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ADVANTAGES

Today a number of literarytheoristshave called into question two major Romantic perceptions: that theliterary text is a separate, individuated, living "organism"; andthat the artist is a fiercely independent genius who createsoriginal works of art. In current theory, the separate, "living"work has been dissolved into a sea of "intertextuality," derivedfrom and part of a network or "archive" of other texts--the manydifferent kinds of discourse that are part of any culture. In thisview, too, the independently sovereign artist has been demoted froma heroic, consciously creative agent, to a collective "voice," morecontrolled than controlling, the intersection of other voices,other texts, ultimately dependent upon possibilities dictated bylanguage systems, conventions, and institutionalized powerstructures. It is an irony of history, however, that the explosiveappearance on the scene of these subversive ideas, delivered inwhat seemed to the establishment to be radical manifestoes, andwritten by linguistically powerful individuals, has recapitulatedthe revolutionary spirit and events of Romanticism itself.

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