A Dialogue of Voices: Feminist Literary Theory and Bakhtin by Karen Hohne, Helen Wussow

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By Karen Hohne, Helen Wussow

A discussion of Voices was first released in 1994. Minnesota Archive variants makes use of electronic know-how to make long-unavailable books once more obtainable, and are released unaltered from the unique collage of Minnesota Press editions.

The paintings of the Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, rather his notions of dialogics and style, has had a considerable influence on modern serious practices. earlier, notwithstanding, little consciousness has been paid to the chances and demanding situations Bakhtin provides to feminist idea, the duty taken up in A discussion of Voices. the unique essays during this publication mix feminism and Bakhtin in targeted methods and, via analyzing texts via those lenses, arrive at new theoretical methods. jointly, those essays aspect to a brand new course for feminist conception that originates in Bakhtin-one that may result in a female être instead of a female écriture.
concentrating on feminist theorists comparable to Hélène Cixous, Teresa de Lauretis, Julia Kristeva, and Monique Wittig at the side of Bakhtin's thoughts of dialogism, heteroglossia, and chronotope, the authors supply shut readings of texts from quite a lot of multicultural genres, together with nature writing, sermon composition, nineteenth-century British women's fiction, the modern romance novel, Irish and French lyric poetry, and Latin American movie. the result's a special discussion within which authors of either sexes, from numerous international locations and diverse eras, communicate opposed to, for, and with each other in ways in which demonstrate their works anew in addition to the severe matrices surrounding them.

Karen Hohne is an self sustaining student and artist residing in Moorhead, Minnesota. Helen Wussow is an assistant professor of English at Memphis kingdom University.
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Laughter," Bakhtin writes, "demolishes fear and piety before an object" ("Epic and Novel," 23). What I have tried to argue here is that the Medusa is not truly laughing, not in the Bakhtinian sense, for the Medusa's laughter replaces whatever myth it subverts with another version of the same pious, perhaps even frightening, image. According to the myth, the monster is deadly. Merely to look upon her reduces the observer to silence, turns him to stone. Cixous encourages the look with inviting reassurance: "You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her.

There can be no clean slate like the one Cixous imagines. "Only the mythical Adam . . could really have escaped from start to finish this dialogic inter-orientation with the alien word that occurs in the object," Bakhtin writes. "Concrete historical human discourse does not have this privilege: it can deviate from such inter-orientation only on a conditional basis and only to a certain degree" ("Discourse," 279). As Cixous approaches the object and its alien word, she imagines that it is already feminine.

My purpose here has not been to question the redefinition of the relationship between self and other that Cixous proposes, "The Locus for the Other" 17 but rather to suggest that Bakhtin offers a necessary corrective to her vision for women's writing. Indeed her "new" model, the one she claims women have always lived, finds its more benevolent expression in Bakhtin, whose rhetoric is considerably less violent and whose laughter is more welcoming than Cixous's. Her self-styled "self-seeking" text celebrates a union with the other for whom Cixous has no need and to whom, in the end, she has left no place.

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