The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (University of Texas Press Slavic Series)

The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (University of Texas Press Slavic Series)

M. M. Bakhtin

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 029271534X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

These essays reveal Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975)—known in the West largely through his studies of Rabelais and Dostoevsky—as a philosopher of language, a cultural historian, and a major theoretician of the novel. The Dialogic Imagination presents, in superb English translation, four selections from Voprosy literatury i estetiki (Problems of literature and esthetics), published in Moscow in 1975. The volume also contains a lengthy introduction to Bakhtin and his thought and a glossary of terminology.

Bakhtin uses the category "novel" in a highly idiosyncratic way, claiming for it vastly larger territory than has been traditionally accepted. For him, the novel is not so much a genre as it is a force, "novelness," which he discusses in "From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse." Two essays, "Epic and Novel" and "Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel," deal with literary history in Bakhtin's own unorthodox way. In the final essay, he discusses literature and language in general, which he sees as stratified, constantly changing systems of subgenres, dialects, and fragmented "languages" in battle with one another.




















stylistic point of view we are faced with a complex system of languages of the era being ap­ propriated into one unitary dialogical movement, while at the -.une time separate "languages" within this system are located at Jtiferent distances from the unifying artistic and ideological cen­ : (:r of the novel. The stylistic structure of Evgenij Onegin is typical of all au­ r �u::ntic novels. To a greater or lesser extent, every novel is a di­ Ji• l�zed s stem made u of f "lan a es, 11 styles and � ·

AND O F THE CHRO N O TO PE IN THE NOVEL Notes toward a Historical Poetics { The process of assimilating real historical time and space in liter­ ature has a complicated and erratic history, as does the articula­ tion of actual historical persons in such a time and spac Isolated aspects of time and space, however-those available in a given historical stage of human development-have been assimilated, and corresponding generic techniques have been devised for re­ flecting and artistically

enuncia­ tion is a n�rati-ve conse.quence of the historian's professional de­ sire to tell "'wie es eigentlich geweseri ist:-'f The novel, by contrast, ·dramatizes the gaps ·that always exist between what is told and , the telling of it, constantly experimenting with social, discursive and narrative asymmetries (the formal teratology that led Hemy James to call them "fluid puddings"). History has perhaps most often been compared with the novel because both presume a certain completeness of

as a supergeme, whose power consists in its ability to en­ gulf and ingest all other genres (the different and separate lan­ guages peculiar to eal(h), together with other stylized but non­ literary forms of language; or not a genre in any strict, traditional sense at all. In either case it is obvious that the history of what might be called novels, when they are defined by their proclivity to display different languages interpenetrating each other, will be extremely complicated. The only history

everything of value, everything that is valorized posi­ :: 1 ely, must achieve its full potential in temporal and spatial : �· rms; it must spread out as far and as wide as possible, and it is :·:c�:essary that everything of significant value be provided with ::;, power to expand spatially and temporally; likewise, every. ... [I68) ' F O RM S OF T I M E AND C H RO N O T O P E IN THE N O VEL thing evaluated negatively is small, pitiable, feeble and must be destroyed-and is helpless to resist

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