Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World

Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World

Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World

Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World

Synopsis

Holquist's masterly study draws on all of Bakhtin's known writings providing a comprehensive account of his achievement. Widely acknowledged as an exceptional guide to Bakhtin and dialogics, this book now includes a new introduction, concluding chapter and a fully updated bibliography. He argues that Bakhtin's work gains coherence through his commitment to the concept of dialogue, examining Bakhtin's dialogues with theorists such as Saussure, Freud, Marx and Lukacs, as well as other thinkers whose connection with Bakhtin has previously been ignored. Dialogism also includes dialogic readings of major literary texts, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , Gogol's The Notes of a Madman and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby , which provide another dimension of dialogue with dialogue.

Excerpt

No doubt a third General Editor's Preface to New Accents seems hard to justify. What is there left to say? Twenty-five years ago, the series began with a very clear purpose. Its major concern was the newly perplexed world of academic literary studies, where hectic monsters called "Theory", "Linguistics" and "Politics" ranged. In particular, it aimed itself at those undergraduates or beginning postgraduate students who were either learning to come to terms with the new developments or were being sternly warned against them.

New Accents deliberately took sides. Thus the first Preface spoke darkly, in 1977, of "a time of rapid and radical social change", of the "erosion of the assumptions and presuppositions" central to the study of literature. "Modes and categories inherited from the past" it announced, "no longer seem to fit the reality experienced by a new generation". The aim of each volume would be to "encourage rather than resist the process of change" by combining nuts-and-bolts exposition of new ideas with clear and detailed explanation of related conceptual developments. If mystification (or downright demonisation) was the enemy, lucidity (with a nod to the compromises inevitably at stake there) became a friend. If a "distinctive discourse of the future" beckoned, we wanted at least to be able to understand it.

With the apocalypse duly noted, the second Preface proceeded

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