Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On the Impossibility of Repetition

In her editor's preface to M.M. Bakhtin's Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, Caryl Emerson writes regarding translating Bakhtin:

On the issue of repetition, Bakhtin is his own best counsel. His understanding fo the word, and of the specificity of the utterance, invalidates the very concept of repetition. Nothing "recurs"; the same word over again might accumulate, reinforce, perhaps parody what came before it, but it cannot be the same word if it is in a different place.

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