Intertextuality and Cultural Memory


Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)

Slovene Studies – tradition and modernity

Course code: 43

Year of study: Brez letnika 

Course principal:
Prof. Marko Juvan, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours

Course type: general elective 

Languages: Slovene 

Learning and teaching methods: lectures, discussion classes 

Objectives and competences

This course teaches students about two important concepts that form a relationship between the present and tradition (as the general topic of this programme): intertextuality and cultural memory. Their history, meaning, subject areas, and roles are described, and their methodological background (especially poststructuralism, cultural semiotics, and new historicism) are presented; in addition, the issues are conceptually analysed in greater detail. All along, the mutual dependence of literary discourse and other cultural practices is at the centre of attention. Students learn how cultural identities are established through the mechanisms of memory and forgetting, whose medium is literature. They learn about the factors and institutions as well as genres and forms through which literature shapes and reshapes cultural memory (from autobiography, diaries, and memoirs to historical fiction). The main focus is on intertextual devices (e.g., topoi, allusion, citation, variation, parody, etc.). The role of influences is thematized at the level of intercultural contacts.



None required.


Content (Syllabus outline)

Literature is a medium of cultural memory because patterns of thought and feelings are preserved through literary genres, forms, themes, imagery, stories, and motifs over longer historical periods; this influences the memories and perceptions of individuals as well as the formation of social identities. On the one hand, this role of literary discourse is ensured by more or less institutionalized practices (from publishing and criticism through philological and historical disciplines to education), involved in building the literary canon and producing categories of esthetic-explanatory language. On the other hand, literary discourse itself developed mechanisms that place it at the intersections of historically flexible relations to its own past, cultural tradition, and contemporary social discourses. Among these means, intertextuality is the most important. The concept of intertextuality, which developed during the late 1960s as a symptom of the transfer of the humanities and art from modern to postmodern (i.e., poststructuralism and postmodernism), originally denoted three things: 

  • That every text is actively included in a chain of dialogue and discourse; 
  • That the text subject is established by accepting and reshaping semiotic material from existing texts and signifying practices; 
  • That historicism and social character are thus incorporated into the text, and that the text then influences its context. 

Further research regarded the visible forms and genres of intertextuality (citationality), such as citation, imitation, allusion, and parody, primarily as a manner in which literature is systematically self-regulating within historical-development processes (“literature from literature,” autopoiesis), and establishes continuity as well as deviations, subversions, and breaks. In lectures and discussion classes, issues of collective/cultural memory, literary discourse, and intertextuality are discussed theoretically and by studying examples from Slovenian literary history. The role of topoi in older and contemporary literature (e.g., the Freising Manuscripts, and the works of Janez Svetokriški, France Prešeren, and Simon Jenko) are explained in addition to the formation of intertextual series incorporated in the imagery of national consciousness (e.g., Krst pri Savici and Sonetni venec), and the procedures and functions of modernist and postmodernist citation revival of Slovenian cultural tradition. The emergence of Slovenian literature is shown within a comparative context – that is, within the context of intercultural dialogue and influences. 

  • The theory and history of memory and intertextuality concepts: 
    • Individual and collective memory 
    • Perceiving memory from ancient to modern times 
    • Collective and cultural memory 
    • Literature and cultural memory 
    • Intertextuality as a medium of cultural memory 
    • Historical outline of intertextuality 
  • The role of topoi in older and contemporary literature: 
    • The concept of topoi and the European context of topoi 
    • Topoi in the Freising Manuscripts and Baroque sermons 
    • Topoi in romantic and post-romantic poetry (Prešeren, Jenko) 
  • Formation of intertextual series incorporated into the imagery of national consciousness: 
    • The concept of intertextual series 
    • Folklore and artistic intertextual series 
    • Examples of intertextual series in key texts (e.g., Krst pri Savici and Sonetni venec). 
  • Procedures and functions of modernist and postmodernist citation revival of Slovenian cultural traditio: 
    • Deconstructive strategies (avant-garde) 
    • Mythologization, profaning, and play (modernism) 
    • Creation as recycling (postmodernism) 
  • Emergence of Slovenian literature within a comparative context or the context of intercultural dialogue and influences: 
    • New perceptions of influence 
    • The issue of the “national” as a unit of literary historiography 
    • The semiosphere, geocriticism, and intercultural dialogue 
    • Interactivity of the “national” literary polysystem, and interliterary centrisms and communities 

In addition to the main instructor, visiting instructors will also teach this course, especially associates of the ZRC SAZU Institute of Slovenian Literature and Literary Studies.



  • Allen, Graham. 2000. Intertextuality. London – New York: Routledge.
  • Assmann, Aleida in Harth, Dietrich, ur. 1991. Mnemosyne: Formen und Funktionen der kulturellen Erinnerung. Frankfurt na Majni: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag.
  • Assmann, Jan. 1992. Theoretische Grundlagen. V: J. Assmann: Das kulturelle Gedächtnis: Shrifit, Erinnerung und politische Identität in frühen Hochkulturen. München: Beck. 14-160.
  • Curtius, Ernst Robert. 2002. Evropska literatura in latinski srednji vek. Prev. T. Virk. Ljubljana: LUD Literatura. 
  • Halbwachs, Maurice. 2001. Kolektivni spomin. Prev. D. Rotar. Spremna beseda T. Kramberger. Ljubljana: Studia humanitatis.
  • Juvan, Marko. 1990. Imaginarij Krsta v slovenski literaturi: Medbesedilnost recepcije. Ljubljana: Literatura.

– 1997. O slovenskem literarnem kanonu. V: M. Juvan: Domači Parnas v narekovajih: Parodija in slovenska književnost. Ljubljana: LUD Literatura: 197-212.

– 2000. Intertekstualnost. Ljubljana: DZS. (Literarni leksikon 45).

– 2000. Vezi besedila. Ljubljana: Literatura.

– 2006. Literarna veda v rekonstrukciji: Uvod v sodobni študij literature. Ljubljana: LUD Literatura.

  • Lachmann, Renate. 1990. Mnemotechnik und Simulakrum. V: R. Lachmann: Gedächtnis und Literatur: Intertextualität in der russischen Moderne. Frankfurt na Majni: Suhrkamp: 13-50.
  • Ricoeur, Paul. 2004. Memory, History, Forgetting. Prev. K. Blamey, D. Pellauer. Chicago – London: Chicago Univ. Press. 
  • Samoyault, Tiphaine. 2001. L’intertextualité: Mémoire de la littérature. Pariz: Nathan.
  • Škulj, Jola: Literature as a repository of historical consciousness: reinterpreted tales of Mnemosyne. V: Methods for the Study of Literature as Cultural Memory. Ur. R. Vervliet –A. Estor. Amsterdam – Atlanta, GA: Rodopi: 411-419.
  • Vervliet, Raymond – Estor, Annemarie, ur. 2000: Methods for the Study of Literature as Cultural Memory. Amsterdam – Atlanta, GA: Rodopi.



  • Active participation in lectures (discussions) and ongoing study of literature; 
  • After the first year of study: a term paper in the form and following the standards of a scholarly article, combining the topic of the master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation and the subject content or issues addressed as part of the course. Oral presentation of the paper (and assessing broader knowledge of the course content).


Ecoculture: Studies of Animals and Nature in Folklore, Literature and Culture

Assoc. Prof. Marjetka Golež Kaučič, Ph.D.,


Folk and Literary: Folklore and Intertextual Aspects

Assoc. Prof. Marjetka Golež Kaučič, Ph.D.,


Intertextuality and Cultural Memory

Prof. Marko Juvan, Ph. D.,



Assoc. Prof. Marjetka Golež Kaučič, Ph.D.,


Short folklore forms in culture and society

Asist. prof. Saša Babič, Ph. D.,


Slovenian Emigrants between Tradition and the Present

Prof. Marina Lukšič Hacin, Ph.D.,


The etics of Drama

Prof. Krištof Jacek Kozak, Ph. D.,


The Language of Objects: Topics in Slovenian Material Culture

Prof. Maja Godina Golija, Ph.D.,


The Linguistic Identity of Slovenian Regions

Prof. Jožica Škofic, Ph.D.,


The Role of Woman in Slovenian Society and Culture

Assoc. Prof. Mirjam Milharčič Hladnik, Ph.D.,


Tradition and Ethics

Prof. Edvard Kovač, Ph.D.,


Tragedy in Theater, Culture, and Society

Prof. Krištof Jacek Kozak, Ph. D.,


Word – Music – Ritual

Assist. Prof. Katarina Šter, Ph. D. ,