Dialogue and Literature: Apostrophe, Auditors, and the Collapse of Romantic Discourse

Dialogue and Literature: Apostrophe, Auditors, and the Collapse of Romantic Discourse

Dialogue and Literature: Apostrophe, Auditors, and the Collapse of Romantic Discourse

Dialogue and Literature: Apostrophe, Auditors, and the Collapse of Romantic Discourse

Synopsis

Extending and reframing the works of Bakhtin, Gadamer, Ong, and Foucault--with particular emphasis on Bakhtin's late essays --Macovski constructs a theoretical model of literary dialogue and applies it to a range of Romantic texts. In reconsidering specific works within the context of cultural heuristics, rhetorical theory, and literary history, Macovski redefines Romantic discourse as both extratextual and agonistic. He thereby re-evaluates such Romantic topics as the history of the autotelic self, the proliferation of lyric orality, and the nineteenth-century critique of rhetoric. He examines poetry by Wordsworth and Coleridge, as well as such nineteenth-century prose works as Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, and Heart of Darkness.

Excerpt

Each epoch, each literary trend and literary-artistic style, each literary genre within an epoch or trend, is typified by its own special concepts of the addressee of the literary work, a special sense and understanding of its reader, listener, public, or people.

In each epoch certain speech genres set the tone for the development of literary language. And these speech genres are not only secondary (literary, commentarial, and scientific), but also primary (certain types of oral dialogue -- of the salon, of one's own circle, and other types as well, such as familiar, family-everyday, sociopolitical, philosophical, and so on). Any expansion of the literary language that results from drawing on various extraliterary strata of the national language inevitably entails some degree of penetration into all genres of written language (literary, scientific, commentarial, conversational, and so forth) to a greater or lesser degree, and entails new generic devices for the construction of the speech whole, its finalization, the accommodation of the listener or partner, and so forth.

Bakhtin, "The Problem of Speech Genres"

This book conceives of literary discourse as a composite of voices -- interactive personae that not only are contained within the literary text but extend beyond it, to other works, authors, and interpretations. Within this schema, literary characters interact not only with . . .

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