allusion, T.S. Eliot, Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge, Waste Land, film, poetry, modernism, intertextuality
Allusion is usually considered a literary technique, but relatively little attention has been paid to the notion of allusion as a literary form. In this essay, I attempt to describe the allusive form based on two prominent examples, T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! Though radically different, the two works embody distinguishing characteristics of the allusive form. These are intertextuality, or a dependence upon outside sources for sense and significance; heightened and self-conscious artificiality; a confrontational attitude toward the audience; elitism, based on the exclusivity of allusions; appropriation of multiple cultures; and pervasive anachronism. Though prone to numerous failures, the allusive form allows the creation of a unique dialogue between artist and audience, as well as a precarious simultaneity of past, present, and future.
Magedanz, Stacy, "Allusion as Form: The Waste Land and Moulin Rouge!" (2006). Library Faculty Publications. 14.