Sandy Kao


I. Chronotope

A. Literary, "time-space."  A unit of analysis for studying texts according to the ratio and nature of the temporal and spatial categories represented. The distinctiveness of this concept as opposed to most other uses of time and space in literary analysis lies in the fact that neither category is privilege; they are utterly interdependent.

B. time,...thickens, takes on flesh, becomes artistically visible; likewise, space becomes charged and responsive to the movement of time plot and history P184

C. Background studies (relating ideas of Bakhtin’s forming the concept of chronotope)

1. Kant
a. time and space are indispensable forms of cognition.

b. different from Kanttime and space are regarded “not as‘transcendental’ but as forms of the most immediate reality”.

2. Relativity theory
a. inseparability of time and event; time as the fourth dimension of space

P116 (Dialogism)

b. “the event [or co-being] of existence

D. Functions of chronotope

1. deviceparticular combinations of time and space as they have resulted in historically manifested narrative forms P109 (Dialogism)

2. fundamental tool for a broader social and historical analysis

a. art and lived experience P111 (Dialogism)

chronotope provides a means to explore the complex, indirect and always

mediated relation between art and life

b. Balzac's novelssalondifferent societies and periods result in different

chronotope both inside and outside literary text

3. a way to rearrange the "distorted"  pattern of events back to their "proper"  or,

their “real-life” chronology

E. Three novelistic chronotopes

1. The Greek Romance: Adventure Novel of ordeal
a. “suddenly” and “at just that moment” as the characteristic of this type of

time P184

b. a human being is passive; fate presents the important role of change one’s

life P185

c. the meaning of finding one’s identity; name has the specific meaning P127 (Dialogism)

2. Adventure Novel of everyday life
a. metamorphosistransformation and identity

b. how an individual becomes other than what he was

c. a new image of a hero who is purified and reborn

d. wanderings“the path of life”

3. Ancient biography and autobiography
a. how a citizen’s life is perceived

b. the public square vs. real-life

c. self and other; the self’s identity needs to be legitimized by some agency

outside itself P134 (Dialogism)

II. Genre

a horizon of expectations brought to bear on a certain class of text types: a concept larger than literary genre; unifies and stratifies language; to define the kind of formula that have tended to limit literary discourse.

A. genre is a master category in dialogism P 145

B. genres are different ways to codify the rules assumed to govern time/space relations in the class to which any given text belongs; an X-ray of a specific world view, a crystallization of the concepts particular to a given time and to a given social stratum in a specific society.

C. relationship between chronotope and genrechronotope determines genre, but also genre determine it

D. importance of genreas norm to individual text

E. a genre embodies a historically specific idea of what it means to be human.

III. Issues to discuss

1. What can readers learn the concept of chronotope from Bakhtin’s theory? What is the relation between chronotope and history, chronotope and culture, and chronotope and ideology?

*historical facts


*public and private life (external and internal life)


2. What is the relation between chronotope and genre?