Literature and literary criticism throughout the twentieth century are famous for their proclamations of the death of the author, the eclipse of character and the "nothingness of personality," as Borges put it. Walter Reed investigates the ideas of personhood developed by one of the most influential literary theorists of the last century: Mikhail Bakhtin. He finds in Bakhtin a personalism based on the idea of an ongoing dialogue between authors and their heroes in imaginative literature. Such a model of inter-personality, Reed argues, allows us to appreciate the rich possibilities of personhood set forth in the earlier nineteenth-century period of Romanticism.
Elaborating a new general theory and providing close readings of classic works of Romantic poetry and fiction, Romantic Literature in Light of Bakhtin offers a better understanding of the preoccupation with the individual, creative self that lay at the heart of this revolutionary literature that still speaks to readers today.
Walter L. Reed is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. University Professor of English and Comparative Literature in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory University, USA. Professor Reed has taught literature at Yale, the University of Texas, Austin, and Emory University. His publications include Dialogues of the Word (1993), An Exemplary History of the Novel (1981) Meditations on the Hero: A Study of the Romantic Hero in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (1974).
Acknowledgments Foreword:Romanticism in Light of Bakhtin Chapter One: Architectonics: Articulating a Period Imagination Chapter Two: Personalism: Reckoning Voices Chapter Three: Chronotopes: Coordinating Representative Genres Afterword: Bakhtin in Light of Romanticism Appendix: Diagrams Index