chapter  5
22 Pages

Presupposition and Intertextuality

Suppose that you had to explain to an outsider, a stranger from a culture that knew nothing about such matters, why you are reading this page. It would not be an easy task, for you would have to explain, in general terms, why people read works of literary theory, what sort of expectations bring them to engage in this activity and what expectations they bring to it. If we were to tell this stranger that a discussion of literary criticism is expected to instruct us in some aspect of the study of literature, we should not have done much to advance his understanding, for we should still have to tell him something about the discursive space or order of words which we call ‘literary criticism’ and explain that a book or essay should, within this framework, offer significant propositions.