How to Use Intertextuality
How you employ another text in your work depends on what you want to do with it. Do you want to pay homage to a great author like Homer or Shakespeare? Then try re-staging their stories in a new setting. If, on the other hand, you want to spoof those authors, then take whatever is silly or humorous about them and exaggerate it in a parody.
Remember that intertextuality is not limited to texts of the same type. This is important since many of the most sophisticated uses of deliberate intertextuality are those that cut across different mediums and styles. For example, have you ever tried to paint a piece of music? Or write a story based on a philosophical idea? Getting inspiration in this way is a great way to include intertextuality in your writing or art.
When to Use Intertextuality
Obviously, your writing and art will be intertextual whether you want them to be or not. Latent intertextuality is inescapable! But when should you employ deliberate intertextuality?
Deliberate intertextuality has a place both in creative writing and formal essays. In creative writing, it’s a great way to get inspiration for stories. You can draw on other authors’ stories and characters, or you can use other art forms to get inspiration. Either way, when you make deliberate references to these other works you are employing intertextuality.
In formal essays, deliberate intertextuality is a key part of the research process. When you cite a source, you are taking a little chunk of someone else’s text and building it into your own argument. Obviously, you want this intertextuality to be deliberate – if it’s latent, then that means you’re not citing your sources, which is very poor form in an essay!