Unreal Nature

February 4, 2018

Within Someone Else’s Horizon

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:57 am

… What is realized in the novel is the process of coming to know one’s own language as it is perceived in someone else’s language …

Continuing through the essay ‘Discourse in the Novel’ found in The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M.M. Bakhtin edited by Michael Holquist (1981):

… The plot itself is subordinated to the task of coordinating and exposing languages to each other. The novelistic plot must organize the exposure of social languages and ideologies, the exhibiting and experiencing of such languages: the experience of a discourse, a world view and an ideologically based act, or the exhibiting of the everyday life of social, historical and national worlds or micro-worlds (as is the case with novels concerned primarily with description, everyday life or travel), or of the socio-ideological worlds of epochs (the novel-memoir, or various types of historical novel) or of age groups and generations linked with epochs and socio-ideological worlds (the Bidungsroman and Entwicklungsroman).

[line break added] In a word, the novelistic plot serves to represent speaking persons and their ideological worlds. What is realized in the novel is the process of coming to know one’s own language as it is perceived in someone else’s language, coming to know one’s own horizon within someone else’s horizon.

… An artistic hybrid demands enormous effort: it is stylized through and through, thoroughly premeditated, achieved, distanced. This is what distinguishes it from the frivolous, mindless and unsystematic mixing of languages — often bordering on simple illiteracy — characteristic of mediocre prose writers. In such hybrids there is no joining together of consistent language systems, merely a random combination of the brute elements out of which languages are made. This is not orchestration by means of heteroglossia, but in most cases merely a directly authorial language that is impure and incompletely worked out.

My most recent previous post from Bakhtin’s book is here.

-Julie

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