When was this book written, and in what context? (1934-35) What kinds of literature did Bakhtin write about? (Rabelais, Dostoyevsky)
What does Bakhtin believe have been some of the flaws in earlier approaches to the study of the novel and of artistic prose? (concerned with stylistics without reference to social world, 1190)
--separation of form and content, ignoring of social world, use of vague descriptors, 1190; application of poetic norms, denial of the artistic nature of fiction, too concerned with individual artist's creative powers, 1191
Does Bakhtin intend his remarks to apply to non-fictional artistic prose, such as Walter Pater's criticism? (1190)
Why does the novel require its own categories? (poetic categories too limited, 1191)
What is Bakhtin's definition of the novel? (multiform in style and variform in speech and voice, 1191-92) According to this definition, what kinds of novels would be preferred?
What are the five categories of "compositional-stylistic unities" within the novel? (authorial voice, stories, inserted literary texts, other inserted texts, speech of characters, 1192)
How do these relate to one another? (combine to form a structured artistic system, 1192-93; style of novel a combination of styles, a diversity of voices, artistically organized)
What are the special properties of the novel? (variety of voices, heteroglossia, relation of different speech types, 1193)
What does he see as features of poetry? (greater unity of language, 1194; ignores the capacity of verse forms to include variety, and the "heteroglossalic" features of modern poetry of his day)
How should we read a novel? (should consider all voices, not seek an oversimplified "theme" or authorial voice, 1194)
What types of novels best fit his analysis?
--relatively loose in structure; little direct authorial voice; many incidents and characters; plots with multiple social classes; ironic, parodic, with inserted elements such as diaries, letters, etc., 1200, 1201
What does Bakhtin see as flaws of earlier analyses? (concern with style of a specific author; the unitary style of the novel, or a specific style, 1193-94)
How does a drama differ from a novel? Why is it less suitable for a Bakhtinian analysis? (1195)
What is the effect of introducing the study of rhetoric into fictional analysis? (1196-97)
What does Bakhtin mean by a unitary language spoken by an individual? (literary language, correct language, dominant language, 1198-99, assumption of unmediated relationship of speaker to his/her own language) Does he approve of them? What opposes such languages? (1199)
What characteristics are present in each utterance? (tension between two poles, 1199; competing processes of language expressed in unity and heteroglossia, 1199)
What does Bakhtin have to say about the social purpose of poems? (1199-1200)
What is the nature and effect of heteroglossia? (street songs, folksongs, fabliaux,etc.; actively oppose literary language and other official languages, 1200)
Might there be political implications of his views on the importance of non-establishment languages?
Would Houston Baker have agreed with these views or he with Baker's view of the vernacular? (verbal masquerade, parodic)
What are some of the features of the dialogic? (can be ironic, parodic, polemical, 1201)
How should we interpret the dialogic? (in specific feel for language, in context of other languages, individual, social or natural, within the culture)
What novels does Bakhtin most admire? (1201, Fielding, Smollett, Cervantes, Sterne) Are these choices significant?
Can Bakhtin's theories be applied to poetry? Which kinds of poetry would be most admired? (e. g. T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," William Carlos Williams's "Paterson")
What are some merits of Bakhtin's approach? What may be some of its limits? To what forms of literature does it apply best?
"Discourse in Poetry and Discourse in the Novel"
What are some different types of discourse? (differing utterances in same language, different social or natural languages, different cultural languages, 1201)
How should we interpret words? (in context of others' words, outer environment, 1201-1202)
What is the purpose of the metaphor of artistic representation as a ray of light? (1203)
What does it mean to speak of the dialogism of the word? (1204)
What effect does the listener have on dialogue? (1205) What gives a work its "actual meaning"? (1205, response or support of listener; its place in context is present in the consciousness of the listener)
Why is an active understanding necessary for a text? (1206, one must consider the one striving to understand) How may the relationship with the listener affect the style of a work? (1207)
What does an awareness of one's embeddedness in a particular language have on one's sense of one's (linguistic) self? (1208)
On what basis does Bakhtin criticize the creation of artificial, literary, poetic languages? (1210)
What are some differences to be recognized within social language? (of genres, profession, social stratification, generations, age, historical periods, 1211-13)
What are some features of generic or professional languages? (1211-12, concrete and particular)
What are some examples of the different speech of different generations and age groups? Of epochs?
What does it mean to say that each of these languages requires a different methodology? (1213, different kinds of language each carry a different world view)
What does language express for the separate individual? (1214, concrete conception of world)
Can language always be assimilated? (no, some must remain in quotation marks, 1215)
Is literary language unifed? (1215, it too is composed of different languages/dialects)
What is the relationship of any individual to such systems? (participates in many, 1216)
What is the significance of the example of the peasant's languages? (1216-17)
What does Bakhtin believe is limiting about poetry? (1217, stamps word with others' intentions)
What is Bakhtin's objection to poetic rhythm?! (1218, restricts words of speech, creates unity--yet one can have shifting rhythms)
For Bakhtin, where does the author reside among the many voices? (intentional factors important, 1214, chooses various levels of distance, 1218-19)
What is the process of artistic creation? (organizes diversity of voices into an artistic system, 1219)
What seems Bakhtin's relationship to Russian formalists such as Eichenbaum? (doesn't concentrate on plot)
Does Bakhtin allow for the overlapping of genres? Are there genres which he omits or which do not fit his theories as well?
Might it be argued that Bakhtin holds too mimetic a view of speech as an internal component of fiction?
(from Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2001, 1186-1220)