Friday, October 02, 2009

Mystery, History, and Intertextuality

Ah, books. I'm reading them, researching in them, trying to write them. It seems I just can't get enough.

I'm currently reading MY BROTHER MICHAEL by Mary Stewart and CRIME and PUNISHMENT (again) by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Both are great works and suspenseful mysteries which reference other texts. Stewart, because her mystery is set in Delphi, continually cites the ancient Greek plays: Oedipus, Electra, Antigone.

Dostoevsky, because C and P is among other things a Christian novel, consistently references the Bible, especially the New Testament.

This intertextuality makes a book more interesting to me--more cerebral and culturally connected. It assumes intelligence of the reader. In Stewart's MBM, her heroine stands among Grecian ruins under starlight, convinced that she hears the ghosts of ancient souls, and the words of Sophocles echo through her head. This merely increases the tension of the mystery established in the present.

What are some good books that reference other texts within their stories?

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