Research Article


DOI :10.26650/LITERA2019-0067   IUP :10.26650/LITERA2019-0067    Full Text (PDF)

Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance

Fatma AkbulutBülent Çağlakpınar

World wars, technological developments and political events that have played an important role in the shaping of the modern French novel have led to a more frequent use of concepts such as migration, exile and refugee in literary works. Against a background of the social, economic and political events of the period, Milan Kundera’s novel Ignorance narrates the issues of homelessness, (non)belonging and deportation through two characters who returned to their countries after many years. With the return of the protagonists, the tension between those who left or who were forced to leave their country and those who did not leave their homeland despite all the troubles turns into a narrative structure in which mutual opinions are put forward but no one understands each other. Migrants are seen as refugees in the place to which they go and as foreigners in the place to which they return. Those who did not leave their homeland do not accept them and behave in an accusatory manner towards them. They do not care about what those who had left gone through, what they had experienced and how they had felt. The two protagonists - who are seen as fugitives, refugees, exiles and foreigners - cannot know where they belong or even whether they belong anywhere. Through occasional explanations or interventions the narrator conveys the opposing voices of the characters to the reader. The distinctive voices of the characters that conflict with each other and thus create a kind of dialogism form a polyphonic fiction in the novel. M. Bakhtin, who accepts each hero in the novel as an individual with free discourse, describes the existence of many voices in the same text with the term polyphony. After giving general information about Bakhtin’s theories of conversationalism, polyphony and multilingualism, this article aims to reveal the richness of voice and language in the novel.

DOI :10.26650/LITERA2019-0067   IUP :10.26650/LITERA2019-0067    Full Text (PDF)

Aidiyetsiz Kahramanlar: Milan Kundera’nın Bilmemek Romanında Çoksesli Anlatı

Fatma AkbulutBülent Çağlakpınar

Modern Avrupa romanının şekillenmesinde önemli rol oynayan dünya savaşları, teknolojik gelişmeler ve siyasi olaylar göç, sürgün, mülteci gibi kavramların edebiyat eserlerinde daha sık kullanılmasına yol açar. Dönemin sosyal, ekonomik ve politik olaylarını arka planında barındıran Milan Kundera’nın Bilmemek romanı yurtsuzluk, aidiyet(siz)lik ve sürgün konularını yıllar sonra ülkelerine dönen iki karakter üzerinden aktarır. Ülkesini terk edip giden veya gitmek zorunda bırakılanlar ile tüm olumsuzluklara rağmen vatanlarından ayrılmayanlar arasındaki gerilim, başkahramanların dönüşleriyle karşılıklı görüşlerin ortaya konduğu ancak kimsenin diğerini anlamadığı bir anlatı dünyasını kurar. Göç edenler gittikleri yerde mülteci, döndükleri yerde ise yabancı olarak görülür. Kalanlar onları aralarına kabul etmez ve suçlayıcı tavırlar sergilerler. Gidenlerin neler yaşadıklarını, hangi olumsuzluklara maruz kaldıklarını ve ne hissettiklerini umursamazlar. Kaçak, mülteci, sürgün ve yabancı olarak görülen iki başkahraman nereye ait olduklarını ya da bir yere ait olup olmadıklarını bilemezler. Anlatıcı karakterlerin birbirine zıt seslerini yer yer açıklama ya da müdahaleler yaparak okuyucuya iletir. Karakterlerin birbiriyle çatışan dolayısıyla bir tür söyleşim (dialogisme) yaratan kendilerine özgü sesleri romanda polifonik / çoksesli bir kurgu oluşturur. Yaptığı çalışmalarla romandaki her bir kahramanı özgün söylemi olan bir birey olarak kabul eden M. Bahtin, birçok sesin aynı metinde bulunması durumunu çokseslilik (polyphonie) terimiyle açıklar. Makalede Bahtin’in, söyleşimsellik, çokseslilik, çokdillilik kuramlarıyla ilgili genel bilgiler verildikten sonra ele alınan romanda ses ve dil zenginliğinin ortaya koyulması amaçlanır.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


The great losses, pains, and crises caused by the two world wars, coupled with the technological, political and economic developments in the twentieth century, have turned the world into a meaningless and complicated place for modern people. The novelists and literary critics of the period who dealt with this depressive era of humanity rejected the previous era’s theories of the novel by beginning a search for new forms and criticism methods. Bakhtin, who brought an innovative approach to literary criticism, was one of the literary critics of the aforesaid period. He focuses on the novel genre and introduces new terms such as dialogism, heteroglossia, polyphony and carnivalesque to literary criticism. The reason why Bakhtin concentrated his studies in this field is that, for him, the novel is the only narrative genre that can accommodate the polyphonic and multilingual, multi-layered structure and different discourses together. The novel is seen as a field of conversation that proves the existence of multiple autonomous voices and presents various layers of social language in a dialogical relationship. M. Kundera’s novel Ignorance, which we examine in the light of this theoretical information, claims attention as an important example in terms of both the author’s understanding of the genre and the polyphonic structure that we have mentioned. M. Kundera sees the novel as an area of “possibility” and in his novel he reflects that each character can be his/her own field of existence. The author includes the characters in his fiction as the objects of their own worlds, as carriers of their own discourses, instead of passive characters. Protagonists are reflected as self-conscious characters with their own discourses; they are liberated, non-monotonous individuals out of the control of the writer/narrator. Ignorance is a novel centred on themes such as remembering, forgetting, loneliness, alienation, homelessness, nostalgia and memory. The narrator focuses on the experiences of the two heroes Irena and Josef who go back home after years of enforced migration. However, the novel shows that, in a sense, this homecoming is impossible. Seeing that their habits have changed (Irena) and that they have an estranged relation with their own memory (Josef), they realize how disconnected they are from their past. After years of refugee life, they are now treated as fugitives or foreigners in their homeland. The sense of non-belonging during their lives as refugees also continues when they come to their home country. It is not a simple question of homecoming that the author deals with in his novel. The writer who divides his experiences of exile into the characters of Irena and Josef, considers division, lack of a sense of belonging, alienation and inadmissibility as the basic issues of his work. The narrator narrates the journeys of Irena and Josef, first separately, and then together on three main axes. This shows that the novel is based on multiple mechanisms in terms of its structure. Instead of a chronological single main event, a binary structure is created. At the end of the work, although the two journeys are combined, the reader is presented with the openended conclusion that the protagonists will follow different routes. Although the story is narrated by a third person narrator throughout the novel, he/she occasionally crosses boundaries (metalepsis) and intervenes in the universe of the story. The narrator’s intervention with the narrative also takes place in the shape of commenting, giving information or explaining the results of his observations. Bakhtin considers the modern novel as a superficial place where several different voices (characters), including the voice of the narrator, maintain a sort of dialogism between them. We aim to study the chosen novel by showing its polyphonic structure through multiple points of view. This study aims to analyze Ignorance by the Czech novelist Milan Kundera, one of the important writers of the twentieth century, based on the new concepts that Bakhtin has brought to literary criticism.


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References

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APA

Akbulut, F., & Çağlakpınar, B. (2019). Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, 29(2), 159-176. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2019-0067


AMA

Akbulut F, Çağlakpınar B. Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies. 2019;29(2):159-176. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2019-0067


ABNT

Akbulut, F.; Çağlakpınar, B. Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, [Publisher Location], v. 29, n. 2, p. 159-176, 2019.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Akbulut, Fatma, and Bülent Çağlakpınar. 2019. “Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance.” Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 29, no. 2: 159-176. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2019-0067


Chicago: Humanities Style

Akbulut, Fatma, and Bülent Çağlakpınar. Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance.” Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 29, no. 2 (Dec. 2022): 159-176. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2019-0067


Harvard: Australian Style

Akbulut, F & Çağlakpınar, B 2019, 'Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance', Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 159-176, viewed 2 Dec. 2022, https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2019-0067


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Akbulut, F. and Çağlakpınar, B. (2019) ‘Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance’, Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, 29(2), pp. 159-176. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2019-0067 (2 Dec. 2022).


MLA

Akbulut, Fatma, and Bülent Çağlakpınar. Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance.” Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, vol. 29, no. 2, 2019, pp. 159-176. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2019-0067


Vancouver

Akbulut F, Çağlakpınar B. Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies [Internet]. 2 Dec. 2022 [cited 2 Dec. 2022];29(2):159-176. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2019-0067 doi: 10.26650/LITERA2019-0067


ISNAD

Akbulut, Fatma - Çağlakpınar, Bülent. Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera’s Ignorance”. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 29/2 (Dec. 2022): 159-176. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2019-0067



TIMELINE


Submitted30.10.2019
Accepted13.11.2019
Published Online01.12.2019

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