writing which is only a derivation. The Course in General Linguistics establishes the definition of the linguistic sign as the combination of the signified (a concept) and a signifier (the image or sound conveying it); the sign is arbitrary that is there is no logical connection between signified and signifier, it is non-referential (there is no objective link between signs and real entities) and differential (it requires a choice of words from a syntagmatic / combinatory and a paradigmatic / selective axis of language) having no meaning of its own. The arbitrary nature of the sign explains in turn why the social fact alone can create a linguistic system. The community is necessary if values that owe their existence solely to usage and general acceptance are to be set up. Meaning is produced not in relation with something exterior and referential but it originates in the differences between signs being a matter of coding and decoding. Saussure provided the idea of a systematic organisation of language which will later on be applied to text and literary analyses. If language is regarded as a systematic organisation of signs then the literary text, in its turn, came to be seen from the same perspective as a system functioning according to a certain set of rules; meaning becomes a social construct in the process of production and reception of a literary text. Interested in signs and their function, Saussure terms semiology (gr. semeion) the science studying the role of signs as part of social life. For him the sign has several functions and features: it can designate an exterior referent without this one being related either to the signified or to the signified, it establishes relations with other signs and its power of suggestion is influenced by all these relations. It has been often said that Saussures work, maybe more than anything, relates to intertextuality and its problems of originality, intertexts and paratexts, re-writing and references due to the fact that, in spite of the fame and acknowledged reputation of the Course in General Linguistics, it was not, however, written by Saussure himself. It is a collective work of gathering notes and annotations, an attempt to reconstruct the Course from the notes taken by Saussures students. It is only symbolic that one of the starting points in studying intertextuality is a work whose writing implied a massive work of shaping a text by using its paratexts, intertexts and metatexts. Roman Jakobson is considered to be the linguist who actually marks the passage from linguistics to literary theory. He starts from the analysis of the difference between poetic and non-poetic language and he defines this difference in linguistic terms; while studying the rhetoric figures and trying to define literariness, that is discovering the ingredients which transform a verbal utterance into a work of art, he places metaphor and metonymy at the core of the literary discourse. Jakobson speaks about the poetic language as about an organised violence imposed upon the ordinary speech. In his opinion, any verbal act and implicitly any text, implies the presence of an addresser (producer), an addressee (receiver/ reader), a context (the exterior reality to which the text refers), a message (meaning of the text), a contact (relation author - reader) and a code (a set of graphic signs, literary conventions, etc. in the case of the text). The relations established among all these elements give rise to a set of functions which have been transferred to literature and text theory.


MESSAGE ADRESSER..................................................................ADDRESSEE CONTACT CODE When focussing upon the addresser, the function of language is an emotive one (EXPRESSIVE) responsible with rendering the speakers attitude towards his utterance. It can be more or less marked by use of interjections, asides, apostrophes which, in the case of the text, entails the readers involvement into what is being narrated. The function directed towards the addressee is the CONATIVE function which most of the time takes the form of vocatives and imperatives demanding a direct implication of the addressee. The context gives rise to the REFERENTIAL function, the one revealing a denotative and cognitive feature whereas the contact directed function is the PHATIC one susceptible to sustain and prolong the act of communication. When the stress is placed on code, the function acquires a METALINGUAL aspect and the message oriented function is the POETIC one. Roger Fowler goes even further than Jakobson, beyond the formalist view upon the text. Besides acknowledging the text as a formal structure with recognisable and analysable syntactic, morphological and phonetic features Fowler also admits the interactional dimensions of the text highlighting the relations the text establishes with its context, its social and ideological environment. The text is seen now not only as written analysable speech but mainly as an intermediary element between language and users also involving problems of consciousness, ideology and class. Texts (other than hegemonic texts) are often plural, containing a mix of registers, dialects and sociolects woven together, represented economically by significant details of structure which encourage readers to construct a fuller picture of each whole variety in their imaginations. Where the mixture is obvious and explicit, and there appears to be a purpose to mixing the varieties, a text may be called using a term from Bakhtins dialogic theory of literature heteroglossic. Bakhtin, adept of the formalist school, is considered, along with Ferdinand de Saussure, father of the discipline. He introduces the idea of the text as combination and association of cultural signs moving the focus from language as an abstract system to the world of the text seen as the intersection of a diversity of systems: social, cultural, political, historical, etc. The shift operated by Bakhtin is from linguistics to the social and to the literary sign. Mikhail Bakhtin is among the first theoreticians to have established the basic concepts of trans-subjectivity, which he will later on call intertextuality, placing a special emphasis on such terms as carnivalesque, dialogic principle and heteroglossia which define it. Before him the Formalists had already established the basic principles upon which the future field will be built; In Bakhtins opinion no text can exist outside intertextuality since no text can ignore the way in which certain plots, narrative or poetical forms and fictional materials were previously used. The text becomes from this point of view an open universe where different voices, cultural elements and discourses are intermingled. According to the dialogical principle the text becomes a polyphony of discourses and its author seems to be a collector of voices rather than a creator. The idea of dialogism implies the two-sided aspect of any utterance involving an addresser and an addressee (author - reader) and the fact that language is shaped by intentionality and orientation. The carnivalesque is presented as a form of comic intertextuality; the symbol of the carnival is brought forth to illustrate the opposition between one and the many, between monologism and dialogism and becomes emblematic for Bakhtins idea of intertextuality. The carnival as popular manifestation implies relativisation of values, reversal of hierarchies, mixture of opposites and unsanctioned transgression of boundaries, abolishment of authority or seriousness and proclamation of the parodic and the mocking. The dialogic principle of language is taken as a systematic criterion in distinguishing between poetry and fiction and as a historical criterion in speaking about phases in the novels development. The ensuing concept of heteroglossia (gr. hetero other and glot tongue, voice) is defined as anothers speech in anothers language and is treated as the basic condition governing the process of creating meaning in any type of utterance. The language of the novel is in fact a system of languages that mutually influence each other. These languages are organized into one unitary dialogical movement while separate languages are located at different distances from the unifying artistic and ideological centre of the novel. Heteroglossia serves to express the authorial intentions in an indirect way; it is illustrated by what Bakhtin calls the double-voiced

discourse which gives voice both to the speaking characters intentions and to the authors. The double-voiced discourse is always internally dialogized. This combination of voices, world-views and ideologies, of discourses and literary codes is generally termed as polyphony. When operating on a fictional level it excludes the authorial voices focusing upon the characters voices as in Dostoevskys or Dickenss novels; it also involves the use of parodic reworkings so that any text can be used as a weapon against absolutist worldviews. Bakhtin sees this internal dialogization of the text, equated to hybridity, as a deliberate endeavour, part of and imitation of the dynamics of language. What is hybridity? It is a mixture of two social languages within the limits of a single utterance, an encounter, within the arena of an utterance, between two different linguistic consciousnesses, separated from one another by an epoch, by social differentiation or by some other factor. Such mixing of two languages within the boundaries of a single utterance is, in the novel, an artistic device for more accurately a system of devices that is deliberate. Marxist theorists focus upon the texts relations to history and society, representing the text either as a reflection of a certain ideology or as a means of adjusting an ideological point to literary aims while the adept of the next movement, structuralism, shift the stress back to language and the internal structure of a text viewed more or less as detached from its socio-historical context. With all these theorists ideology becomes one of the most important elements in shaping literary texts. Based on Hegels views of a world governed by thought and Reason that also participates in the unfolding of History and on Marxs ideas of any human endeavour being generated by the socio-economic and historical context, Marx introduces in text analysis the metaphor of the superstructure of ideology, culture and politics built upon a socio-economic base. For him, culture is linked to the historical conditions of human evolution being determined by economic relations; he also takes into account the relative autonomy of art, able to create and establish a standard and unattainable ideal when based on some of its most important features: timelessness and universality. The Marxist school of critical thought found its numerous adepts who continued and developed many of its principles. Based on Saussures linguistic theory, the structuralist movement is the one that dominates almost half of the twentieth century starting with the 1960s and the one that influenced all the other major critical schools. It challenges some of the traditional categories author, truth, relations between and inside texts, etc. The author loses his role as generator of a text which is accordingly shaped by its producers feelings, ideas and autobiographical data while truth as preceding the text is destroyed and the notion of text significance is multiplied. The text itself becomes with Barthes a combination of previous texts whose intertextual relations and connections only deepen and enrich its meaning. Barthes defines structuralism as the metalanguage of our culture as its main interest is language Structuralism adopts Saussures arbitrariness of the sign and the idea of a systematic organisation of language that could be applied beyond linguistic units. Among the structuralists, Tzvetlan Todorov is the one who promotes a grammar of literature which he calls poetics while Roland Barthes applies the Saussurean principles on any type of human endeavour, be it artistic or casual activity. Theorists like Propp, Greimas, Lvi-Stauss, Todorov and Barthes try to device a narratology and narrative grammar that should change the perspective upon text and text interpretation. The analogy between syntax in linguistics and narrative syntax in literature is emphasised by Vladimir Propp who applies linguistic categories when building his theory on the Russian fairy-tale; he speaks about a subject (character), predicate (main action) of the narrative and a set of functions relating them (actions and relations). Continuing these ideas in a different field, Claude Lvi-Strauss analyses myths according to linguistic rules, organising them into systems of binary oppositions and extending this type of structural analysis to other forms of artistic productions. Propps narratological model is once more continued by A.J.Greimas who applies it to other literary genres besides fairy-tale establishing three basic binary oppositions of actants (subject / object, sender / receiver, helper / opponent) and their correspondent functions (contractual, performative and disjunctive). Todorov transforms linguistic rules into narrative principles of organisation mainly grouped on two levels: sequence (embedding, linking or alternating sentences) and text (combinations of sequences). Genette redefines the formalist distinction between story and plot into story discourse narration with their correspondent elements: tense, mood and voice. In his narratological approach of the text he establishes three binary oppositions: diegesis / mimesis (linked to problems of representation), narration / description and narrative / discourse.

Structuralism seems to continue the formalist approach of creating a science of literature based on systems of signs and rules of organisation; the criticism it received regards its exclusion of the social context but the passage towards poststructuralism attenuates this aspect. While focusing upon general problems of interpretation and establishing universal rules of literary practice they cease to concentrate upon the analysis of individual texts. Starting from Saussures linguistic principles and treatment of language as a system, he speaks about the literary work as being produced by a whole process of selection and combination of elements within a system. In his opinion the literary critic is a bricoleur, a person creating new things by combining pre-existent ones, engaged in the literary field in breaking down the text into small, essential units which he combines with other already existing elements and rearranges them according to literary laws. As a faithful adept of structuralism Genette believes that the signification can be wholly explained by a description and analysis of the units of the text. After Bakhtin who is considered to be the first one to establish the bases of intertextuality as a literary field seen from the perspective of structural poetics, Genette is the critic who continues the study and terms the field as transtextuality understood as the relationship of copresence established among two or several texts. In order to define the concept, he speaks about certain aspects of the Text which cast a new light upon the field of poetics. Transtextuality as textual transcendence includes imitation, transformation, classification of types of discourses, etc. The domain ceases to focus upon the stable division of the text into elementary units and shifts the stress upon the relations established between the text and the architext (a general structure out of which the text is extracted and derives its meaning). Architextuality represents the totality of the literary categories that engender a text; finally it represents all that sets the text in a relationship, whether obvious or concealed with other texts. In trying to define transtextuality, Genette establishes the following five types among which he includes intertextuality: intertextuality refers to the relation established between two or several texts, represented by quotation, plagiarism and allusion paratextuality refers to the texts relations with everything which is placed in its vecinity helping the readers understanding; Genette also divides the paratext into peritext (subtitle, prefaces, notes, dedications) and epitext (interviews, reviews, comments), into autobiographic paratexts (written by the author) and allographic paratexts (by the editor). The first two types of paratexts are meant, in Genettes opinion, to establish the texts goals and intentions while the second pair is interested in inciting the reader to consume the text. Finally, the paratext is considered to be the zone between text and non-text, what Genette calls hors-text. architextuality refers to the texts relations with genre, subgenre, themes and the readers expectations; it acknowledges the text as belonging to a specific literary genre. metatextuality refers to a text speaking about itself, to a texts self-theorisation. hypertextuality designates a relationship established between a hypertext (a literary product) and a hypotext (a previous text) upon which it is grafted in a manner that is not that of the commentary but which is represented by irony, pastiche, translation and caricature. Following the same literary principles, Tzvetan Todorov denies the autonomous character of the literary text trying to define literariness. His approach intends to suggests a theory of the structures and functioning of literary discourse, a theory that affords a list of literary possibilities, so that existing literary works appear as achieved particular cases. Julia Kristeva comes into the theoretical field in the 1960s, after a period of transition and cristallisation of ideas in literary criticism. She appears at the time when the structuralism based on Saussures ideas was being critically envisaged and slightly shifted towards what will later be termed poststructuralism. Together with Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, Phillip Sollers, Kristeva is another important theoretician to make public her ideas in the French magazine Tel Quel. By publishing their articles in this magazine, they declare themselves against the idea of stable significance, devising a theory where the text is seen not as an individual entity, original and unique but as a combination of different previous, already existing discourses/texts. For Kristeva, a text is a permutation of texts, an intertextuality: in the space of a given text, several utterances, taken from other texts, intersect and neutralise each other. She establishes a semanalysis meant to focus upon the text as a process of production involving author - reader - text rather than as a product to be consumed. In her opinion, everything in the social practice is organised as a sign-system similar to the

linguistic model; the same distinction between signifier and signified operates in the case of any social function. Kristeva is the one who familiarises the English public with the work of the Russian theoretician Mikhail Bakhtin (in her essay Word, Dialogue and Novel) and based on his work and Saussures ideas she introduces the concept of intertextuality; her re-workings of Bakhtins theories display a higher degree of abstractness and generality. According to her, a text can be defined in terms of practice and productivity, referring to the status of a text as the field of the struggle between different ideological discourses and world views. Being considered among the first theoreticians to have established the bases of intertextuality, she is also the one who introduces and develops a series of useful concepts for the new discipline. ideologeme is a concept that emphasises the fact that the texts structure and meaning are not specific to itself but pertain to a social context; it acknowledges the inherent relations established between the text and the historical, social, economical and cultural conditions of its production. The ideologeme of a novel becomes the intertextual function given by an extra-novelistic textual set and acknowledged within the novelistic textual set. Meaning as a signifying process represents the object of study of semanalysis for whose understanding Kristeva introduces the concepts of phenotext and genotext. phenotext is meant to designate the language of communication, the voice of a singular, unified subject, clear and unequivocal; it is characteristic for rational, scientific, official writings representing the signifying process as it presents itself to phenomenological intuition. genotext designates that aspect of a text resistant to social standards, breaking conventions and violating norms; it disturbs and undermine the phenotext being compared by Kristeva to the chaotic, uncontrollable body drives. It is defined as the release and subsequent articulation of the drives as constrained by the social code yet not reducible to the language system. In replacing transtextuality/intersubjectivity with intertextuality Kristeva envisages texts as mosaics of quotations where every text is the absorption and transformation of another by virtue of translinguistic procedures. She deals once more with the Bakhtinian concepts of dialogue and ambivalence taking them as essential elements in the understanding of the duality of language and the intertextual relationships. She sees ambivalence as the insertion of history (society) into a text and of this text into history while dialogue is explained as pertaining to the carnivalesque which replaces causal relations with symbolic ones. Michael Riffaterre contributed to the enlargement of the concepts operating within the field of intertextuality. He introduces the concept of referential fallacy when arguing that a text is basically nonreferential in that it does not refer to objects of the exterior world but to inter-texts. Unlike the structuralist poetics professed by Genette, which disseminates the texts uniqueness, Riffaterres textual analysis tries to discover and acknowledge it. He devises a theory of reading based on two different movements: a linear and mimetic one relating signs to their external referents and a non-linear reading focused on semiotic units and intertextual relations. Roland Barthes is the one who brings forth new aspects in the theory of textuality and intertextuality and opens a whole debate concerning the text viewed in relation to its author and reader. He starts from the Text as the basis of his entire theory; his endeavour is that of destabilising the traditional position of the Author as an almighty God governing His entire creation and presents him as a compiler making use of a literary tradition that he appropriated abiding to a literary canon and adjusting it to a particular social reality, worldview and thinking system. He proceeds to a redefinition of the Text defining it as a multidimensional space, a tissue of quotations, the phenomenal surface of the literary work seen both in its materiality as a material signifier (representing a palpable object, written on paper, susceptible to be sold, acquired and consumed) and in its abstract form as a signified through the meaning it wants to transmit. He equates the relation between signified and signifier with that relating Text to Work and Speech to Writing. Focusing upon the disruptive, playful, multiple aspect of writing, Barthes redefines the concept of work as the material object which can be analysed and interpreted; on the other hand, text becomes the place where the signifiers are at work through the disruptive force of writing. The Pleasure of the Text (1975) establishes another distinction between text of bliss (jouissance) and text of pleasure (plaisir) corresponding to two types of intertextuality one generating boredom due to a certain saturation of cultural codes and the other giving pleasure due to a stress laid on plurality and disruption. This distinction corresponds to the opposition doxa paradoxa. For Barthes doxa pertains to the stereotypical, to what is already written and read, to the representational and the denotative, finally, to Bakhtins monologic; paradoxa implies the abolishment of the stereotypical, highlighting the active intertextuality.

Intertextuality starts from a theory of the text as it represents a plurality of discourses and meanings interwoven in a single tissue-like structure; intertextuality does not reside in sources and influences as it is usually misrepresented and misunderstood; it is related to the notions of text and context. Intertextuality is related to and expressed by the idea that nothing exists outside the text. Along with text and author, the whole concept of meaning is altered. It does not irradiate any longer from an author but represents the play of a multitude of signifiers. Textual analysis is made according to some codes located within the text; they represent associative fields that supra-textual organization of notations which impose a certain idea of structure. They illustrate a dja-lu and dja-fait awaiting to be re-discovered. hermeneutic code providing means of interpretation of enigmas in the text code of the sme including connotations helpful in the understanding of both characters and action symbolic code containing binary oppositions and symbolic patterns proairetic code according to which all actions are combined into sequences cultural code related to human knowledge shaped by a whole set of factors (education, history, society); intertextuality is also placed here. This code include in its turn: a scientific sub-code, rhetorical (rules of narrative, discourse), chronological (linked to dating and establishing points of reference and an ideology of time) and socio-historical code (knowledge about society and its ideology). In Barthess opinion, writing becomes the meeting point of all these codes. Within the duality consumer/reader, the latter is able to perform a proper textual analysis because he is ready to accept and play with the relativisation and pluralisation of meaning. He reshapes the relations established between author, reader and text. The readers endeavour will be to locate the avenues of meaning, to identify the signs, codes, and other related texts which might produce it and thus, to acknowledge the plurality of a text that cannot be limited according to Barthes, to no definite framework or meanings by any reader, author or critic. He considers the reader as the place where intertextuality is obvious; he is the one who insures a sense of unity and destination to the multiple voices within the text. Barthes challenges the idea of the Author as the unique, unquestionable source of the text. The traditionally accepted image was that of the author offering his work as a finite product, entirely coherent and unitary since generated by a coherent source, as a boby, a gift, a personal perspective upon reality. Barthess opinion is that the text, far from being the unitary product of a God-like Author, is in fact a combination of voices, discourses, and inter-texts which go beyond the traditionally accepted image of the author as producer of a certain coherent message transmitted trough the text. The writer becomes the one able to select from what is already said and written, the proper material for his text which is turned into a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. For Barthes the idea of the Death of the Author destroys the myth of filiation and gives examples of blurring the preeminence of the author in Prousts novels and in Mallarms poetic work.