The Old and the New: The Relationship Between Intertextuality and Originality in Writing

Daniella Conley


Deftly negotiating the abstract and applied, Daniella Conley’s essay achieves what we all strive for in our teaching and our research. In its cogent application of theory to practice, the essay takes up some disparate and complex ideas about intertextuality, audience, and originality articulated by writers and theorists as well known as Charles Bazerman, Walter Ong, and Mark Twain. It is through this social constructionist lens that Daniella considers what it means to be “original,” and it is in the nebulous and troublesome concept we know as “style,” she argues, that we can find more than the moving yet contiguous parts that make up Twain’s kaleidoscope of “new and curious combinations.” Even in a context inseparable from those who have already written and those who have yet to read, and as much as the written utterance may be shaped by both, it remains equally true that poets are born as well as made - style may indeed make the writer but, Daniella reminds us, there is no denying that the writer also makes style. —Dr. Lyn Bennett

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