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Intertextuality is the shaping of a text’s meaning by another text. Intertextual figures include: allusion, quotation, calque, plagiarism, translation, pastiche and parody. Intertextuality is a literary device that creates an ‘interrelationship between texts’ and generates related understanding in separate works (“Intertextuality”, 2015). These references are made to influence the reader and add layers of depth to a text, based on the readers’ prior knowledge and understanding. Intertextuality is a literary discourse strategy (Gadavanij, n.d.) utilised by writers in novels, poetry, theatre and even in non-written texts (such as performances and digital media). Examples of intertextuality are an author’s borrowing and transformation of a prior text, and a reader’s referencing of one text in reading another.
Intertextuality does not require citing or referencing punctuation (such as quotation marks) and is often mistaken for plagiarism (Ivanic, 1998). Intertextuality can be produced in texts using a variety of functions including allusion, quotation and referencing (Hebel, 1989). However, intertextuality is not always intentional and can be utilised inadvertently. As philosopher William Irwin wrote, the term “has come to have almost as many meanings as users, from those faithful to Kristeva’s original vision to those who simply use it as a stylish way of talking about allusion and influence.”