Will Hobson studies intertextuality in postmodern prose fiction for summer fellows

Will Hobson studies intertextuality in postmodern prose fiction for summer fellows


Will Hobson decided upon his topic for his Summer Fellows research project after reading a book titled “The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco. In this novel, the author asserts, “Books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told.”

Eco’s novel is just one of many works of prose Hobson will study as he focuses his research on intertextuality in postmodern prose fiction. He is surveying a large sampling of postmodern fiction including but not limited to short stories from Jose Luis Borges, novels from Umberto Eco, Don DeLillo, and Thomas Pynchon, and critical studies of postmodernism.

Postmodernism is a movement that appeared in the late 20th-century and contains high levels of skepticism about reason and ideology in regards to economic and political power.

“The concept of intertextuality covers broad-scale to sometimes indistinct allusions to other texts in the main text,” said Hobson. “This blending of books presents itself quite often in works associated with the postmodern era. I want to see what the links between the examples of intertextuality and postmodern form and style are if any exist.”

Hobson is a junior English major with minors in chemistry, biology, and economics. On campus, he presides on the Student Conduct Board, submits articles for the “Bluestocking,” and serves as the Episcopalian representative on the Religious Life Council.

“I plan to use this research to help me come up with a personally satisfying English honors project that explores the possibility of originality in a postmodern world full to the brim with intertextuality and reference,” said Hobson.

Throughout the summer, Hobson is working with Dr. Terry Barr, professor of English. Barr characterized his role in the research project as that of a sounding board for Hobson’s original research.

“I think some of the possible connections Will is making could be mining new territory in contemporary literary analysis,” said Barr. “This research is important to me because I, too, am always looking for ways that works from different periods connect with and speak to each other.”

While Hobson is unsure of what he will end up doing after graduation, he will potentially use his experiences at PC to attend graduate school in comparative literature.

“I want to use this summer to be able to expand my knowledge base in a field that I dearly love,” said Hobson. “I can’t imagine a better opportunity than this.”



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