Epic and Novel
Bakhtin, M. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Michael Holquist. Caryl Emerson and Holquist. Austin: U of Texas P, As we will see below, all these phenomena are explained by the transposition of other genres into this new and peculiar zone for structuring artistic models a zone of contact with the present in all its openendedness , a zone that was first appropriated by the novel. Only that which is itself developing can comprehend development as a process.
Bakhtin, Mikhail. David Duff.
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Epic and Novel
In vol. Also published are Bakhtin's notes for the lecture, on which the article is based, and a partial transcript of the discussion that followed the lecture. As the newly published material reveals, Bakhtin framed this article as a study in the philosophy of genres. In this essay, Bakhtin attempts to outline a theory of the novel and its unique properties by comparing it to other literary forms, in particular the epic. Bakhtin sees the novel as capable of achieving much of what other forms cannot, including an ability to engage with contemporary reality, and an ability to re-conceptualize the individual in a complex way that interrogates his subjectivity and offers the possibility of redefining his own image. He also stresses the novel's flexibility: he argues it is a genre with the unique ability to constantly adapt and change, partly because there is no generic canon of the novel as there is for epic or lyric poetry. That is, its form and structure situate it in a distant past that assumes a finished quality, meaning it cannot be re-evaluated, re-thought or changed by us.