Academic journal article IUP Journal of English Studies

Intertextual Dystopia of A Scanner Darkly: Philip K Dick's Novel and Richard Linklater's Movie Adaptation

Academic journal article IUP Journal of English Studies

Intertextual Dystopia of A Scanner Darkly: Philip K Dick's Novel and Richard Linklater's Movie Adaptation

Article excerpt

"It is as if one hemisphere of your brain is perceiving the world as reflected in a mirror-. Through a mirror. See? So leftbecomes right, and all that that implies. And we don' know yet what that does imply, to see the world reversed like that. Topologically speaking, a left-hand glove is a right-hand glove-pulled through infinity-."

"Maybe it's you," Fred said, "who're seeing the universe backward, like in a mirror. Maybe I see it right."

- Philip K Dick (1991, 212)

Intertextual Postmodernism

Presently, 'intertextuality' has many fans, but everybody understands it differently; ironically, the increasing number of publications has only added to the confusion of the term (Plett 1991, 3). Julia Kristeva has an influential role in the popularity and practice of intertextuality. By attacking work's isolation, she introduces the birth of a new kind of textuality. These new texts are infinitely flexible and manipulative because they shatter the readers' habitual understanding and experiencing. The new definition of textual system allows the reader to break offthe authority of what appears to be the main text into intertextual pathways, to the extent that the main text is forgotten. Intertext is of dual nature: being a text by itself, thus intratextual, and a text that relies on the structure of other texts, thus intertextual. Intertext has been defined as a text between other texts. A host of critics have explained the in-between quality of intertextuality. Bloom (1975, 3) declares that "[t]here are no texts, but only relationships between texts." This space between all texts is where reader/writer travels forever and forever. Barthes (1986, 58) calls it an "activity," a "production," a moment of in-between "traversal." Yet the explanation is very elusive since the author, the reader, and all the agents of communication have very different interpretations of "between" (Plett 1991, 5). What can reconcile different readings of "between" lies in the dialogic nature of intertextuality. What matters is the "gradual participation of the text in intertextuality and of the intertext in textuality" (Plett 1991, 6).

Despite her crucial role, Kristeva's definition of intertextuality is neither subtle nor systematic; she mostly intends to "revolutionize our notions of art, literature, text, and subjectivity" (Pfister 1991, 211). For Kristeva, intertextuality means "the transposition of elements from existent systems into new signifying relations" (Allen 2011, 113). To come to a theoretical solid ground, one can advocate Riffaterre's (1978) claim that intertextuality is not clear-cut poetics because it cannot distinguish between intratextual and intertextual. For him, intertextuality is mostly a theory of interpretation trying to represent, problematize, and sometimes solve the tension between these two poles. Jenny (1982, 44) sees intertextuality as "a new way of reading which destroys the linearity of the text." Intertextual reading creates an endless dialogue of taking the text either as an interrelational "segment" or "intellectual anamnesis where the intertextual reference appears like a paradigmatic element that has been displaced, deriving from a forgotten structure" (Jenny 1982, 44-45).

Postmodernism is proper site for intertextual practice since it "presents itself as a playful mise en scène of pre-given materials and devices" (Pfister 1991, 208). Discussing postmodernist literature, Pfister (1991, 208) highlights the illusive definition of "reality": reality cannot be experienced directly and immediately because when it reaches us, it is "always pre-structured by language, pre-formed by culture, and filtered through mass media." Hence, the definition of literature as the mirror of life and reality is challenged because the distorted reflections continue ad infinitum. So what will become of artistic creation? Fokkema (1984, 46) answers this fundamental question: "Postmodernist is convinced that the social context consists of words, and that each new text is written over an older one. …

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