Why Mikhail Bakhtin's Theories Are Important To Literary Studies?

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In this essay, there will be an explanation on why Mikhail Bakhtin’s theories are important to literary studies, especially the novel. There will be referred to two of Bakhtin’s books, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1984) and The Dialogic Imagination (1981). In these books Bakhtin refers to terms such as, polyphony and dialogism, and heteroglossia. These terms will be explained and used to explain why Bakhtin played such an important role in the world of literary studies. Bakhtin emphasises the historical, cultural and social aspects of literary texts and that texts should be read through their context. His work is important, because he argues that events should be “composited, theorised and understood”, not just seen as events (Robinson 2011). Bakhtin’s Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics is seen as one of the most important theories on the novel written in the twentieth century. In Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, Bakhtin concentrates on the artistic thinking he calls polyphonic. Polyphony refers to the use of multiple voices or multivoicedness. Bakhtin refers to Dostoefsky’s work as a true representation of polyphony. According to Bakhtin, Dostoevsky’s contains “a plurality of independent and unmerged voices and consciousnesses” (1984:6). In other words, his work contains many different voices and not just that of the author. The work doesn’t only represent the perspective or voice of the author, but that each character has his or her own perspective and ideological

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