11 July 2012


"Only purely mechanistic relationships are not dialogic, and Dostoevsky categorically denied their importance for understanding and interpreting life and the acts of man. " (M. Bakhtin)

"Thus all relationships among external and internal parts and elements of his novel are dialogic in character, and he structured the novel as a whole as a 'great dialogue.'" (M. Bakhtin)

This is not about Dostoevsky.

This is about being a competent reader.

"What does it mean to be a 'competent reader' of Bakhtin? Surely it means to hear a dialogue, perhaps even to recognize the major voices embedded in it, but it must be a dialogue where no voice is done the 'slightest violence.'" (W. Booth)

Life requires competent readers. Novels require life. Stories describe and ensure our survival, our continuity, our particular understanding of being human. Novels offer us a point of entry into the great dialogue itself. Hearing, recognizing and ensuring that no voice is done even the "slightest violence" can create a world very different from this one. I have taken this project on as a moral and ethical responsibility.

"suffice it to say . . .'the whole' is not a finished entity; it is always a relationship." (W. Booth)

A relationship between the work (art) and the worker (artist). T'áá ałtso ałhił ka'iijée'go. Every thing in the universe is related. A relationship between the speaker and the listener. T'áá ałtso ałhił ka'iijée'go. No word exists in isolation. T'áá ałtso ałhił ka'iijée'go. No person exists without place. T'áá ałtso ałhił ka'iijée'go. Every relation requires an ethics of exchange, an agreement between beings, a willingness to be inside oneself while another is wholely inside themselves as well. Unity and empathy are not achieved by dissolution. The great dialogue is an exchange over time and across terrain (metaphysical, ideological, and geographical), where we do not disintegrate, or retain such rigid exteriors that we cannot hear, and perhaps even recognize the major voices.

Recognition requires developing an ear.

Recognition reaquires familiarity.

Recognition requires vulnerability and a willingness to being seen yourself.

all quotes are from: Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, Edited and Translated by Caryl Emerson, Introduction by Wayne C. Booth, Theory and History of Literature, Volume 8

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