chapter  6
Roxolana’s Memoirs as a Garden of Intertextual Delight
ByMaryna Romanets
Pages 16

Oscar Wilde’s celebrated statement, “It is only the unimaginative who ever invents. The true artist is known by the use he makes of what he annexes, and he annexes everything,”1 prefigures Roland Barthes’s no less famous conceptualization of every text as a “tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture.”2 Barthes defines any creative act as an absorption or transformation of earlier existing narratives and discourses into new configurations. Although attaching a text to various precursors is doubtless part of the postmodern tendency towards self-reflexivity and self-consciousness, intertextuality, as a strategy to negotiate a way though a “network of previous forms and representations,”3 plays a particularly significant role within contemporary Ukrainian literature. Along with its own extensively developed but to a considerable extent disjunctive and fragmented tradition, Ukrainian writing has inherited various forms of imperial cultural practices and discourses, simultaneously being subjected to multicultural influxes and products of both neocolonial expansion and globalization. The subversive postcolonial stance of postindependence Ukrainian literary practices reaches beyond the postmodern limits of deconstructing existing orthodoxies into the domain of social and political action to conceive, through textual politics, a political strategy of empowerment and enunciation. By questioning the homogeneity of grand narratives and thus resisting closure, the ongoing project of artistic and literary decolonization in Ukraine makes all kinds of histories open to revision, rewriting, and contestation. These competing discourses, none of which can claim any greater reliability than other contenders, are being continuously engaged in epistemic dialogues with a diverse array of intertexts that carry on a process of textual disruption, imitation, and modification.