Employing an innovative series of related analytic models,
The Dialogic Sign treats the four major novels (
Crime and Punishement, The Idiot, The Possessed, and
The Brothers Karamazov) of the great nineteenth-century Russian prose writer, F.M. Dostoevsky. The purpose of the book is to explore what makes Dostoevsky's writing distinctive not only within the sphere of Russian letters but also within the global context of world literature. The book articulates the novelist's striking reliance on absence (of direct speech; of a major character) to evoke, paradoxically, a profoundly felt
presence. It discusses the writer's use of minimal narrative forms in deploying elaborate internal modeling systems within the greater narrative (
The Brothers Karamazov). Drawing principally upon the thought of Mikhail Bakhtin, the twentieth-century Russian literary theorist and philosopher of dialogue,
The Dialogic Sign elaborates features of Dostoevskian dialogue that account for its extraordinary dynamic and dramatic quality.
New York, Bern, Frankfurt/M., Paris, 1991. 219 pp.
Contents: This book elaborates features of Dostoevsky's highly distinctive narrative art. These include his striking use of
nonverbal strategies within dialogic structures, the creation of a «poetics of absence,» the deployment of elaborate internal
modeling systems yielding a «dialogic thematics,» and his generating a text by means of these systems.