Every reader of literature must have noticed that writers often quote the works of others. In most readers’ minds, however, quotations and references, the two basic types of allusion, are usually lumped together with such things as book illustrations, chapter titles, and ‘arguments’ which head chapters or cantos, all of which are ignored too easily, or dismissed as virtually redundant elements of a literary text. Some critics who have written on allusion have helped to perpetuate misconceptions which tend to place the subject in the curio category. For example, E. E. Kellett wrote as if spotting the allusions in literature were a game designed for the educated gentleman, as quoting the Classics was in the Houses of Parliament at one time. For him the best allusions are the ‘natural overflow of a rich and well-stored mind’, and the best reader can respond to ‘veiled quotations’ which give him a ‘slight titillation of the memory’.l Although classical scholars have long recognised that allusion is a crucial indicator of the relationship between a given work and a literary tradition, the aspects of allusion on which students of English literature focused attention in the past tended to be merely curious or titillating.
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- 1.E. E. Kellett, Literary Quotation and Allusion(Cambridge, 1933 ), pp. 28, 11.Google Scholar
- 2.Herman Meyer, The Poetics of Quotation in the European Novel(1961), translated by Theodore and Yetta Ziolkowski(Princeton, 1968), p. 3.Google Scholar
- 3.Harold Bloom, A Map of Misreading(New York, 1975), p. 125. Compare The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry(New York and London, 1973), Kabbalah and Criticism(New York, 1975), and Poetry and Repression: Revisionism from Blake to Stevens(New Haven and London, 1976 ).Google Scholar
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- 7b.See also S. Michaelson and A. Q. Morton, ‘Positional stylometry’, in The Computer and Literary Studies, pp. 69–83.Google Scholar
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