Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree

Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree is an influential 1982 book by French literary theorist Gérard Genette. Over the years, the book methodological proposals have been confirmed as effective operational definitions, and have been widely adopted in literary criticism terminology.[1]

The book is also highly regarded for his wide and far-reaching conceptualization of parody.[2] In the book Genette coined the term paratext, which has since become widespread to denote prefaces, introductions, illustrations or other material accompanying the text, or hypotext for the sources of the text.


  1. Vasarri (2006) pp.7–8 quotation:
    ... è stato saccheggiato a man bassa anche da chi poteva condividere queste riserve, e certe proposte metodologiche (ad esempio la distinzione tra iper- e ipotesto, o tra trasformazione e imitazione) si sono rivelate operative e sono entrate a far parte del linguaggio critico. Insomma, lo studioso francese aveva offerto ancora una volta a chi si occupa di letteratura un congegno discutibile ma evidentemente non-prescindibile.
  2. Elices (2004) p.90


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