the novel as cannibal
...the novel, that mongrelised genre which--unlike epic, pastoral or tragedy--is entirely without rules, and which in Bakhtin's eyes is less a definable form than a deconstructive force. The novel lives purely in its dialogic modes, cannibalising and parodying them. It is a maverick anti-genre, deviantand non-canonical, a secular scripture which shows up all discourse as partial and provisional.
I once audited a course in the theory of the novel--Bakhtin was on the reading list, and I don't remember anything as interesting as this. Obviously, I needed Terry Eagleton (the reviewer) to explain it to me.
In the excavation of my office, I have reached the layer wherein my unfinished novel (the one I abandoned to write the ghost novel) lies, dismembered, its skeleton flattened by the weight of years and notebooks. Shall I brush the accumulated dust away and retrieve it from its burial place? Maybe.