The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays

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University of Texas Press, Mar 1, 2010 - Philosophy
42 Reviews

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.


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Review: The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays

User Review  - Mara Eastern - Goodreads

Not an easy read, but delightful and enlightening once one gets over the heaviness of the writing style. Read full review

Review: The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays

User Review  - Kyle - Goodreads

The initial curiosity in discovering what a chronotope is and however tangentially it is connected Einstein's quantumish theory gets a thorough explanation in the four essays on the novel's place ... Read full review

Selected pages


Epic and Novel
From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse
Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel
Discourse in the Novel

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About the author (2010)

Vadim Liapunov is an associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures at Indiana University.

Caryl Emerson is A. Watson Armour III Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University.

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