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The term "intertextuality" was developed by French literary critic Julia Kristeva in 1966, appropriately enough in a series of essays that introduced the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, who worked in Soviet Russia, to the world. Basically, it is the idea that texts emerge in social context, and that their meanings cannot be understood in isolation. Texts contain allusions, references, and borrowings from other texts. No text is its own entity. "Intertextuality" is broadly similar to a word often used by Bakhtin to describe the social nature of texts: "heteroglossia." In the essay in question, "Discourse in the Novel," Bakhtin argues that authors draw from a wide variety of tropes, techniques, and forms to produce their work. It was the way that these forms were arranged, in dialogue with each other, that makes the novel in general, and specific novels in themselves, unique. The important thing is that not just authors, but readers drew upon these texts to make sense of the novel.
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