The Hours - Film Analysis

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The Suicide of the Author and his Reincarnation in the Reader: Intertextuality in The Hours by Michael Cunningham Andrea Wild In his novel The Hours, Michael Cunningham weaves a dazzling fabric of intertextual references to Virginia Woolf's works as well as to her biography. In this essay, I shall partly yield to the academic itch to tease out the manifold and sophisticated allusions to the numerous intertexts. My aim, however, is not to point out every single reference to Woolf and her works--such an endeavour of source-hunting would fail alone because of the sheer abundance of intertextual references--and to strip The Hours down until its threads lie bare in front of me, but to take the theories of influence (as voiced, for example, by…show more content…
By writing a pastiche out of anterior texts, by mimicking an earlier author, Cunningham destroys the romantic image of the god-like author who creates a text out of nothing; Cunningham kills the author and the conception of him or her as the sole origin of meaning. What, then, happens to the author, who has symbolically killed himself and now is a mere compiler of anterior texts? He reads. As a writer of pastiche, in order to weave a dense fabric of intertextual references, he has to be a voracious and observant reader. By devoting one of the three narrative strands to Laura Brown, the reader, Cunningham introduces a third element into the traditional binary relationship author-text and thus stresses the importance of reading for the creation of literature. Although all three narrative strands of The Hours are in one way or the other connected to Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Michael Cunningham approaches his central intertext from different directions: while the sections entitled "Mrs. Woolf" and "Mrs. Brown" are related to Mrs. Dalloway insofar as they represent the point of view of the author or the reader respectively, the third narrative strand draws on Mrs. Dalloway more closely by reinterpreting

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