Techniques Of Close Reading English Language Essay

August 14, 2017 English Language

‘Kristeva ‘s semiotic attack seeks to analyze the text as a textual agreement of elements which possess a dual significance: a significance in the text itself and a significance in what she calls “ the historical and societal text ” . ‘ Discuss, doing mention to Saussure and Bakhtin.

“ Julia Kristeva changes the topographic point of things: she ever destroys the last bias, the one you thought you could be reassured by, could take pride in ; what she displaces is the already-said, the deja-dit, i.e. , the case of the signified, i.e. , stupidity ; what she subverts is authority – the authorization of the monologic scientific discipline, of descent. ”[ 1 ]

Roland Barthes

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Julia Kristeva is celebrated for being one of the most outstanding figures of post-structuralist idea, along with the likes of Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. Known as being one of the taking Gallic women’s rightists, and a taking force in assorted other Fieldss, including but non limited to literary theory and depth psychology, she was the 1 responsible for conveying to illume the work of Mikhail Bakhtin ( his dialogical attack to linguistic communication and literature, every bit good as his impressions of intertextuality – a term which Kristeva subsequently coined – and the carnivalesque ) to the West, which at the clip used to adhere to Ferdinand de Saussure ‘s structuralist history of meaning. Therefore, one may easy travel on to state that Kristeva was strongly indebted to both Saussure and Bakhtin ‘s work and theories in her ain structuralist and post-structuralist surveies. She examines their theories in the ‘Word, Dialogue and Novel ‘ .

Structuralism – which started as an rational motion in France in the 1950s and 60s – has its unconditioned beginnings in the plants of Ferdinand de Saussure. It seeks to analyze texts in relation to the wider constructions and contexts which surround them, and happen significance that is dependent upon the “ specific cultural and societal context in which it operates ”[ 2 ]. Finally, post-structuralism evolved as a reaction against the structuralists ‘ inclinations to analyze literature in such a methodological, systematic and scientific mode. Post-structuralism, in contrast, besides developed the position that world itself is textual and, hence, linguistic communication is non an orderly system at all, but is, instead, a fluid medium which defies meaning.

Saussure is normally known as being the laminitis of modern linguistics, every bit good as what is known as semiologies, which investigates the nature of marks and the Torahs regulating them. Semiotics teaches us that we live in a universe made up of marks and codifications, which organise it and give sense to it. Saussure believed that linguistic communication is the most of import of all the mark systems. These marks are arbitrary, “ possessing significance non because of a referential map but because of their map within a lingual system as it exists at any one minute of clip ”[ 3 ]. His observations on the differences between ‘langue ‘ and ‘parole ‘ ( ‘language ‘ – the abstract, overarching systems of regulations – and ‘speech ‘ – the usage of linguistic communication in single, peculiar state of affairss – severally ) are well-known and recognised. Harmonizing to Saussure, it is these common codifications are what allow conversations between persons to be communicated.

Such surveies, along with others such as his structural impressions of the construct of the mark and the ‘signifier ‘ and the ‘signified ‘ were subsequently scrutinised, and even built and worked upon by post-structuralists such as Bakhtin, who “ shuns the linguist ‘s proficient cogency ” and offers a dialogical attack to texts. As Kristeva says, he elaborates “ from the point where [ lingual methods or societal presumptions ] leave off ”[ 4 ]..

Saussure had realised that, even in “ the most plain-spoken communicating has a rupture within it ” – this spread being between the form ( the signifier which the mark takes ) and the signified ( the construct it represents ) . The mark is the consequence from the association of the form with the signified.

Bakhtin himself was more concerned with, and focused on his surveies, the societal context in which words are expressed, and the minute at which they are exchanged. As he argues, by curtailing linguistic communication, coercing it into a construction and scene regulations by which to stay – the premier illustration of such a digest of stiff regulations being the dictionary – 1 may disregard or really lose the “ societal specificity ” of linguistic communication. As a bookman of Bakhtin, Simon Dentith, points out in relation to this topic: “ Dictionaries are the cemeteries of linguistic communication ” .[ 5 ]An vocalization, or any written work for that affair, can non be understood as being remarkable in intending. It is connected to forms of apprehension, old vocalizations and plants, every bit good as vocalizations and works to come. No vocalization or work, as Bakhtin/Volosinov argue, is independent or what they term ‘monumental ‘ ( 1986: 72 ) . -pg19

Consequently, linguistic communication itself grows and alterations as clip passing. It is non monologic ; there is no ultimate, unquestionable truth. Rather, Bakhtin establishes that linguistic communication is dialogic.

As Kristeva herself states, “ Bakhtin was one of the first to replace the inactive hewing out of texts with a theoretical account where literary construction does non merely be but is generated in relation to another construction ”[ 6 ], and he uses this theoretical account to set up a signifier of novel with a signifier of consciousness. Kristeva makes usage of Bakhtin ‘s focal point on the dialogic nature of words and vocalizations in her onslaught on the construct of integrity, which “ she associates with claims to authoritativeness, unquestionable thruth, elementary communicating and society ‘s desire to quash plurality ” . Simply put, she speaks out against the very foundations of Western logic.-p43

Bakhtin viewed narrative as a “ prohibition, a monologism ” – the bowing down to God, the 0-1 logic. Mentioning Tolstoy ‘s novels as one of those realist novels who obey this logic, they give descriptions of “ ‘personality ‘ , ‘character ‘ creative activity and ‘subject ‘ development ” harmonizing to their very definitions. Therefore, they are monological, and can merely of all time make 0-2 logic through carnival.

A monologic society, such as that of Stalinist Russia – in which Bakhtin himself lived – knees freedom and originative chances in which a society might invariably let itself to be renewed. Influenced greatly by the Gallic Renaissance author Francois Rabelais, Bakhtin refers to the medieval epoch as being an age in which truth may be suspended and parodied through sarcasm and laughter ( in ‘Rabelais and his universe ‘ ) . During the Carnival celebrations, the usage of profane linguistic communication, the portraiture of the grotesque, of in-your-face distorted signifiers of gender and poisoning is a complete perversion and overturning of the dominant stiff societal codifications of order imposed by the State and the Church. Bakhtin found the modern literary equivalent of this break of societal order, which he named the ‘carnivalesque ‘ , in the novel.

Therefore, Bakhtin aims to indicate out that the dialogic facet of linguistic communication is “ basically endangering to any unitary, autocratic and hierarchal construct of society, art and life ” . In dystopian novels such as George Orwell ‘s ‘1984 ‘ or Margaret Atwood ‘s ‘The Handmaid ‘s Tale ‘ , linguistic communication and the significance of vocalizations are controlled by a totalitarian entity, which even creates new words, untainted by old societal or historical intensions, keeping merely the 1 intended definition. If, possibly, slightly utmost, these illustrations, show merely how restricting a structured, scientific generalization of linguistic communication can be, as Bakhtin says, to those who wish to understand art or linguistic communication itself.

It is the breakage of this logic on both degrees. As Kristeva sums it up ; “ Carnivalesque discourse interruptions through the Torahs of a linguistic communication censored by grammar and semantics and, at the same clip, is a societal and political protest ”[ 7 ].

The novel which assimilates this Carnivalesque construction is termed as being ‘polyphonic ‘ . Bakhtin cites Rabelais, Swift and Dostoevsky as illustrations, while Kristeva adds 20th century authors ( Joyce, Proust, Kafka ) to the list.

It is here that Kristeva builds up farther upon Bakhtin ‘s theories, when coining the term ‘intertextuality ‘ ( “ intertextual duologue ” ) , in bespeaking a interruption which is “ non merely literary but besides societal, political and philosophical in nature ” .[ 8 ]


She concludes that, both “ within the interior infinite of the text every bit good as within the infinite of texts, poetic linguistic communication is a ‘double ‘ ” aˆ¦ .


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