Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 6(11), pp. 813 - 820
DOI: 10.13189/sa.2018.061101
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Intertextuality and Dialectics of the Self in Barnes's The Sense of an Ending and in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina

Elena Bollinger *
School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal


The article examines the literary relationship between The Sense of an Ending and Anna Karenina. Following Kristeva’s definition of intertextuality, resting upon the complex dialogic way in which words become intertwined in a literary work of art, it pursues the analysis of permeability of a literary act. The comparative reading process of The Sense of an Ending and of Anna Karenina brings to light the importance of the dialogical principle present in these texts, both in structural and thematic terms. The sense of strangeness or unfathomability involved in the encounter with otherness arises questions about the epistemological nature of the cultural web that constitutes uniqueness. The evocation of the self and of alterity announced in the element of unfamiliarity and resistance in its confrontation with the other helps us to penetrate deeper into the realm of subjectivity. The relationship of The Sense of an Ending to Anna Karenina, revisited in this article, rests upon comparative analysis of discursive practices employed in both texts. The analysis describes a host of symbolic ways in which The Sense of an Ending exploits consciousness and ideas from Anna Karenina, setting up reader’s perception that the creation of literary texts arises mostly from the permanent contact of these texts with prior texts. Emphasizing Bakhtin’s [1] idea that this contact is “a dialogic contact between several literary works of art” (p.162), the article reflects on different communicative practices, including both the identification of literary sources and the anticipation of future meditations on reading a sense of literary memory as observed in these texts. Specifically, revisiting philosophical reflections on the sense of a self, proposed in Anna Karenina, The Sense of an Ending achieves a connection between personal and collective levels in a process by which literary memory exploits the issue of identity.

Intertextuality, Barnes, Tolstoy, Literary Memory, Identity

Cite this paper
Elena Bollinger . "Intertextuality and Dialectics of the Self in Barnes's The Sense of an Ending and in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina." Sociology and Anthropology 6.11 (2018) 813 - 820. doi: 10.13189/sa.2018.061101.