Polyphoy is one of those terms that Bakhtin attempts to apply
but never truely defines. Some people take polyphony to be a multude
of voices in a work. Bakhtin tends to label than more or dialogue.
Polyphony tends to be more of a repositioning of the author, where
the author's discourse is heard, but it is not the dominant discourse.
I have argued in the past that Woody Allen's _Crimes and Misdemeanors_
is polyphonic because Woody's views are in the film, but clearly other
discourses are competing for dominance and one discourse does not come
out as a winner (also Allen borrows the structure of the film from
Dostoevsky's _Crime and Punishment_ which Bakhtin refers to as
polyphonic). So the question really comes down to the positioning
of the author.
A couple of books you may want to check out:
Bakhtin, Mikhail. _Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics._ Ed. and
trans. Caryl Emerson. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,
1984.--Here is where Bakhtin lays out the theory of polyphony
and it runs throughout the book (the index is real helpful).
Morson, Gary Saul and Caryl Emerson. _Mikhail Bakhtin._ Stanford:
University of Stanford Press, 1990. The best explanation of Bakhtin's
theories I have found.
I have some troubles with Stam's book. I feel it is a little
much or a formalist reading (and application) of Bakhtin's theory.
However, it is a wonderful starting place and the bibliography leads
to a number of good sources.
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