Intertextuality, influence and the postmodern
in Salman Rushdie
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Attention to the epic, oral, filmic, televisual and photographic models employed in Rushdie's novels give some indication of the referential range of his fiction – but the above account has by no means exhausted the potential list of Rushdie's influences. Rushdie's reasons for practising such a referential artform may be explained in various ways; but certainly one of the central explanations must be that Rushdie writes in this way because he believes, and because he wishes to assert that he believes, that the act of authorial creation does not happen in a vacuum, is not the product of an inspired moment of original genius, but depends upon, indeed springs from, innumerable preceding acts of authorial (and artistic) creation effected by other writers, storytellers, artists and intellectuals. This chapter begins with a discussion of Barthes' theory of intertextuality and Rushdie's theory of influence, and then considers how postmodernism is useful to Rushdie.


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