The present paper upholds the problem of quoting as a form of dialogism in postmodern text. Methodologically, the approach, proposed by the authors, integrates two theories. Firstly, it draws on Van Dijk’s Theory, which emphasizes the situational nature of the narrative text in the network of diverse contexts: lingual, cultural, social, ideological, philosophical. Secondly, it relies on the method of syntagmatic oppositions, elaborated by N. A. Shekhtman, which is based on the notion of semantic reduplication. It is assumed that postmodern text is a junction point of many texts written before, which exist in the form of intertextuality and interact via a gigantic dialogue. The participants of the dialogue are the author, the reader, the characters and the wisdom of the previous days as well as modernity. It is argued that quoting serves the basis for dialogism in postmodern text, with allusive proper names as its central elements. Linguistic realizations of quoting and their role in the semantic structure of the novel “Parce que je t’aime” by the French writer G. Musso have been analyzed. In the paper, the authors have demonstrated that postmodern text engages the reader both emotionally and intellectually, making it possible to distinguish between two types of dialogism (emotional and intellectual), which perform different functions, the major being cohesion and backgrounding. The authors have tried to prove that the function of quoting, traditionally a rhetorical device, shifts in postmodern text from an element of embellishment and oratorical credibility to a marker of social and cultural boundaries.
In the course of its evolution human thought moves along the path of complication due to objective reasons, the main of which is the accumulation of experience. In postmodern literature the accumulated spiritual knowledge invested in various types of arts (verbal, visual, architectural, social, etc.) allows modern authors to create an atmosphere of a narrative text saturated with many diverse meanings. Skillfully arranging allusions the author creates a gigantic dialogue in which various epochs, countries, and areas of human knowledge are intertwined. The main participants in this culturally significant dialogue are the author and the reader. The author-originator bears the main responsibility enhancing his work with unique spiritual content, creating conditions for individual multiple interpretations of the text by the readers, building common islands of understanding in the form of inside-the-text comments of various complexity. Postmodern text is a dizzying juggling of elements of quoting that differ in structure, length and function. The purpose of this dialogue is the birth of new spiritual knowledge in the minds of the reader. This is the most noble humane function of literature. The idea of dialogism sustained by and through literature can be traced to the text theory of Bakhtin (2010), particularly his “The Dialogic imagination”, and is also extensively covered in the studies on the problem of intertextuality, first introduced in the works of Kristeva. Intertextuality has a rich history dating back to the times of Chaucer, Shakespeare and even earlier. The 19th and the 20th centuries saw the heyday of the art of quoting with masterpieces by Lawrence, Woolf, Eliot, Joyce, Maugham, Fowles, Updike, Stoppard, Pratchett, Vonnegut to name only a few. The present study investigates various types of dialogical interaction between the author and the reader in the postmodern text initiated by elements of quoting.
Dialogic processes refer to implied meaning in words uttered by the speaker and interpreted by the listener. Dialogic works participate in an endless dialogue that presupposes reaction to the previously advanced information. The term is common both for literary theory and philosophy. In literature dialogic texts are related to other texts in the constant process of mutual multiple semantic interdependence extending, responding, conforming with or confronting each other. This echoes Eliot’s assumption that “the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past” (as cited in Joshi, 2016, p. 192). Some linguists go as far as stating that language itself is dialogic. As it was pointed out by Bakhtin (2010) even human thought is a result of dialogical communication explicit or implicit. It follows that every word ever said or written is a feedback to what has been uttered before and expects some response. All in all, we are willy-nilly involved with each other through our language which turns out to be dynamic, linking and creative in its permanent reinterpretation of the world.
Narrative text is most implicit. It is realized in the integrity of its structure and semantics. Structurally and temporally it is supposed to develop or delineate logically from beginning (exposition) to end (denouement), with broken organization and distorted time that we find in the postmodern text. It is a complex system comprising vocabulary, grammar, syntax, stylistics, these aspects working together to achieve an artistic effect. A text is a cohesive, coherent and integral unit. A narrative text is an elaborate interaction of form and meaning. The text is capable of generating new meanings each time you read it which is termed implicitness or suggestiveness. A text is the result of common effort of the writer producing it and the reader or addressee decoding it. Hence in a text two intellectual codes intersect and interact and the writer’s job is to make this collaboration most effective and exciting. The text’s intricacy is largely due to a system of contexts it exists in. A constellation of both western and Russian linguists contributed to the text theory. There appeared text linguistics with such important names as Halliday (2014), De Beaugrande (as cited in Giuffre, 2017), Hasan (as cited in Wegener et al., 2018), Werlich (1982), and de Beaugrande and Dressler (2016). Russian scholars Galperin (2019), Arnold (2018), Gak (2016), Lotman (2019) laid a considerable foundation for the theory of the text. Modern studies of the text point to its discourse character and focus on the linguistic personality of the author and the characters, different pictures of the world reflected in the narrative discourse. National, cultural, social and ideological characteristics of the text make the core of contemporary theories. Most important works treating text as a discourse belong to van Dijk (as cited in Richardson & Flowerdew, 2016), Harris (as cited in Rodney, 2018), Greimas (as cited in Schleifer, 2016), Habermas (2018), Bloor and Bloor (2013), and their Russian colleagues Karasik (2015), Chudinov (2020), Borbotko (2019).
Postmodern literature is marked by broad experimentation which covers all aspects of the text and turns it into a game both intellectual and entertaining. Postmodern text is a brain-teaser for the readers urging them to piece together fragmented parts of the story presented from different perspectives and scattered about the time line. Its intellectuality is most conspicuous in such features as intertextuality and metafiction or fiction about fiction that call for the reader’s extensive erudition. It is as complex in its interplay of meanings and reminiscences as it is fascinating with irony and black humour that help treat serious subjects playfully. Even the magic and the supernatural become most commonplace with postmodern ‘magic realism’. With its ‘fabulation’ postmodernism blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction. Gloomy and cynical it often tackles such problems as crisis, contradictions, inside and outside chaos, Freudian inner conflict, helplessness and frustration, death and violence treating life as an infinite cycle. For the metaphysics of the postmodern literature we may refer to the works by Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Maltby, McHale, Hutcheon (as cited in Duignan, 2016).
The key feature of postmodernism is intertextuality which means the presence of other texts in the text concerned. One of the key assumptions is the broadening of the notion “text”. Modern approach tends to regard human history and culture as a text, a multicultural code. Starting with the name of Kristeva (1980) the theory of intertextuality is further elaborated in the works of Clayton and Rothstein (1991), Jacobmeyer (Münster) (2018), Kalenych (2020), and van Zoonen (2017).
Quoting is at the core of intertextuality. Quoting can be intentional or unintentional. Russian linguists use the term precedent phenomena meaning precedent texts and precedent names to refer to the elements of quoting. Some suggest the term textual reminiscences. We deal with a quotation if the source is indicated. Accordingly, complete reproduction of the text without the source is termed text application. These are aphorisms and idioms. Incomplete reproduction of the text without the source is referred to as an allusion and antonomasia. Elements of quoting may be of various length and differ in the degree of their recognition by the addressee. Moskvin (2015) classifies precedent texts into a) texts familiar to a limited number of people (e.g.
Precedent phenomena are part of the universal tendency towards stereotyping. They form collective discourse that serves the basis for common ideological understanding and becomes a criterion of social identification. Maslova (2018) defines stereotype as a fragment of the conceptual picture of the world, a mental image, a fixed cultural and national notion about a thing or a situation. Stereotypes ensure culture’s stability and unity. Precedent phenomena are a compact way to store culturally important information which can be reconstructed in the addressee’s memory by one detail, the process called ecphony.
Literary allusion is a device for the simultaneous activation of two texts. The activation is achieved through the manipulation of a special signal: a sign (simple or complex) in a given text characterized by an additional larger “referent”. This referent is always an independent text. The simultaneous activation of the two texts thus connected results in the formation of intertextual patterns whose nature cannot be predetermined. The "free" nature of the intertextual patterns is the feature by which it would be possible to distinguish between the literary allusion and other closely related text-linking devices, such as parody and pastiche (Ben-Porat, 1976, p. 107).
We adhere to a broader interpretation of the term that belongs to Russian linguists. According to Galperin an allusion is an indirect reference, by word or phrase, to a historical, literary, mythological, biblical fact or to a fact of everyday life made in the course of speaking or writing. The use of allusion presupposes knowledge of the fact, thing or person alluded to on the part of the reader or listener (Galperin, 2018).
An allusive proper name (APN) is a name that in contrast to the general corpus of proper names possesses a certain unique referential relevance, which objectively narrows the scope of its meaning thus highlighting the qualitative characteristics of the referent in the APN. This is the basis of APN’s implicit meaning. In today's world we witness the growing importance of cultural and social phenomena centered around people or geographical objects. Therefore, proper names acquire a new semantic load in the form of their implicit meaning assigned to them as a marker of these phenomena.
The primary question of the study is to identify which elements of quoting participate in the dialogism of postmodern text. It is essential to find out if different elements of quoting play similar roles in the dialogism. Furthermore, it would be important to distinguish varieties of dialogism enacted by quoting and trace particular elements participating in them. Besides we must identify the place of APNs in the dialogism. Finally, we are keen to know if quoting has any thematic, age and national specificity in postmodern text.
Purpose of the Study
The material of the research is Musso’s novel “Parce que je t’aime” [Lost and found] (Musso, 2017). It is a brilliant example of postmodernism in literature. It intrigues and invites the reader to follow so many insoluble mysteries. The outcome is baffling. It makes you go back and reread the book with new eyes. And you start to notice postmodern metafiction. You keep asking yourself what if it is not a novel at all but the doctor’s diary? What if it is all but the fruit of the patient’s wild imagination?
The atmosphere of the book is exquisite and artistically subtle. The novel spells hope in spite of the brutality of life episodes of the many characters whose destinies are so intricately interwoven. This sets it apart from other dark narratives of postmodernism. The author meticulously follows the details of appearance, the entourage of apartments and cafes, the geographical location of the characters. He excels most in is the creation of a special spiritual atmosphere which facilitates better understanding of their inner world and inner life. The book demonstrates essential features of postmodernism: deceived expectation, missing links in the chain technique, fragmentariness, jerkiness, expressionism with intense psychological states, tedium vitae, metonymic writing.
The book is extremely intertextual, elements of quoting performing distinct functions. Hence the purpose of the study is to find a way in this labyrinth of elements of quoting by systematizing them both structurally and semantically and draw generic conclusions on the role of quoting in textual dialogism.
Dialogism presupposes a peculiar arrangement of a text so that it is targeted at some audience. Information in the text is arranged so as to produce the most effective response which makes context the leading instrument in the semantic organization of the text.
The two major areas of the text’s dialogical motivation are the heart and the mind of the reader. The artistic nature of the narrative text is its undercurrent psychological overtones. The wider the range of these overtones the more absorbing is the narrative. Equally important is the matter of fact, rational content. So, sense and sensibility work in unity. Considering this the most powerful method to investigate the text’s dialogism is the contextual one. The contextual method deals with all sorts of environments of linguistic units. The immediate context allows to make the meaning of lexical units more precise, individual. In postmodern text of paramount importance is the distant context which makes the text cohesive and coherent. Morphological nature of the immediate context helps create various backgrounds: dynamic relying on verbs, descriptive realized through adjectives and nouns, informative built on nouns. Initiated by the English linguist Firth (as cited in Chapman & Routledge, 2005, p. 81) the contextual method was further contributed to by Amosova (2017), Kolshanskij (2020) and others.
Relying on the heuristics of the contextual method Shekhtman (1988) elaborated the method of syntagmatic oppositions. There are always signs in the text whose function is to actualize the meaning of other signs. This facilitates the process of understanding the text. The fact is indicated by Jacobson, who writes that the meaning of any sign is its translation into another, alternative sign (Jacobson, 1987, p. 232). These contexts contain the intersection of semantic structures of words that show a tendency to close use. Shekhtman (1988) proposes the term allonym which is an accompanying word, another name for the semantic feature that is already represented in this context (p. 37). These relations are observed only when similar words follow each other within the same context. Shekhtman (1988) argues the functions of contexts with semantic reduplication (p. 53). Firstly, it is the function of interpretation which presupposes explanation of the lexeme by its semantic equivalent used in the same context, e.g.
We have scrutinized 31 chapters of Musso’s novel “Parce que je t’aime” [Lost and Found] and found 99 cases of quoting including chapter titles and 21 epigraphs which makes the book quite representative from the point of view of quoting (Musso, 2017). The first feature to catch the eye is the dominance of Americanisms among the elements of quoting: 59 examples (e.g.
Another important peculiarity is the age of the elements: 20-21 century elements prevail (80 examples). New allusions originate from such spheres as music (e.g.
The study shows predominance of APNs among other elements of quoting. They yield 73 examples out of overall 99.
Thorough analysis shows that elements of quoting representing modern reality such as names of hotels, famous brands, city districts are accompanied by contexts whose function is to evaluate, mainly positively: e.g.
Elements of quoting participating in building important meanings are mainly followed by specifying contexts that explain which particular implication of the semantically complex APN is enacted in the context: e.g. La guitare de Clapton avait laissé place à celle de
In epigraphs we notice the postmodern trend to expose the paradoxical nature of things. Here contexts with contrastive meanings are basically concentrated: e.g. Pour trouver
If we correlate elements of quoting with the effect they produce we come to understand that there are two major types of dialogism: intellectual dialogism and emotional dialogism. Let’s analyze the essence of intellectual dialogism (Table
1. The purpose of the epigraph is to make the reader think not only specifically and situationally but in a more generalized way thereby comparing and juxtaposing the reader’s personal experience with the perception of the characters and universal human wisdom. Thus, the semantic perspective of the text is built.
The author’s skill lies in the ability to select the relevant epigraph so that it would emphasize the moral lessons of the chapter. As such the purpose of the epigraph is to induce the reader to analyze and formulate spiritual conclusions as a result of which new humanitarian knowledge is generated. The reader perceives this revelation as personally significant and independently acquired based on empathy and involvement in the events of the story.
Epigraphs represent quoting with attribution and are characterized by accuracy and completeness of reproduction. This gives them credibility, persuasiveness and imperative force encouraging the reader to trust and conceptualize the key ideas of the text. A fragmented and jerky multi-voiced postmodern text acquires logical integrity and coherence through skillfully encrusted quoting.
Of all the 31 chapters in the book 21 are accompanied by an epigraph. The keywords of the epigraphs are abstract concepts that refer the reader to existential problems: e.g. life – 10 epigraphs; fear, suffering - 7 epigraphs; happiness, love – 5 epigraphs; time - 3 epigraphs; the nature of the man – 2 epigraphs. Through epigraphs the author of the postmodern text often emphasizes duality and paradoxical nature of these concepts:
e.g. Nous ne sommes jamais aussi mal protégés contre
2. As a rule, inside the text allusions are represented by APNs that epitomize the key models of human behavior, meaningful examples of social experience of mankind. They are powerfully implicit as they are compressed versions of texts. Such APNs commonly originate from classic works of literature. In the inside-the-text commentary they correlate with abstract nouns that indicate their existential meanings. Accentuation is achieved by the repetition of the same seme in the immediate or distant context and the extended commentary inside the text.
e.g. - Pourquoi veux-tu tuer un homme?
- Pour me venger.
Dans la tête de Connor, trois mots surgirent alors du passé -
e.g. Mark vient le voir tous les jours. Il lui lit “
e.g. L'urgence de se défaire
e.g. Connor déteste cet endroit, comme il déteste ce qui, de près ou de loin, se rapporte à la police. Depuis qu'il a vu “
Revenge and the feeling of guilt after it become the “dark secret” that connect the characters of the novel who might even not know each other before they become close. The epigraph of chapter 26 “Vivez bien. C'est la meilleure des
Quoting organizes the semantic canvas of the narrative in which the voices of different writers of distant epochs communicate, inviting the reader to find the connecting link between these intellectual constructions conceived by the author.
The other type of dialogism completing intellectual dialogism is emotional dialogism (Table
Emotional dialogism is meant to evoke visual images, some particular mood, ideas about the place of narration (entourage). It deals with significant details of the narrative.
e.g..: C'était un
Thanks to these APNs we may feel the comfort of the café and plunge into the cultural atmosphere marked by the national flavor. The text gets its voice and the reader gets familiar with the local colouring.
Emotional imaginative dialogism engages different spheres of sense-perception ranging from visual, auditory, nasal to artistic through the titles of books and names of great writers and even extends as far as geographical orientation and social identification.
In the postmodern text, we observe the expansion of the boundaries of allusion, which is largely due to APNs that carry social information and indicate the boundary between poverty and wealth. The names of places of busy social activity (shops, hotels, restaurants), names of brands, districts of cities, names of perfumes, makes of cars, brands of bags and liquors become allusive. Allusive names begin to implicitly outline the boundaries of social groups.
The Oasis, a rich hotel in Las Vegas, comes to symbolize luxury and idle life. The “ancient” Pontiac that belongs to the poor family of the woman working in its services looks ironic and emphasizes the insurmountable material gap between the guests and the personnel.
On the basis of our attentive analysis of the postmodern novel “Parce que je t’aime” [“Lost and Found”] by Musso (2017) we drew two tables representing semantic and functional features of the elements of quoting that participate in dialogism.
To sum up we register intense concentration of elements of quoting in the postmodern text. They serve the main mechanism of dialogism. The age of the elements of quoting is getting younger. In the postmodern text quoting is often used to create a sociocultural background of the narrative enacting multisensory virtual reality, multiculturalism and panchrony of the text.
The conducted analysis allows to clarify the definition of allusion as an element of the text characterized by intense associativity occupying an important place in the sociocultural space of the national discourse. It is always contextually relevant. Allusive meaning is implicit and contextually bound.
Often in the postmodern text allusion performs the function of delimiting the boundaries of the social space pointing to the sociocultural orientations of the poor and rich segments of society.
In this regard the central place among other elements of quoting belongs to APNs as markers of important sociocultural meanings and the main vehicle of dialogism in the text. APNs charged with implicit meaning act as a trigger for the reader’s responses in the form of images, meanings, sounds, spatial and social representations. APNs are therefore compact depository of such information.
The playful nature of the postmodern text is manifested in the telescopic structure of the dialogical construction of meaning through elements of quoting. The key semantic lines represented by APNs and quotations without attribution within the text are reinterpreted under the influence of epigraphs placed in the strong initial position of the text which in their turn are reconsidered interacting with the reader's personal experience. Thus, there is a complex dialogical interaction between the experience of the character in the text, the author himself, the authors of the quoted works and the reader.
Dialogism based on quoting is as alluring emotionally as it is challenging intellectually. It makes the chaotic and disconnected postmodern text unified and cohesive.
The article is written within the research work on the topic “World-modelling in media discourse against the backdrop of global challenges: cognitive, pragmatic and ideological aspects” (research contract of 01.06.2020, № 16-298, contract owner Mordovian state pedagogical institute named after M. E. Evseviev).
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20 November 2020
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Sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, bilingualism, multilingualism
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Kurochkina, M., & Kushneruk, S. (2020). Quoting As A Form Of Dialogism In The Postmodern Text. In Е. Tareva, & T. N. Bokova (Eds.), Dialogue of Cultures - Culture of Dialogue: from Conflicting to Understanding, vol 95. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 472-484). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.11.03.51