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Quoting vs. Parasitism: Dynamics in Critical Essays

The intricate dance of text and image, and the symbiotic interplay between artist and viewer captivate my intellectual curiosity. Extracting a “passage” in critical essays raises profound questions about the essence of quoting, creating a delicate balance between artistic expression and critical analysis, a nuanced symphony in the world of interpretation.


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The interplay betwixt the textual and the visual, coupled with the enmeshing of the artist’s purpose and the spectator’s construal, bequeaths an ongoing quandary that incites the keen edge of my intellectual curiosity. The phenomenon wherein a “passage” is extracted from an evaluative treatise and subsequently enunciated as a quotation is particularly beguiling. This deed raises profound inquiries regarding the very essence of quoting, echoing, and alluding in the poetic realm, compelling us to scrutinize the intricate interrelationship betwixt the host and the parasite.

A singular metamorphosis transpires when an evaluative treatise culls a “passage” and transmutes it into a quotation. Postulated apart from its originative milieu, the fragmented quotation assumes an autonomous existence, meandering within an expansive sea of discourse, endowed with its own profundity. The quote, in its present guise, possesses the inherent capability to captivate the reader’s scrutiny and instigate profound ruminations. Nevertheless, it is imperative to discern that this extraction is not a mere quotation; rather, it is a purposeful selection, an act of curation devised to underscore a precise concept or contention.

Conversely, in the realm of poesy, the deployment of quotations, echoes, and allusions fosters a distinct dynamic. Within the poetic domain, these literary devices recurrently serve as intertextual allusions, edifying upon the opulent cultural and literary legacy of humanity. They function as reverberations of antecedent literary endeavors, beckoning readers into a profound colloquy with yore. In this sphere, the quotation functions as a nexus betwixt sundry literary junctures, rendering homage to the exertions of forerunners. Within the precincts of poetry, the quotation serves as a conduit between the artist’s vocalization and the reverberations of tradition, beseeching readers to partake in a more expansive literary colloquium.

Yet, the distinction between the host and the parasite serves to differentiate these scenarios. The extracted quote assumes a parasitic office within the context of an evaluative treatise. It imperatively demands notice by infiltrating the structural integrity of the principal text and embedding itself within the narrative. Operating autonomously, it possesses the potential to sway the construal of the overarching opus. The quotation asserts its presence within the host, subtly deviating the trajectory of thought, and, at times, even veiling the originative intent of the author.

However, an examination of the interpretative text enshrouding the quotation unveils a divergent manifestation of parasitism. In this instance, the interpretative text serves as the parasite, enveloping and stifling its host quotation. The interpretative text encases the quotation within its exegesis, critique, and analysis, obfuscating its intrinsic form and intent. In this dynamic, the quotation becomes a mere conduit for the ascendancy of the interpretative text to manifest. The interpretative text assumes a mantle of authority, sculpting the reader’s comprehension and relegating the quotation to a subordinate role.

This intricate interaction begets contemplation upon the delicate equilibrium betwixt artistic expression and evaluative scrutiny. In my capacity as a digital post-producer, I often contemplate the demarcation betwixt my voice and the voice of the mechanism. Am I, perchance, an encircling parasite asphyxiating the creation of the machine, or do I, in truth, merely cast illumination upon a specific facet, elucidating its intricacies? Such contemplation impels me to approach my role with humility and an unwavering sense of responsibility, ensuring that my construal augments the quintessence of the ultimate product.

I am acutely cognizant of the weighty responsibility concomitant with citing and scrutinizing extrinsic writings. Each quotation bears the gravitas of its provenance, and the construal it begets can significantly impact how the reader apprehends the authentic work. Consequently, I endeavor to approach the act of quoting with discernment, seeking to amplify, rather than obscure, the voices of others.

It is paramount to acknowledge the intrinsic subjectivity within my personal ruminations on this topic. The act of quoting or alluding to a prior work is inherently subjective, for it necessitates the sagacity and perspective of the critic. This subjectivity, while fostering a plethora of interpretations and outlooks, mandates an acute self-awareness to forestall undue influence upon the audience.

Moreover, the transmutative effect of context upon the meaning of a quotation constitutes a fascinating phenomenon. When a quotation from an evaluative treatise is excised and proffered as an autonomous fragment, it assumes an existence of its own. It metamorphoses into a portal through which readers may ingress a broader discourse, fomenting cogitation and unveiling novel avenues of comprehension. The excision and quotation of a passage may serve as a catalyst for intellectual inquiry, impelling the reader to scrutinize presuppositions and partake in a more profound analysis.

In the domain of poetry, quotations, echoes, and allusions fulfill a particular role. They function as references to the expansive tapestry of literary tradition, bridging the lacuna betwixt yesteryears and the contemporary era and nurturing an intertextual colloquy. The utilization of these devices enriches the intricate significance, affording the poet the capacity to draw from our collective cultural cognizance and invoke profound sentiments. The quotation evolves into an implement for connection and resonance in this context, weaving an intricate web of associations that intensifies the reader’s interest and engagement.

Whether the quote assumes the role of an extrinsic parasite or the interpretative text encircles and stifles the quote hinges ultimately upon the perspective and intent of the author, as well as the reception by the reader. It is a dynamic rapport wherein the quotation and its circumambient text continually sway and interact with each other. As an “uncreative” writer, I am acutely cognizant of this delicate equilibrium and endeavor to navigate it with integrity, all the while venerating the primordial vision and fostering meaningful dialogues that elevate the discernment and admiration of the primary author’s oeuvre.

Susan Sontag, “Against Interpretation” (United States)
Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author” (France)
Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (Germany)
Michel Foucault, “This Is Not a Pipe” (France)
Harold Bloom, “The Anxiety of Influence” (United States)
Julia Kristeva, “Revolution in Poetic Language” (Bulgaria/France)
Jacques Derrida, “Of Grammatology” (France)
Rosalind Krauss, “The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths” (United States)
Terry Eagleton, “The Ideology of the Aesthetic” (United Kingdom)
Paul de Man, “Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism” (Belgium)
Kenneth Goldsmith, “Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age” (United States)