Literary Approach - Dialogism

The Norton Introduction to Poetry
Editor: J. Paul Hunter, University of Chicago
(Norton & Company, 1999)


The Norton Introduction to Poetry: Dialogism


University of Chicago professor emeritus J. Paul Hunter defines critical approaches to evaluating poetry and prose in this excellent text published by Norton & Company. The book is now in its ninth edition with contributing editors Alison Booth, University of Virginia, and Kelly J. Mays, University of Nevada.

“Based on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975). The dialogic critic bases the study of language and literature on the individual utterance, taking into account the specific time, the place, the speaker, and the listener or reader. Because the dialogic sees utterances, including literary utterances or works, as specific to a time and place, one of its dimensions, unlike formalist, structuralist, or psychological criticism, is historical. Nineteenth-century historical criticism took the obvious fact that a work is created in a specific historical and cultural context and that the author is a part of that context in order to treat literature as a product of culture.”


Dialogism analyzes literature while considering the historical period and the place in which it was written. This critic delves into peripherals of an author's world, rather than focusing on text as an independent entity in a structured or pre-ordered manner. The writer is a contributor within a particular culture.