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Shakespeare Survey Shakespeare Survey
An Annual Survey of Shakespeare Studies and Production
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Cultural Materialism and Intertextuality: The Limits of Queer Reading in A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Two Noble Kinsmen

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2007

Peter Holland
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
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Summary

INTERTEXTUALITY

Deconstruction, appealing to the insights of Julia Kristeva, Roland Barthes and Michael Riffaterre, has sought to show that all boundaries are at best provisional, at worst false and deluding. The act of reading ‘plunges us into a network of textual relations’, Graham Allen expounds: ‘Meaning becomes something which exists between a text and all the other texts to which it refers and relates, moving out from the independent text into a network of textual relations’. The study of an author’s ‘sources’ may be rejuvenated by ideas of ‘intertextuality’. Stephen J. Lynch avers: ‘The old notion of particular and distinct sources has given way to new notions of boundless and heterogeneous intertextuality’. Indeed, ‘the sources themselves can be examined as products of intertextuality – endlessly complex, multilayered fields of interpretation that Shakespeare refashioned and reconfigured into alternative fields of interpretation’.

Kathryn Schwarz makes a valuable historical study of ideas and images of the Amazon in early modern representation. However, she appeals also to the Derridean principle of the supplement:

The multiplication of statements of desire [in A Midsummer Night’s Dream] opens those statements to interpretation: if the rhetoric of female homoeroticism sounds just like that of heteroeroticism, language, like masculinity, becomes portable, flexible in the ways that it defines and refers. A transition into heteroeroticism implies a possible transition out.

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Shakespeare Survey
An Annual Survey of Shakespeare Studies and Production
, pp. 67 - 78
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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