Romance Studies
Publications [#363884] Roberto M. Dainotto
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Articles in a Journal

  1. Dainotto, R. "Points of View: Gramsci and “the Question of the Novel”." Italian Culture 40:1 (January, 2022): 27-37. [doi]

    Perhaps the most essential device for the organization of the novel form is narrative point of view. Mikhail Bakhtin, in “Discourse in the Novel” (1934–1935), maintains in fact that “every language in the novel is a point of view, a socio-ideological conceptual system of real social groups and their embodied representatives. … Any point of view on the world fundamental to the novel must be a concrete, socially embodied point of view, not an abstract, purely semantic position.” György Lukács, too, having discovered the particular Standpunkt of the proletariat in History and Class Consciousness of 1923, would define the novel—for instance The Historical Novel in 1938—as the “conscious and consistent application of … specifically historical viewpoints.” On closer inspection, Antonio Gramsci, only a few years earlier, had touched on similar theoretical issues in a (somewhat cryptic) observation on the Italian novelistic tradition: “the ‘point of view’ of the key cannot be that of the lock.” This observation in turn opened the way to a veritable taxonomy of various ways of representing “the people” in the Italian novel - from Manzoni’s “paternalism” to Dostoevsky’s “con-science.”.