Intertextual Loops in Modern Drama

Intertextual Loops in Modern Drama

Intertextual Loops in Modern Drama

Intertextual Loops in Modern Drama


Kiebuzinska, who teaches modern drama, comparative literature, and film at Virginia Tech, considers intertextuality in modern drama. In nine essays, she examines the connections between the works of modern playwrights such as Kundera, Jelinek, and Hampton and the texts of earlier writers such as Did


This “l” which approaches the text is already itself a plurality of
other texts, of codes which are infinite or, more precisely, lost

—Roland Barthes, S12

THIS COLLECTION OF ESSAYS ON INTERTEXTUAL CIRCUITS AND LOOPS IN twentieth-century drama represents my continuing attraction as a comparatist to the infinite possibilities that create relationships between texts. But as Roland Barthes observes, this “I” that is making these connections already represents “a plurality of other texts,” some of which are connected to my training as a comparatist, others to the fact that I was born a comparatist. By that I mean that my childhood represents “a typical European education” of displacement, sudden collisions with other cultures, emigration, and perpetual triangulation. I was a child born during World War II, and my first memories are connected to travel away from the familiar to the unfamiliar and unrecognizable. As refugees from war-torn Western Ukraine, my family, amidst thousands of refugees fleeing for more or less the same reasons, traversed Hungary and Czechoslovakia, and ultimately arrived in November of 1944 in Berlin just in time for the most spectacular fireworks I’ve ever seen.

I was but four years old and could not yet understand why I had been torn out of my familiar world, Zosia, my “nania,” my toys, and the children’s books my father read to me. Similarly, I wasn’t aware that I was living through what can be called a grand historical narrative, or that the flares that accompanied nightly bombings were in any way connected to the shrill whistle that the bombs themselves made. Consequently, any memory comes from representation and the close scrutiny of the few personal residues of my past. In a sense I learned about my past through the movies, the many recreations of World War II made in Hollywood. But since these were clearly made from one perspective, I had to fill in those parts that did not “show” my experience. In many ways, the past as reflected by this doubled memory is akin to Vladimir Nabokov’s observation in The . . .

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