The IUP Journal of English Studies
Intertextuality in McEwan's Nutshell

Article Details
Pub. Date : March, 2022
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES160322
Author Name :Sonali Das
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 06



Intertextuality is a literary device that establishes an interrelationship between texts through intertextual figures like allusion, quotation, pastiche, translation and parody. The term is derived from the Latin word 'intertexto' and was popularized by Kristeva in the late 1960s. It signifies how one text is shaped by other texts. The study of intertextuality has come a long way from its theoretical roots in Saussure's semiology laid out in his Course in General Linguistics in 1916 to the actual inception of the concept by Kristeva in 1966 and on to Genette in 1982, which made the initial theoretical concept an applicable method. Genette has defined 'intertextuality' as the presence of one text in another. This paper makes a humble attempt to make an intertextual reading of Ian McEwan's Nutshell with Shakespeare's Hamlet. Nutshell is a retelling of Hamlet and shares its theme of betrayal, murder and revenge, but here the protagonist is an unborn fetus.

Popularized by the French Semiotician Julia Kristeva in the late 1960s, 'Intertextuality' is a literary device that creates an interrelationship between two or more texts. According to Kristeva, every text, in fact, is an 'inter-text'-the site where a number of texts intersect and exist only in relation to other texts. This paper is an intertextual reading of Ian McEwan's Nutshell with Shakespeare's Hamlet. Published in 2016, the year the world was commemorating Shakespeare's 400th death anniversary, Nutshell is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's most read and admired tragedy, Hamlet. McEwan sets Nutshell in modern-day London and chooses a nine-month-old fetus as the narrator. Close to Hamlet's plot, here the mother (heavily pregnant) is having an affair with her husband's brother who is named Claude (Claudius of Hamlet). When parts of the world are facing great challenges-war, terrorism, refugees, etc., something seems especially rotten in the 6,000 sq. ft Georgian house in a posh London neighborhood. Trudy has moved her poet-publisher husband, John Cairncross to a rented flat and has moved in with Claude, her brother-in-law. The eight million pounds mansion is filthy and in a