6/1030: What is Intermediality? Part II

I’m going to warn again that this is still not a complete definition. I still have a lot of reading and thinking to do before I have that definition. I definitely wouldn’t be able to do a complete overview of the theory anyway, but it would be nice if one of these posts in the near future finally does the work it’s supposed to with getting a clear definition of the term.

I suppose it’s going to be a challenge, since as Irina Rajewsky points out in her 2005 article “Intermediality, Intertextuality, and Remediation” ‘intermediality’ has served as an umbrella-term “[f]rom its beginnings” (44). Part of this is due to its role as subject in many different disciplines, each with its own methods and objectives. The term is subject to “heterogeneous conceptions,” which I won’t deny is my strength, since that is what allows me to access it. However, to work with it, one should have a clear understanding.

I’ve said that before, but perhaps this time more clearly.

It helps that that is exactly what Rajewsky makes the purpose of her article: “to specify and to position my own particular conception of intermediality, a conception based in (though not limited to) literary studies” (45). It also helps that we both come from a literary studies background.

To propose her definition, Rajewsky, like I tried in my last post, moves from broad to focussed. Intermediality “may serve foremost as a generic term for all those phenomena that […] take place between media” (46). This conception requires the critic to consider the distinction of this kind of mediality to intra-and trans- mediality. I honestly don’t know if I can do that yet. That goes on my list of things-to-do. Another thing that goes on my to-do list is to review Julia Kristeva’s theory of intertextuality, because theorists tend to look at intermediality as a form of intertextuality- but between other media as well as between other texts. But it’s good I also plan to look more at media-theoretical and media-philosophical texts, since that’s going to unlock some of the reception theory I need to explain to show the significance of those media forms the authors chose to use.

What I can already do now, however, is determine where my understanding of intermediality falls in the intermediality debate, initially portrayed as a binary by Dr. Rajewsky between “fundamental condition or category” and “critical category for the concrete analysis of specific individual media projects or configurations” (47). Given the proposed project, I am considering intermediality as a universal state of being, and thus I fall into the former debate group.

As Rajewsky continues, she adds a third possibility for looking at intermediality, and that is by looking at the intermedial phenomena per se, looking at is as an intermedial phenomenon- determining its level of intermediality and thereby determining its function. I don’t really know what that means. I guess it would be that a reader finding an intermedial reference in a piece of text to a moving picture, would recognize it as such, and then would realize the power of the moving image in a text. This is where Medienerkenntnis and understanding the various functions of media comes in. But how many readers do this? This is the work of a critic. I sort of fall into this camp, too. But  I am mostly the first camp and therefore interested in “the formation of a given medium,[…] and on medial transformation processes” (49). Or something.

I’m going to continue this tomorrow, since I need to sit back and think about this some more. (I also need to finish the article).

Work Cited: Rajewsky, Irina O.. “Intermediality, Intertextuality, and Remediation: A Literary Perspective on Intermediality.” Intermédialités, no. 6, 2005 , pp. 43-64.

side note: wtf? Who changed MLA citation style, and why wasn’t informed?!

Footnote: I thought I was being unique in identifying the connections between intermediality and heteroglossia/dialogism. But I suppose, it would be obvious to anyone who understands Bakhtin.

Disclaimer: this series is a collection of brainstorms and free-writes that are a part of my planning for actual text in my dissertation. Therefore, I am giving myself the liberty to make mistakes, make assumptions (call me out on offensive ones, though!), not tie up loose ends, and generally not make any sense. 

Copyright 2016 Dorothea Trotter: because these writings are planning for actual text in my dissertation, some of this will appear in my dissertation. I hold the right to the words in this post and require that interested parties ask for permission before copying the words or ideas too closely. Obviously, the date of posting is the date of copyright and I reserve the right to challenge suspected plagiarism in my future dissertation submission using these blogs as proof of originality. 


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