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Responses to ModernityEssays in the Politics of Culture$
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Joseph Frank

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823239252

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823239252.001.0001

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Gary Saul Morson's Narrative and Freedom

Gary Saul Morson's Narrative and Freedom

(p.204) 18. Gary Saul Morson's Narrative and Freedom
Responses to Modernity

Joseph Frank

Fordham University Press

Gary Saul Morson is best known as the co-author, with Caryl Emerson, of Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics, which is unquestionably the most complete, well-rounded, and judicious analysis in English of the works of Mikhail Bakhtin. His first book, devoted to Fyodor Dostoevsky's Diary of a Writer, treats much less the contents of that unique work than the dialectic Morson discerns in it between Utopia and irony. In Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time (1994), he raises the question—and answers it in strikingly innovative ways—of how a world of human beings exercising freedom and ignorant of the future can be depicted in a work of literature whose structure is necessarily limited and closed by the sovereign will of its author. Morson begins with some reflections on the nature of time, and outlines various types of predetermination: eternal recurrence; the presumed foreshadowing of the New Testament by the Old; and the assumptions of Marxists that history's laws have been writ plain for them to read in their own sacred texts.

Keywords:   Gary Saul Morson, Narrative and Freedom, time, Mikhail Bakhtin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, freedom, predetermination, eternal recurrence, foreshadowing, laws

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