Language and the novel in globalization

João Cavalcanti Nuto


This essay approaches linguistic and cultural issues associated with globalization, language and the novel in order to demonstrate how the novel as a literary genre can express the tensions of globalization. The main theoretical basis is Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of language and the novel. Concerning language the paper recalls the discrepancy between the linguistic thought of Bakhtin’s circle and the structural linguistics by Ferdinand de Saussure, emphasizing that a linguistic based on utterance enables a suitable link between structural system and society. The paper explains the difference between centripetal and centrifugal forces of language, according to Bakhtin and their relationship with globalization. It also explains Bakhtin’s concept of the novel, stressing the relationship of the genre as a dialogic plurality of discourses, in order to demonstrate how suitable the novel is to express the globalized world. Theories of globalization are confronted and the problems related to globalization are exposed. Following Milton Santo’s thought, the paper refl ects on the possibility of another globalization, not only expansive, but also integrative. By commenting the cultural situation of certain writers and their attempts to express it, this essay combines Bakhtin’s thought with theories of globalization in order to point out possible responses of contemporary novel.

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