Quotation as a Poetic Device in a Romanian Postmodern Corpus. A Pragmasemantic Approach


  • Carmen Popescu




quotation, intertext, parody, pragma-semantic approach, postmodernism


The paper highlights the complex functioning of quotation in the context of Romanian postmodern poetry, focusing on a pragmasemantic approach, where the communicational dimension of the poetic process is underscored. A special place is granted to the theory of quotation, by reviewing various models, which range from the intertextual and dialogicpolyphonic account to the one grounded in the linguistics of enunciation as well as in language philosophy. The illustrations are taken from a corpus of contemporary poetry, starting with Cristian Popescu’s “All This Had to Bear a Name”, where the quotational paratext (the title) establishes a parodic relationship with a previous poem by Marin Sorescu. This “second-order” text does not refute the strict meaning of the original (in fact, it does not mention its theme, the Romantic poet Eminescu) but it directs its deconstructionist drive towards another cultural fetish, the ballad The Little Ewe, equally a part of the official vulgate, a cultural “monument”. Examples borrowed from Radu Andriescu or Letitia Ilea reveal the self-reflective use of language and also the close relationship that citation entertains with reported speech, represented discourse and the very complex phenomenon of polyphony as described by Bakhtin. Inside the texture of the postmodern poem, the grafting of alien discourses rarely reifies textual otherness and more often than not handles the quotation as manifestation of a particular voice, with which the poetic subject engages dialogically. Even so, the deconstruction of clichés and doxa or common opinion is crucial in this poetics. Along with the pervasive palimpsest, quotation in a poetic context also has important metalinguistic and metaliterary effects, by enhancing the literariness of literature.


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