Bakhtin's relationship to Dostoevsky

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Hirschkop, Keith. "Mikhail Bakhtin: an aesthetic for democracy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

  • In Problems of Dostoevsky's Art, no text merits prolonged analysis, because the point is to represent Dostoevsky as the creative of a decisively new form of representation, with far more than literary signification (p. 14)
  • This helps to explain why Dostoevsky figures more prominently in Bakhtin's analysis than the work itself, though this focus on the author as someone/something individual seems at odds with Bakhtin's broader sense of dialogism.
  • By defining the novel as a stylistic phenomenon, Bakhtin licenses the mix of philosophical generalizations and brief, punctual illustration (rarely does he cite more than a few lines from any one work) thorough which he can constitute the novel not as a set of texts, but as the embodiment of both a historical situation and the critical principle which might address it. (p. 14)


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