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Literary symbiosis : the reconfigured text in twentieth-century writing / David Cowart.

Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, [1993] .
ISBN 0820315443, 9780820315447

Location Call Number Status Consortium Loan
George Washington
Gelman stacks
PN771 .C647 1993 Available Request
Shared E-Resources Collection - Available to All
Shared Electronic Book
WRLC Shared Collections Facility
PN771 .C647 Off-site
George Mason
Fenwick stacks
PN771 .C647; 1993 Available Request
Off-Campus Shelving
PN771 .C647 1993 Available Request
PN771 .C647 1993
Founders Library stacks
PN771 .C647 1993 Available Request
Subjects Criticism -- History -- 20th century.
Critique -- Histoire -- 20e siècle.
Crítica -- Historia -- Siglo XX.
Influence (Literary, artistic, etc.)
Influence littéraire, artistique, etc.
Influencia (Literaria, artística, etc.)
Literature, Modern -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
Literature, Modern.
Littérature -- 20e siècle -- Histoire et critique.
Description xii, 232 pages ; 25 cm
Copyright Date [1993]
Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 209-219) and index.
Summary ""It is only the unimaginative who ever invents," Oscar Wilde once remarked. "The true artist is known by the use he makes of what he annexes, and he annexes everything." Conveying a similar awareness, James Joyce observed in Finnegan's Wake that storytelling is in reality "stolentelling," that art always involves some sort of "theft" or borrowing." "Usually literary borrowings are so integrated into the new work as to be disguised; however, according to David Cowart, recent decades have seen an increasing number of texts that attach themselves to their sources in seemingly parasitic - but, more accurately, symbiotic - dependence. It is this kind of mutuality that Cowart examines in his wide-ranging and richly provocative study Literary Symbiosis. Cowart considers, for instance, what happens when Tom Stoppard, in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, rewrites Hamlet from the point of view of its two most insignificant characters, or when Jean Rhys, in Wide Sargasso Sea, imagines the early life of Bertha Rochester, the madwoman in the attic in Jane Eyre."
"In such works of literary symbiosis, Cowart notes, intertextuality surrenders its usual veil of near invisibility to become concrete and explicit - a phenomenon that Cowart sees as part of the postmodern tendency toward self-consciousness and self-reflexivity. He recognizes that literary symbiosis has some close cousins and so limits his compass to works that are genuine reinterpretations, writings that cast a new light on earlier works through "some tangible measure of formal or thematic evolution, whether on the part of the guest alone or the host and guest together." Proceeding from this intriguing premise, he offers detailed readings of texts that range from Auden's "The Sea and the Mirror," based on The Tempest, to Valerie Martin's reworking of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as Mary Reilly, to various fictions based on Robinson Crusoe. He also considers, in Nabokov's Pale Fire, a compelling example of text and parasite-text within a single work." "Drawing on and responding to the ideas of disparate thinkers and critics - among them Freud, Harold Bloom, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Hillis Miller, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. - Cowart discusses literary symbiosis as Oedipal drama, as reading and misreading, as deconstruction, as Signifying, and as epistemic dialogue. Although his main examples come from the contemporary period, he refers to works dating as far back as the classical era, works representing a range of genres (drama, fiction, poetry, opera, and film). The study of literary symbiosis, Cowart contends, can reveal much about the dynamics of literary renewal in every age. If all literature redeems the familiar, he suggests, literary symbiosis redeems the familiar in literature itself."--Jacket.
Contents Tradition, talent, and "stolentelling" -- Tragedy and the "post-absurd" : Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are dead -- Patriarchy and its discontents : Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso sea -- Proleptic parody : Pale fire -- Fathers and rats : Mary Reilly and The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -- The sexual and cultural other in Peking and Nagasaki : Hwang's M. Butterfly and the operatic host -- Adrian and Francisco ar gay : Auden reading Shakespeare -- Epistemic dialogue : Defoe, Cozzens, Tournier, Coetzee -- Stretto conclusion : the lyric symbiont.
Genre Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Network Numbers (OCoLC)27186960
WorldCat Search OCLC WorldCat
WorldCat Identities Cowart, David, 1947-
Publication timeline, list of works, related names and subjects and other information


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