Saulembek G.R.

PhD student of M.O. Auezov Literature and Art Institute and Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan


Intertextuality and intermediality methods in literature: On the base of stories of T. Asemkulov “Treasure of Bektori” and “Meeting in the forest” written by A. Baybol



The article is aimed to identify the intertextuality and intermediality methods in the stories of T. Asemkulov «Treasure of Bektori” and A. Baybol “Meeting in the forest”. Creativity of the authors is closely related to traditional literature but the stories in a new form show the method of postmodernism. During the investigation we could prove that stories «Òreasure of Bektori” and “Meeting in the forest” are written in intertextual allusion, reminiscence methods. We analyzed that intertextuality of the story “Meeting in the forest” is irony the story “Treasure of Bektori” is contains parody description.

Key words: Intertextuality, Intermediality, allusion, carnival, allegory, precedent text.


In this article we consider the practice of using new methods through intertextuality in postmodern era. Despite that the stories «Òreasure of Bektori” written by Talasbek Asemkulov and “Meeting in the forest” written by Alibek Baybol were influenced by postmodernism but they are not fully considered as a postmodernism work. The authors tried to write in a new way using some of postmodernism methods, thus, they could change usual shape of traditional literature. But they could not out of the influence of traditional literature; nevertheless it is still a fruit of postmodernism era. That is why, we should investigate it taking into account the mediators role of the text.


In order to show the intertextual relations in the works we need to do the following analysis:

1)    identify “extrinsic” texts (intertextual references);

2)    systemize intertextual references

3)    identify how the references in the texts are used;

4)    analyze the role of intertextual texts and their interpretation.

The result

We could reach the following:

In the story of A. Baybol “Meeting in the forest” is used intermedial method which is relevant to postmodernism poetics.

In the story “Meeting in the forest” we identified the reference to political documents of “Kazakhstan-2050” to reach developed countries strategy”. 

Intertextuality in the text is realized by allusion and precedent names methods;

The text has carnival, irony, allegory description;

The author of the story “meeting in the forest” wrote it to readers;

In the story «Òreasure of Bektori” of T. Asemkulov we identified the reference of “Ertostyk” the Kazakh fairytale;

“Faustian bargain” motive is used as a main text of intertextuality and it is realized by reminiscence method;

Precedent names and text were travestied in the text “Treasure of Bektori”


«Òreasure of Bektori” of T. Asemkulov and “Meeting in the forest” of A. Baybol are spotted by their novelty and theses text are elegant with practice of using intertextuality and postmodernism methods.

Intermediality type of intertextuality is used in the story “Meeting in the forest” of A. Baybol.

“World text” system or the system of references of art of aesthetics of Intermedial postmodernism laid out a road to the art texts that contain text synthesis.

The author in his turn used this synthetics method, picked up external texts from political documents and mass media in the story “Meeting in the forest”,

For example: the story is started by the following “Today at 11.00 we are going to hold a meeting of animals. The agenda is to reach 50 develop forests. All animals are welcome who are conscious of having a combined forest” – was written in each tree in the forest [1, 152] describes the strategy of reaching 50 developed countries of Kazakhstan with some irony, allegory and carnival description. It makes an impression of irresponsibility of authorities, corruption, adulation, falseness within the community of animals. Yes, it makes an impression, because the author did not show the real life as we usually do in traditional texts. Readers automatically come to the same conclusion.

Animals are leisurely coming to the forest. As soon as they reach the seats some of them start to sleep. Others are seating in drowse mood [1, 152-153]

- Now we have democracy, liberalism, feminism that are borrowed from American jungle and having a chance to enjoy its results. Animals behave freely and they can do whatever they want. Yesterday, mister quail craped on mister bear’s head [1, 153].

We are so soft-hearted. Last month strange Puma wasted all wealth of our forest and run hometown away [1, 153].

All these segments of the texts are can be seen in daily news, magazines.

However, it is hard to find the main allusion.  According R. Barthes statement “The basic principles of the texts are <...> the entrance into another texts, codes, signs’’ [2, 428], “all searching of “sources” and “impacts” are responding to a myth on filiation of works but the texts are made up from anonymous, elusive quotations – without quotation marks” [2, 418]” the text of the story “Meeting in the forest” merged with external texts.

Every reader can perceive the text individually according to the happening situation in Kazakhstan in the last twenty years. For example: According to our research when we first read the text as a reader we started to combine and compare the text with news we heard recently:

1.       Tanatar Tabanuly “journalism is a bridge between authority and people” [3]

1.2. The assistant of Bebit Atamkulov fell on sleep during his speech [4]

1.3. Bureaucrats of Aktobe rejected to follow the speech of Saparbayev fell on sleep _ti_da_isi _kelmegen _a_t_bel_k_ sheneun_kt_5  [5]

4.        Berikbol Dukeev “political regimes of central Asia: dream democracy or totalitarianism?” [6]

5.        The debts of foreign companies to Kazakhstan are more than 6 billion tenge” [7])

In such case you spontaneously recall all social and political weaknesses of authorities in your memory.

H.G. Gadamer statement says: ‘‘all sayings contain not only the truth but also have allusion for untold future sayings… Only when, told sayings combine with untold one the utterance become understandable [8, 333] the text can enlarge its territory only when it reaches it own reader and the reader can understand all allusions used in the text. Development of a text is directly depending on perception of the reader. The author wrote the story relying on communicative relation with reader. The deference from tradition literature it needs third participant-reader without whom the main idea cannot be understandable. The peculiarity is that here author-text-reader are involved than in traditional where involved only author-text.

Above given conclusion is a theory of structuring and interpretation of the text made by 2 principles.

As soon as author finishes his story the text starts its own life. Today’s reader can understand only actual problems, but future reader will evaluate the story by themselves. When we combine the main text with the secondary text it can totally change the meaning and also has changeable mood according to perception of readers. But it is also possible to miss intertext meaning while reading. In order to emphasize main event – historical document in the history of Kazakhstan, A. Baybol expressed it by “to reach  50 developed forests of the world

The story can be divided into two parts. The story which is included into the collection “Train station” contains all above mentioned descriptions and continuing grim humor, irony from page 152 to 163 pages. Here, the author gives hesitancy to the works of political elite, authority. We can see similarities between the works of V. Pelevin “Hermit and Sixfinger” and A. Baybol “Meeting in the forest” using the same methods to show unfairness in society turning it into a fable. In “Meeting in the forest” the environment described as a forest, in “Hermit and Sixfinger” the environment is described as a bird complementary industrial plant. The main characters in the first story are animals of the forest, in the second story are hens. The peculiarity of both stories is having an allusion description and overtones and is destined for all and erudite readers. Due to perception of each person several variant of the story can appear only erudite reader can catch the meaning of overtones of the text.

The difference of the texts are, in «Hermit and Sixfinger» irony is given with overtone, in “Meeting in the forest” it is given in mockery way. For example: the author shows his own attitude with statements like: “you are looking just like “demanding an equal rights”, “That is all vain pursuit – do not tauten your voce” and etc. By its structure and using methods the story is referred to postmodernism but this story is in the middle of traditional and postmodernism. Page 163 describes hunting; page ends with the episode of hunters killed all animals in the forest. The hunters are described in usual way but animals are in allegory description and here we can see the wrong use of “author’s playing and simulacrum” methods by the author. For example: the segment: “The wolf that left the meeting was walking far away, it advisedly let the group of animals pass that were heading to the forest, it was offended for something but then he went back to warn arguing animals” [1, 164-165] is damaged the situation. If he had described the situation simpler we would have accept it as a simulacrum method. Secondly, each could make own conclusion but the author who could not out from traditional cognition, education and ethnics did not give a chance to make a conclusion mentioning hidden moral “The hunters killed animal because of absence of unity between animals” [1, 165]. In other words, the story is close to postmodernism style by its shape but the author could not save the style “author’s death” of R. Barthes.

T Asemkulov in the story «Òreasure of Bektori” intertext method is effected through reminiscence. Author gives a definition of reminiscence in literature studies dictionary: “Reminiscence is a process of borrowing segments of other literature works, even from folk works that creates new treatments ; but sometimes borrowed utterances can be changeable” (Ì.Lermontov – « Splendid city, poor city» (about St. Petersburg) –F.Glinky « Splendid city, oldest city» (about Moscow) [9].

Thus, reminiscence is a process writing in a new style mentioning words; phrases, the name of a famous works, authors or characters from other works. The difference from quotation is lack of inverted commas and is based on creativity. There are a lot of examples of using reminiscence: German writer German Gessen “The Glass Bead Game”(1943), Irish author James Joyce «Ulysses» (1922), English writer Anthony Burgess «A long trip to teatime», American poet Ezra Pound are evidences for that.

According to the term theory, let’s make a detailed analysis:

“His famous fairytale of childhood was Er Tostyk” His grandmother used to end the fairytale with the words “how difficult was that time” – here T. Asemkulov alluded the relations with the famous Kazakh fairytale “Er Tostyk” “Ernazar in his night dreams saw that Bektori was torturing him nearby water well. As soon as he waked up, told everything to his grandmother.

-                                    That was jinn, do not worry about it, - trying to make her grandson to be calm, - save God from facing with Bektori” [10], - here author mentioned the relations of character and Bektori. In spite the fact that he used names from fairytale, he wrote the story in a new way.

The key of reminiscence and the difference from plagiarism is that the author reanimated the motive of “daughter of bad fairy”, hence avoiding repetition and tried to give philosophical conclusion with the utterance of Bektori: “People do not know how do they reach these days, because of the lack of sense. These days were not built in one day. People, Insan were absolutely different from all eternity. Oppositions like white and black, truth and false, ill and benevolence were made by mad philosophers.  Every word or activity according to it accomplishment can turn into bad or good. Even falls words of a witch-doctor can be a remedy. Clear truth used by bad people can turn into falls. Where can we find a truth?”

Faustian bargain motive is also implemented in the works of Goethe “Faust”, T.Mann “Doctor Faustus”, M. Bulgakov “The Master and Margarita”, F.M. Dostoyevsky “The Brothers Karmazov”.

In “Er Tostyk” fairytale:

If you are not satisfied with this,

I can give my treasure

Favorite among the other of eight sons

Former support when I was lonely

Former wing when I was without wings

I can give my little son with a lot of grief,

Just let me go, mother! – asked Ernazar an old witch to let him go [11].

Ernazar in the fairytale “Ertostyk” promised to witch who was sent by Bektori give his one son for his life. Here the author makes an allusion to motive of an agreement.

In the story «Òreasure of Bektori” Kayrboldi who was an orphan and suffered agonies of life was incited to give his heart – “Every who is stronger than you tortures you. You were tortured by bays in the restaurant where you work. You cannot make a reply. Why? Because of your heart that did not let you speak. That means that you have and do not have a heart. Your life is consist of revenge, pipe dreams” [10].

Agreement motive which is used in the story “Ertostyk”is developed in the story “Treasure of Bektori”. Here we can see intertextual relations with Goethe’s “Faust” where both motives were used. The evil in the story «Òreasure of Bektori” is played by Bektori, in “Faust” is characterized by Mephistopheles who is bargaining for the soul:

Stop playing with grief,

That feeds, a vulture, on your breast,

The worst society, you’ll find, will prompt belief,

That you’re a Man among the rest.

Not that I mean

To shove you into the mass.

Among ‘the greats’, I’m second-class:

But if you, in my company,

Your path through life would wend,

I’ll willingly condescend

To serve you, as we go.

I’m your man, and so,

If it suits you of course,

I’m your slave: I’m yours! [12].

The reason for making an agreement with evil for Kayrboldi was that he had a poor social life; doctor Faust was interested in discovering new things in the world. The reason that they sold their soul is different but motive is one.

The conclusion is close to Goethe’s “Faust” tragedy. Fast who sold his live for life pleasures was justified; T. Asemkulov justified not only Kayrboldi who sold his heart for life pleasures but also Bektori.

Mephistopheles says:

“Part of the Power that would Always wish Evil,

and always works the Good” [12].

Bektori says «– I understand what you want to say. Are the any benefits from bad things? If you did not face with bad, how would you understand what is good? How would you recognize the truth if you have not faced with lie? The aim of road is to go astray and then find a way. All these grief are made by jinn» [3].

Now, we need to discuss about postmodernism description of the texts. The fairytale “Er Tostyk” was changed, motives and characters were used in intertextual base and it was written in parody description. As we can see from the examples above the evil character Bektori was absolutely written in a new way. The stories develop the idea not to use classical object and subject according to paradigm of postmodernism philosophy. The author mentioned that all categories bad, good, lie, truth can exist in one space even in one person in the dialog of Bektori.


We could prove that A. Baybol and T. Asemkulov put new zest into the Kazakh literature of expressing new forms of idea and that they used some methods of postmodernism that is living more than sixty years and influencing on world literature. Furthermore, we investigated that both authors avoided missing the ethnical functions of traditional literature in their works. We think that all experiments mentioned in both stories should be appraised by these peculiarities.

The main criteria of postmodernism poetics of A.Baybol is closely related to the intermedial allegory description and successfully implemented but he does not mention any implications that are being used in traditional literature. The value of his works is trine function author-text-reader and the way of his aspiration to form an elite, mass texts.

The story «Òreasure of Bektori” is a successful work full of new methods, that has deep philosophical allusion. Intertextuality, metafiction, absolute denials of postmodernism poetics were successfully implemented in writing a new style.



1.Baybol A. Temirjol vokzalı. Almatı: «Jalın», 2012. -320 b.
2. Bart R. Izbrannıe rabotı: Semiotika. Poetika: Per. s fr./ Sost., obsh. red. i vstwpït. st. G.K. Kosikova. – M.: «Progress», 1989 – 616 s.

Postmodernizm. Énciklopediya. – Minsk.: «Interpresservis»;. 2001. – 1040 s.
9.Slovar literatwrovedcheskix terminov
10. Asemqulov T. «Bektorının qazınası»
11. Ertostik.
Kline, A.S., (poetry translation) "Goethe: Faust Acts I and II Complete"
13. Bodriyyar, J. Simulyakrı i simulyaciya [Tekst] / – Perevod O. A. Pechenkina. – Twla, 2013. – 204 s.