The Teacher Explains Why We Begin the Way We Begin

This unit is about establishing the mindset I’ll be expecting you to apply to the work you do all year long in this class. It is predicated on the idea that literature is by nature dialogical, that is, that every piece of literature you read picks up on an existing…

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A Perspective on Dialogue

I’m using the word dialogue to encompass a number of different kinds of interactions, and the problem I’m creating for you is one of applying the right meaning to the right context. A quick Wikipedia search of the word “dialogical” turns up this helpful description:

The English terms dialogic and dialogism often refer to the concept used by the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin in his work of literary theory, The Dialogic Imagination. Bakhtin contrasts the dialogic and the “monologic” work of literature. The dialogic work carries on a continual dialogue with other works of literature and other authors. It does not merely answer, correct, silence, or extend a previous work, but informs and is continually informed by the previous work. Dialogic literature is in communication with multiple works. This is not merely a matter of influence, for the dialogue extends in both directions, and the previous work of literature is as altered by the dialogue as the present one is.

I hope this helps.