Conventional conventions? A macro-intertextual exploration of literature, film, and culture
The role of the villain in literature and cinema poses a problem for traditional critical scholars: how can readers see beyond the villain‟s role as literal antagonist? Differing critical methods approach this problem from their respective systems, but how can a feminist critic see a creature such as Silence of the Lamb’s Hannibal Lecter as anything but a misogynistic mass murderer? Intertextual theory seems much more apt to handle a complicated multi-dimensional character such as Hannibal the Cannibal. Traditionally, Intertextualism has dealt primarily with examining texts within a genre with a particular focus on convention: elements of plot, character, and theme are examined in light of all other works regardless of period or authorial intent. Cinematic Intertextualism operates similarly, only now examining cinematic conventions; however, this approach suffers from a form of myopia as well. What seems lacking is a comprehensive viewpoint that examines literature and film not just within their separate formats, but intertextually between the two. What‟s more, in examining the links between literature and film, and even more all-encompassing viewpoint comes into sharper focus, a viewpoint in which not only are the texts themselves examined through an intertextual lens, but the criticism applied to those texts. This project seeks to examine these comprehensive “Macro-Intertextual” connections between texts – both literary and cinematic – combined with an intertextual view of criticism as well. With this theory in mind, Hannibal Lecter is revealed as much more than cannibalistic madman: through a Macro-Intertextual lens, he and other villains can be seen as social commentary, embodying the societies in which they arise and exposing their society‟s hypocrisies simultaneously. Removed from structuralist theory and classic literary criticism, Macro Intertextualism forms a more all-encompassing viewpoint.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English.