Spectrum of Voices: Polyvocalism in the Novel and Its Consequences for Narration

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Williams, Daniel
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Middle Tennessee State University
This study seeks to demonstrate the narrative principle of the spectrum of voices, beginning with Mikhail Bakhtin’s description of dialogism in the polyphonic novel and building upon Julia Kristeva’s terminology of intertextualité, especially as it finds application in the novel’s place within the social text. Central to this discussion is the plurality of voices in novelistic narrative, particularly those of the narrator, the reader, and the protagonist, as well as the novel’s function as a catalyst for the encounter and acknowledgment of individual subjectivity between these disparate and often conflicting identities. Using the notions of the affirmation of subjectivity, the social text, and the spectrum of voices, this study concludes with a close reading of China Miéville’s Embassytown and a discussion of the concerns of language, culture, and politics which are central to the development of this novel’s plot, especially as they pertain to intersubjectivity and the mutual recognition between one and other.
Dialogism, Intersubjectivity, Intertextuality, Narration, Novel, Literature