The Real Problem with Dostoevsky's Poetics

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Previous: The Ethics of Addressivity and Answerability: Otherness and Bakhtin's Non-Alibi for Being
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General Focus and Chapter Thesis Questions Raised in Discussion Dialogic Strategies Questions, Comments, Concerns
This chapter aims to: Approach art via literary theory
(A) observe some of Dostoevsky's dialogic strategies and how they produce what Bakhtin calls "The Polyphonic Novel"; discuss how these novels are distinct from monologic novels, exemplified by Tolstoy

(B) look at the limitations of Dostoevksy's approach, specifically

  • (1) that he's not encountering genuine otherness - the other as unknown and so he ends up writing under pseudonyms;
  • (2) Even if his work is dialogic in the ways Dostoevsky claims, his novels collapse into monologism at the end.

(C) Argue that this collapse isn't such a problem if what we focus on is the account he offers - thickness of the account - connect this to ANT and tracing different relationships

(C1) Argue that what we get instead is a portrait of the event - portrait is a good metaphor here - again thinking through the lens of intertextuality (which produces portraits of texts)- because it suggests a stoppage in time - something portrayed at a particular time and in a particular space - also nice because it connotes a picture of a person - human aspect - focus on human relations (which are often mediated through technologies) - intersubjectivity
(C2) Evoke's Bakhtin's discussion of finalization - which has to occur from the outside - Only an other can finalize me by creating an image of me; I can never finalize myself because to do so means I'm dead.

(D)Discuss the relevance of Bakhtin's literary theory for art - produce a different kind of art - compare Bakhtin's theories of poetry with normative notions of art as object - something contained and consumable

The first question in discussion draws out the presentation's overarching argument: What this approach is dealing with is way of dealing with excess - mess - stuff that refuses to be compartmentalized and easily resolved - The messiness of stuff in the world and the messiness of stuff in your head (This connects to John Law's Making a Mess of Method) - This approach tries to describe this stuff without necessarily organising it into artificial categories - beyond taxonomies and towards greater and greater complexity. The presentations/questions should enact the double-voicedness proposed by the presentation Portrait metaphor - unnecessarily anthropomorphic?

Presenter Biog Rationale for selection

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