Peter Stein Larsen: Drømme og dialoger
Det ligger ikke i kortene, at Bachtin skal være en centrale teoretiker i en doktorafhandling om lyrik. Tværtimod, skulle man mene. Bachtins forhold til lyrik er mere negativt end positivt – og i bedste fald ambivalent, fordi han i samme udstrækning, som han karakterisere den som monolog, anvender en række lyriske eksempler.
Men Bachtin er en central teoretiker i Peter Stein Larsens doktorafhandling: Drømme og dialoger. Doktorafhandlingen er en kortlægning af dansk lyrik omkring 2000, som den kan forstås med udgangspunkt i to poetiske traditioner, nemlig en centrallyrisk med rødder i symbolismen og modernismen og en interaktionslyrisk, der er inspireret af prosaen og avantgarden.
I Drømme og dialoger foretages der læsninger af over 50 poetiske forfatterskaber, og disse sættes i relation til hinanden. Afhandlingen redegør for brugen af former, kompositionsprincipper, klang og rytme, billedsprog og udsigelse inden for moderne lyrik – og for sammenhængen mellem disse.
Drømme og dialoger argumenterer for, at den lyriske genre hverken er død eller døende, men at den står foran en dynamisk udvikling og også i fremtiden vil spille en afgørende rolle inden for litteraturen.
Blogging from my cell on the train towards Kristiansand here. Remember that you may send texts to Jan Lundquist, Christian Christiansen or me – Henriette Thune – if you want to share Bakhtin news on this site!
Valerie and Cosmogirl (photo: Gisle Bjørneby)
Tomorrow I head for Kristiansand where I have been invited to give a seminar about Sara Stridsberg’s The Dream Faculty at the University of Agder Thursday morning. Professor Unni Langås has a group of master students studying canon formation and critique, and they were already scheduled to read The Dream Faculty before I was invited to join them about a month ago.
I am looking very much forward to getting these students not only to discuss The Dream Faculty with me, but also to try out and discuss Bakhtin’s 3 step method for analysis of the aesthetic object put forth in “The Problem of Content, Material and Form in Verbal Art” (ca. 1924). Practically this means that I start out sketching Bakhtin’s method and then let every one of them try to formulate the content of their respective contemplations directed towards The Dream Faculty (step 1), before I present them to mine. Based on this I will present and discuss an overview of my description of the “work in its cognitive givenness”, as Bakhtin formulates it (step 2), the first part of the analysis that is verifiable, and that therefore potentially should be of relevance not only to understanding my immediate experience of the work, but also to substantiating the students’ experiences. Ultimately the students will be doing an hour of group work, where I intend to ask them to try to link the content of their respective contemplations to the description of the work in its cognitive givenness (step 3).
To problematize the idea of form shaping ideology (or perhaps more specifically ideology shaping form?) I will put The Dream Faculty in perspective, introducing my reading of the Norwegian theatre adaptation of The Dream Faculty: Valerie Jean Solanas will be president of America (National Theatre Torshov, 2009). I argue that although the theatre play resembles the novel at several key points on the surface (character constellations, story, style, courses of events), the two aesthetic objects produce very different meaning. By analysis I argue that this discrepancy is not primarily result of media specific differences, but instead displays aesthetic form mirroring context and ideological choices (about transportation of transmedial phenomenons or not) made by the artists involved in the adaptation process (for instance translator, director, adapter, actors).
Bakhtin’s aesthetic object consists of aesthetics, ethics and epistemology intertwined, and might therefore inform us on the relation between (aesthetic) form and (ethical-epistemological) ideology.
As some of you know, I am working on a PhD thesis in the intersection between Bakthin, aesthetics, feminist theory and gender studies. February 18th and 19th 2010 I went to an exchange seminar between the gender studies’ culture research group at the University of Stavanger that I am part of, and the research group Being Together at the Centre for Gender Research at the University of Oslo. The common denominator of the seminar (apart from the subjects treated) was Wencke Mühleisen who is leader of Network of Gender Studies at the University of Stavanger, co-advisor of my PhD thesis (next to main advisor Atle Skaftun), and together with Jørgen Lorentzen project leader of the Norwegian Research Council-financed project Being Together – Remaking Public Intimacies. It was a fruitful meeting between several projects that were all tangent to one another, in one or another way.
My main contribution to the seminar was to present part of my adaptation analysis of Sara Stridsberg’s The Dream Faculty to the theatre piece Valerie Jean Solanas shall be president of America, using (not surprisingly) Bakhtin’s concept of the aesthetic object from “The Problem of Material, Content and Form in Verbal Art” (PCMF, ca. 1924) as my starting point. I got a lot of relevant comments – the most interesting, perhaps, a claim that I would have to treat point one of Bakhtin’s three stage model of analysis from PCMF – my description of the content of my contemplation directed towards the aesthetic object – as new produced empirical data on the same level as the novel text and the theatre manuscript, and not primarily as part of my analytical reflection, since it is not verifiable. I am still (and will continue to be) reflecting over that. Comments from any of you will be very welcome!
Me being quite comfortable with the label Bakhtinan feminist, I am also excited about an interest for and initiative from a group of PhD and post doc scholars (also beyond the Being Together group) at the Centre of Gender Research at the University of Oslo to start a reading group on Bakhtin. I am happy to have been invited to be part of the group and will keep you posted as the reading starts.