PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY
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The first of these two epigraphs is an amalgam of statements made by Bakhtin in interviews in the last years of his life; the second comes from ‘Epic and Novel’, written some thirty years earlier. Since Bakhtin saw himself as a philosopher, and since he is a known champion of the novel genre, both propositions carry an implication and intonation which are positive. The first suggests that philosophy is a discourse which only gives ‘life’ perspective in so far as it is distanced from contemporaneity; the novel’s thriving precisely and especially in an element of contemporaneity is the clear import of the second. Do they therefore contradict each other? Did Bakhtin change his mind? The short answer to both of these questions is ‘No’; the long answer would be an unfolding of the dialogical relations these utterances set up simply by being laid alongside each other. This chapter is a version of that longer answer.