In his article, "Bakhtin, Genre Formation, and the Cognitive Turn: Chronotopes as Memory Schemata," Bart Keunen proposes a new reading of Bakhtin's notion of the chronotope. Bakhtin is widely taken to be a pioneer of genological thinking, but one of his key concepts -- the chronotope -- is still subject to highly divergent interpretations. Moreover, the epistemological implications of his genology have not yet been fully realized. In this article, a methodological grounding in schema theory is proposed. Bakhtin's concept can be used to study the way in which literary communication functions through what the psychologist Frederic Bartlett first called memory schemata. These schemata can be seen to operate on two levels: The level of textual motifs (the thematological dimension of texts) and that of fictional world models (the genological dimension). The development of Bakhtin's writings shows that genre distinctions are to be considered a fundamental instrument for literary communication and that this instrument is to be understood as working implicitly by means of mnemonic associations made by text producers and readers. The distinction between the thematological and genological aspects of the construction of fictional worlds can be clarified by linking them respectively to the concept of action schemata and to that of textual superstructures. Such an adaptation of the chronotope concept can be further linked to methodological tendencies within current interpretation theory, genology, and literary historiography.
"Bakhtin, Genre Formation, and the Cognitive Turn: Chronotopes as Memory Schemata."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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