Monday, September 10, 2012

Epic and Novel: Toward a methodology for the study of the novel

"Studying other genres is analogous to studying dead languages, studying the novel, on the other hand, is like studying languages that are not only alive, but still young."

This quote from Bahktin's Dialogic Imagination makes me wonder what studying self or autoethnographic research is analogous to. I don't have a definite answer to that question. Sometimes it feels like operating on your own body, accompanied by the same feeling of unnaturalness and pain; sometimes it feels like re-creating yourself, with all the wildness of imagination and joy of artistic self expression of your conceptions and desires; sometimes it feels like collecting dead butterflies with the hope to put together a puzzle that might or might not exist, that might be divine or a monster, as that organic whole you want to recreate and represent eludes you, with all its wonders and with all its contradicting bits and pieces. What a wonderful challenge! The result will either be an epic or a tragedy I would bet on the latter :-)

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