|Title:||The Play of Reason and Discourse: Intertextual theory, cognitive science, computational linguistics, and identifying allusions in the works of Shakespeare||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Stephen Matsuba||Update Dissertation|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||University of York, Department of English|
|Completed in:||In Progress|
|Linguistic Subfield(s):||Computational Linguistics; Cognitive Science;|
|Abstract:||According to the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, an allusion is a '[t]acit reference to another literary work, to another art, to history, to contemporary figures, or the like' (Miner). The traditional assumption underlying this literary device has the author consciously drawing on various sources and influences to construct the 'reference' as a means of controlling the reading of the text. Therefore, to identify a passage as an allusion is, in effect, to privilege authorial intention. In contrast, poststructural literary theories speak not of sources and influences, but of intertext and intertextuality. These terms have a variety of meanings but I would like to focus on Riffaterre's, which defines the former as 'one or more texts which the reader must know in order to understand a work of literature in terms of its overall significance' and the latter as 'the web of functions that constitutes and regulates the relationships between text and intertext.' Moreover, he asserts that 'the one and only original meaning of a text is the one given to it by its first readers (whether or not that meaning coincides with the author's intention),' thereby reducing the notion of intentionality to a myth constructed by the reader. Under this paradigm, the author no longer controls meaning, but is subject to the cultural, political, and temporal environment of the reader.
It is now time to re-examine the concept of allusion in a poststructural climate. Unlike earlier studies of allusion, which have been the product of scholars cataloging and analysing what they considered to be allusions in the texts, this dissertation will examine the processes which various critics have used to identify allusions and will discuss the implications of this device for intertextual theory. An allusion is 'found' when some aspect of the combination of words within a passage triggers the critic to perceive a connection between it and another text, and to find significance in that connection. Therefore, I will not discuss allusion as an exclusively literary or linguistic phenomenon but as a synthesis of the two approaches. My goal is to develop an outline for a computational linguistic model of allusion that deals with the concerns of poststructuralist literary theory.