Heteroglossia, Hypertext

"The novel orchestrates all its themes, the totality of the world of objects and ideas depicted and expressed in it, by means of the social diversity of speech types and by differing individual voices that flourish under such conditions. Authorial speech, the speeches of narrators, inserted genres, the speech of characters are merely those fundamental compositional unities with whose help heteroglossia can enter the novel; each of them permits a multiplicity of social voices and a wide variety of their links and interrelationships (always more or less dialogized). These distinctive links and interrelationships between utterances and languages, this movement of the theme through different languages and speech types, its dispersion into the rivulets and droplets of social heteroglossia, its dialogization--this is the basic distinguishing feature of the stylistics of the novel (The Dialogic Imagination 263)."

The representation of multiple voices is an elemental necessity of authentic prose, claims Mikhail Bahktin. A text that honors the basic conditions of heteroglossia has the ability to depict a range of social dialects, and thereby create a fictional world laden with "realistic" and socially diverse language communities, conflicting world views, and the sort of inflectional meaning that is a natural result of human dialogue. This theoretical term might be seen to carry a striking resemblance to Barthes and plurality, save for the crucial fact that at every instant, heteroglossia is a moment of interactive play between spoken language, idea, and meaning. Prose, according to Bahktin, takes on a "living" and organic presence when used in this context. Unlike in Barthes, heteroglossia subordinates traditional paradigms and celebrates linguistic diversity and the potential of the author to creatively represent social life. Though Bahktin more or less acknowledges the presence of preexisting "codes," stitched in throughout the text, such norms can be destabilized and parodied by means of special treatment in a dialogic environment.

In the simple use of the word "link" when describing heteroglossia, Bahktin already illuminates a possible role for hypertext as a means for allowing this concept to take exercise. Hypertext practically begs plurality of all types, and the circumstances for multiple interrelating voices, in other terms multivocality, could easily be facilitated.

Cyberspace Web Main screen critical theory