Dr. Kate Liu
Report on Bakhtin
May 2, 2000
"Dislogism describes the way languages interact,
while heteroglossia describes the languages themselves" (Vice 20).
I. About Bakhtin and his "Discourse in the Novel"
A. Heteroglossia: 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).
B. Language: different types of languages. Example on page 36.
"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).
C. Juxtaposition of language (34, 36): The various conditions of juxtaposing different languages, which will converse with one another.
"As such they may be juxtaposed to one another, mutually supplement one another, contradict one another and be interrelated dialogically" (34).
D. Performance of speaking: tone. (33-4) One word or utterance with different tones bring different significance of intention. For example.
E. 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.
II. Literary language (both spoken and written) and heteroglossia in novel: When we discuss about 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 verbal 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. It is social and personal language.
"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).
C. Double-voiced discourse is attained whenever there is interaction between 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).
D. 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).
E. 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. (306-7)
III. The Speaking Person
A. 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.
B. Psychological impact concerning the speaking location: public sphere: in real life, people give speeches in public occasions and received other people's speeches too.
C. The Uniqueness of individual voice: each individual is unique, and each person's voice is certainly unique in historical context.
D. Transmission and interpretations: "Every conversation is full of transmission and interpretations of other people's words" (40).
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).
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).
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?
Bakhtin, M. M. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin. Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans. 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.