Intertextuality between The Monk and Clarissa  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
The relations between the two novels [The Monk and Clarissa] have not been entirely neglected. Mario Praz refers in passing to Antonia and Agnes as ‘unhappy daughters of the ill-starred Clarissa’. Leslie A. Fiedler refers in more general terms to the degeneration of Lovelace into the Gothic hero and to Clarissa as the model for the ‘Persecuted Maiden’ of the Gothic. Harold McAllister devotes a whole dissertation to Clarissa, Justine, and The Monk, concentrating on ‘character-clusters’ such as ‘the male persecutor, the male observer, the female victim, and the female predator’ and their roles in ‘the central drama of all three novels: a drama of self-indulgent sexual aggression committed against an unwilling but helpless victim and witnessed by a good but helpless third party’.
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Gérard Genette offers a theoretical framework for the interpretation of such allusions in Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree, a taxonomy of what he (confusingly for Anglophone readers) calls hypertextuality [aka intertextuality]: that is, the range of relations between a hypertext, or derivative later text, such as , and its hypotext, or source text, such as Clarissa. There are six main types of hypertextual relationship, according to Genette; the relationship between Clarissa and The Monk is transposition, or ‘[s]erious transformation’, the same general type as the one between the Odyssey and Ulysses. Transposition is always a complex relationship, the product of a number of different operations by which (in Genette’s metaphor) the hypotext has been transformed into the hypertext. --http://journals.mup.man.ac.uk/cgi-bin/pdfdisp//MUPpdf/GOTH/V6I2/060158.pdf [Nov 2006]




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