Dialogue is a many-sided critical concept; at once an ancient philosophical genre, a formal component of fiction and drama, a model for the relationship of writer and reader, and a theoretical key to the nature of language. In all its forms, it questions ‘literature’, disturbing the singleness and fixity of the written text with the fluid interactivity of conversation.
In this clear and concise guide to the multiple significance of the term, Peter Womack:
- outlines the history of dialogue form, looking at Platonic, Renaissance, Enlightenment and Modern examples
- illustrates the play of dialogue in the many ‘voices’ of the novel, and considers how dialogue works on the stage
- interprets the influential dialogic theories of Mikhail Bakhtin
- examines the idea that literary study itself consists of a ‘dialogue’ with the past
- presents a useful glossary and further reading section.
Practical and thought-provoking, this volume is the ideal starting-point for the exploration of this diverse and fascinating literary form.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements and Abbreviations Introduction 1. The Genre Platonic dialogue Renaissance dialogue Enlightenment Dialogue Modern dialogue 2. Dialogue in the Novel Inverted commas Dialogic language Dialogue into novel The dialogue of languages The ideology of dialogue 3. Dialogue in Drama Bakhtin on drama Pure drama Dialogue as illusion Dialogue as action Impurities of the theatre Epic theatre 4. Dialogue in Literary Studies The Go-Between Understanding as dialogue Tradition and the individual talent The lives of others Getting into conversation Further Reading Glossary Bibliography Index
Peter Womack is Professor of Literature and Drama at the University of East Anglia.