SYNTAX AND ITS SUBVERSION
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My epigraph above finds Bakhtin’s friend Valentin Voloshinov in a relatively relaxed discursive mood, freely fashioning a response to a suggestion from a ‘bourgeois’ German philologist that the French language be radically proletarianized. The full implication of my reason for quoting it will need to wait until much later in this chapter: I will content myself for now with pointing out the rich transnational negotiation that is in play when, in the early twentieth century, a Russian not only quotes a German on the condition of French, but also tries to enter the German’s mind and ventriloquize the unspoken subtext of his call for linguistic revolution in another part of Western Europe. In the meantime, I will begin my major argument with another quotation – this time on the theme of quotation itself.