Dialogism or Interconnectedness in the Work of Louise Erdrich


By Marta J. Lysik

cover image of Dialogism or Interconnectedness in the Work of Louise Erdrich

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This study portrays how Louise Erdrich's writing extends Bakhtin's concepts of dialogism and the novel through an investigation of a selection of her works, as well as her practices of writing, co-writing, re-writing, and reading novels. Erdrich's hallmark dialogic literary style and practice encompasses writing a series of books; re-cycling protagonists, narrators, events, themes and settings; re-writing previously published novels; employing heteroglossia and polyglossia; co-authoring texts, blogging about books; translating different epistemologies for different audiences; and spotlighting families as the main thematic concern in dialogue with her own parenting experiences as depicted in her memoirs. She writes a growing series of novels, compost pile-like, capitalizing on former novels, as well as adding new elements and new stories in the process. Thus, a dialogic intra-textual microcosm emerges. Erdrich suffuses her writing with an incessant quality of changing and becoming. Her novels resist closure, while protagonists return and demand attention, and the author answers dialogically by penning new tales. Erdrich's writing can be accessed because it concerns shared human experiences and relationships, both their ambivalence and their beauty. Erdrich includes instead of alienating, sympathizes instead of judging, which makes her an internationally acclaimed author, with her work crossing topographies, epistemologies, and identities.

Dialogism or Interconnectedness in the Work of Louise Erdrich