Mikhail Bakhtin

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What exactly is Mikhail Bakhtin trying to explain in "Discourse in the Novel"?

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To Bakhtin, the novel stands apart from earlier forms such as the epic or lyric poem because it includes a multiplicity of voices. It is polyphonic, or made up of a blend of voices and dialects. It functions by including a number of different perspectives and clashing points of view. Therefore, Bakhtin characterized the novel as dialogic. In contrast, an epic like Homer's Iliad has a unifying worldview.

Bakhtin's theory of the novel came to the forefront in the late 1970s, when many groups such as women, blacks, formerly colonized peoples, and other minorities were fighting to articulate their views on literature and through literature. The...

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