Craig White's Literature Courses

Terms / Themes


Textuality follows "the death of the author," replacing the author as a single controlling authority whose intent controls meaning. Some voices matter more than others, but a text like a textile or texture weaves together multiple threads and potential extensions within and beyond the text itself.

  • The three basic domains of textuality . . . are texture, structure, and context. The term 'texture' covers the various devices used in establishing continuity of sense and thus making a sequence of sentences operational (i.e. both cohesive and coherent). . . .

  • "There are various senses in which a piece of writing may be said to be a 'text.' The word 'text' itself is the past participle stem of of the Latin verb texere, to weave, intertwine, plait, or (of writing) compose. The English words 'textile' and 'texture' also derive from the same Latin word. This etymology of the word 'text' is apparent in expressions that refer to the 'weaving' of a story, the 'thread' of an argument, or the 'texture' of a piece of writing. A 'text' may thus be taken to be a weaving or a network of analytic, conceptual, logical, and theoretical relations that is woven with the threads of language. This implies that language is not a transparent medium through which arguments are expressed, . . . but is interwoven with or provides the very filaments of the substantive arguments themselves."

    (Vivienne Brown, "Textuality and the History of Economics." A Companion to the History of Economic Thought
    , ed. by W. J. Samuels et al. Blackwell, 2003)