Ally Chang  May 2, 2000; Kate Liu Nov. 2002
"Discourse in the Novel"


 I. Major Questions, Concepts and Terms in "Discourse in the Novel"

 A. Questions: 
-- How is the language of poetry different from that of novel?  Why is the former the more privileged literary form than the latter?  
-- How does novel stratify its discourse and how is novelist heteroglot related to social heteroglot?  

B. Heteroglossia:  The co-existence of many languages in one social language.  "Dislogism describes the way languages interact, while heteroglossia describes the languages themselves" (Vice 20).
--  many languages exist at the same time. (263):
-- "The base condition governing the  operation of meaning in any utterance. It is that which insures the primacy of context over text. At any given time, in any given place, there will be a set of conditions that will insure that a word uttered in that place and  at that time will have a meaning different than it would have under any other conditions; all utterances are heteroglot . . . " (428).
-- Language in the context of time and space: The historical meanings of the same word in one language is  given in different times and spaces.

 B. Dialogism & Utterance: 
-- Performance of speaking tone. (33-4) One word or utterance with different tones bring different  significance of intention.
-- Juxtaposition of language (34, 36): The various conditions of juxtaposing different languages, which will converse with one another.
-- over-determination and dynamic interaction:  

  • "As such they may be juxtaposed to one another, mutually supplement one another, contradict one another
     and be interrelated dialogically" (34).
  • "Language is not a neutral medium that passes freely and easily into the private property of the speaker's  intentions; it is  populated -- overpopulated--with the intentions of others. Expropriating it, forcing it to submit  to one's own intentions and accents, is a difficult and complicated process" (35).   
II. Outline -- 

A. Modern Stylistics & the Novel 

  • contemporary attention on "separate, isolated stylistic elements" or an individual author's style.  (1191); 
  • knows only two poles: unitary language and the individual speaking 1197

B. Literary language (both spoken and written) and heteroglossia in novel: When we discuss the literary language, we include dimensions of the real life, the literary life, of which language is taken from real life and then been presented.

 A. Both in real life and in literary works, we have oral and written forms of language.

 "Within the scope of literary language itself there is already a more or less sharply defined boundary between everyday-conversational language and written language" (294).

 B.  Heteroglossia in novel vs. the Unitary language of poetry: 
 Novel -- 

  1. "The novel can be defined as a diversity of social speech types, sometimes even diversity of language and a  diversity of individual voices, artistically organized" (32/1192). 
  2. Includes dialects, languages of different social groups, "professional" and "genetic" languages, langauges of generations and so forth." (1199)
  3. Double-voiced discourse is attained whenever there is interaction between social heteroglossia and literary language.

"Heteroglossia, once incorporated into the novel (whatever the forms for its incorporation), is another's language, serving to express authorial intentions but in a refracted way. Such speech constitutes a special type of double-voiced discourse . . . " (40).  

  • Poetry vs. Novel  -- p. 1194; 1200
  • Unitary language defined -- p. 1198; e.g. Aristotelian poetics
  • Dialogism -- inter and intra language dialogue 1200
  • The living word and utterance -- 1202  
    • enters a dialogically agitated and tension-filled environment of alient words, value judgments and accents, .  . .merges with some, recoils from others, intersects with a third group; 
    • living utterance in a socially specific environment and particular historical moment
    • dialogic orientation: directionality toward the object. 1204; the object defined dialogically, 
    • the intentional dimensions 1211-14 : social stratefication + genetic and professional stratefication --> socially significant verbal performance : "infect with its own intention certain aspects of language that had been affected by its semantic and expressive impulse, imposing on them specific semantic nuances and specific asiological overtones; thus it can create slogan-words, curse-words, praise words and so forth.   
    • All the languages of heteroglossia are different points of view.   The referential and expressive --that is, the intentional--factors are the force that stratifies and differentiates the common literary language, but not the linguistic markers. . . 
    • There are no "neutral" words 1214   

C.  The authority of literary language: Author's authority in composition: Author decides what language to be included and how to present them ("the common view" and "going point of view").
 "To one degree or another, the author distances himself from this common language, he steps back and objectifies it, forcing his own intentions to refract and diffuse themselves through the medium of this common view that has become embodies in language" (37).

 D. Parody: The distance thatt authors keeps themselves from their writings attains parodic stylizations in  comic novel. Example: Charles Dickens Little Dorrit.
 1. Ceremonial speeches
 2. Another's speech in another's language is openly introduced as indirect discourse.
 3. High epic style.
 4. Pseudo-objective motivation.
 5. An epic, homeric introduction. (37-40)
 6. fictive solidarity with the hypocritically ceremonial general opinion of Merdle.
 7. hybrid construction where within the frame of authorial speech.
 8. analogous hybrid construction, in which the definition provided by the general opinion of society.
 III. The Speaking Person
A.  a point where centrifugal as well as centripetal forces are brought to bear.  (1199) Transmission and interpretations: "Every conversation is full of transmission and interpretations of other people's words" (40).  

B. Three aspects of the speaking person: (332-3)

1. The speaking person and his discourse in the novel is an object of verbal artistic representation.
 2. Individual character and individual fates--and the individual discourse that is determined by these and only these--are in themselves of no concern for the novel.  
 3. The speaking person in the novel is always, to one degree or another, an ideologue, and his words are always ideologemes. A particular language in a novel is always a particular way of viewing the world.
 C. Psychological impact concerning the speaking location: public sphere: in real life, people give speeches  in public occasions and received other people's speeches too.
 D. The Uniqueness of individual voice: each individual is unique, and each person's voice is certainly unique in historical context.
 E. Socio-ideological consciousness: Double-voiced: "reciting by heart" and "retelling in one's own words"
 F. The authoritative discourses have been implanted in people through education to become internally persuasive discourses later underlining people's behaviors and speeches.
 G. The Authority of Authoritative Discourses: No argument:

 1. Authoritative language is surrounded by many other languages.
 Authoritative discourse may organize around itself great masses of other types of discourses . . . but the  authoritative discourse itself does not merge with these" (42).
 2. People undoubtedly do not have choice to choose the authoritative discourse inasmuch as it is authoritative discourse, it is inoscillatory.
 "Authoritative discourse cannot be represented--it is only transmitted" (43).

 IV. Conclusion.
 A. The language, the culture, the history: According to the idea of uniqueness, each word in any language
 will be given and bring different meanings in different space and time based on the speaker's
 socio-ideological consciousness.
 B. "Half-ours and half-someone else's": This is a world contains heteoglossia.
 1. There is never a world of unitary voice.
 2. Socio-ideological consciousness.
 a. "Consciousness finds itself inevitably facing the necessity of having to choose a language" (35).
 b. "Our ideological development is just such an intense struggle within us for hegemony among various available verbal and ideological points of view, approaches, directions, and values" (44).
 V. Discussion.
 A. Can you identity Bakhtin's difference from formalism?
 B. Bakhtin once had "dialogues" with Marxism and Freudism. Do you see any dialogism among them?
 What is the result of this dialogism?

 Works Cited
 Bakhtin, M. M. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin. Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans.  (pagination in black is from this edition) 
"Discourse in the Novel."  Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Eds. Vincent B. Leitch, et al. NY: Norton, 2001.  (pagination in red.) 
 Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981.
 Rivkin, Julie, and Michael Ryan, eds. Literary Theory: An Anthology. Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1998.
 Vice, Sue. Introducing Bakhtin. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1997.
 Liu, Kang [劉康]. Bakhtin's Dialogism and Cultural Theory [對話的喧聲:巴赫汀文化理論述評]. Taipei
 [台北]: Rye Field [麥田], 1995.