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Intertextuality in Marulić's Judith

Istvan Lokos

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (55 KB) str. 57-65 preuzimanja: 2.009* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Lokos, I. (2004). Intertekstualnost u Marulićevoj Juditi. Colloquia Maruliana ..., 13, 57-65. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Lokos, Istvan. "Intertekstualnost u Marulićevoj Juditi." Colloquia Maruliana ..., vol. 13, 2004, str. 57-65. Citirano 19.06.2021.
Chicago 17th Edition
Lokos, Istvan. "Intertekstualnost u Marulićevoj Juditi." Colloquia Maruliana ... 13 (2004): 57-65.
Lokos, I. (2004). 'Intertekstualnost u Marulićevoj Juditi', Colloquia Maruliana ..., 13, str. 57-65. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 19.06.2021.)
Lokos I. Intertekstualnost u Marulićevoj Juditi. Colloquia Maruliana ... [Internet]. 2004 [pristupljeno 19.06.2021.];13:57-65. Dostupno na:
I. Lokos, "Intertekstualnost u Marulićevoj Juditi", Colloquia Maruliana ..., vol.13, str. 57-65, 2004. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 19.06.2021.]

The concept of intertextuality came into literary theory at the end of the 1960s. Although there are certain points of similarity among the various theories and praxes of intertextuality, they have not so far crystallised into a unified theory and practice of the interpretation of literary works. But among the various ways of understanding, there must be several the tenets of which are used in the everyday practice of literary interpretation. In this study an attempt is made to give an intertextual analysis of Marulić’s Judith using some of the opportunities provided by Julia Kristeva’s transformational analysis, with some of the views of Roland Barthes and Michael Riffaterre being used as well.
If we place the text of Judith among the following other texts: the deuterocanonical Book of Judith; Marulić’s previous and contemporary studies on Christian morality; the ancient tradition; contemporary reports about the Balkan offensives of the Ottomans; data on the contemporary political situation - then we can study the structuration of Marulić’s epic according to texts outside the epic itself. At the same time we can observe (put in Barthes’ words) the redistribution, deconstruction-reconstruction within the text and the permutation of fragments of various prior and contemporary texts, i.e., the phenomenon of a previous and the contemporary culture in the text of the epic. After all this we can note how the new text is created from previous quotations and texts used or quoted without quotation marks. Looking at the text of the epic in this way, we can re-construct the formalisation of the structuration - instead of the finished structure - and thus become, as readers of the text, participants in the creation of the work.
When Marulić decided to write a scripture story in poetic form, he must have chosen the epic framework, i.e., the literary form of the epic, as the most suitable for the presentation of this biblical history. There is no doubt that the structuration of the Marulić epic was determined by the characteristics and tradition of the traditional classical epic. If the variants of this kind of genre of the Homeric and Virgilian type are compared with the Marulić epic, we can see that the mentioned characteristics and tradition become in Marulić an example of a kind of permutation: in Judith we can find proposition, invocation, enumeration, epic description, but on the other hand the beginning in medias res, the epitheton ornans and retrospection do not exist in the Marulić work in the classical sense of the word, that is in classical form.
The moral layer appears in Marulić’s text connected with the problem of mendacity. In Christian theology the view of the lie has its own genesis. This concept occurs several times in the Old Testament, and in the New it is said explicitly that Satan is the father of lies (Vos ex patre diabolo estis…cum loquitur mendacium ex propriis loquitur quia mendax est et pater eius. John 8,44). In Marulić’s Judith the lie is the key concept. Judith has to beat Holofernes precisely with the use of lies, deceits, in order to save her nation and town. But a lie is a sin that God punishes - the God that is ready to save His chosen people if they do not sin and if they are humble. How then is it possible to change the nature of the lie, i.e., how can it, when used in a special way, cease to be a grave sin? In the en-counter of Judith and Holofernes Judith’s prayer resolves this contradiction; Judith reveals to the reader that her intention and her deed (the murder of Holofernes) derive from God himself: she is in fact the means for His punishment of Holofernes. All of this appears in the text more metaphorically than in the form of theological argument.
If we go on to interpret Marulić’s Judith as a reconstruction-deconstruction of the Biblical story, we can see that antique motivation has a major role in this permutation.
At the end the horizon of contemporary events is analysed; in the text of the epic, these appear as ideologemes. By analogy with Kristeva’s practice we would say that what is concerned is the contemporary geopolitical situation present in South East Europe - danger from the Turk, the heroic battle of the population of Dalmatia against the Turkish invaders - as well as the fact that the population could really expect help more or less only from God. Thus in the text of the epic, fragments of mythical thinking appear, ideologemes such as heroism, bravery merit, fear and so on, which are very well known from the early epic poetry of Europe (for example, the chanson de geste, medieval poetry) which, directly or indirectly, again take part in the structuration of the Marulić text.

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