Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lives are not works of fiction. Meetings full of promise do not always ripen into friendship, and ideas rich in potential sometimes lead nowhere. Important people and concerns enter our lives and thought early and late, for various lengths of time, and then depart, never to return. Although in retrospect we may trace causal lines between events and see direct linkages between thoughts, in doing so, we may misinterpret the connections between them. The work we do to make events cohere in a sequence is easily underestimated....Memory and biographies tend to be obsessive in excluding accident and insisting on patterns, but lives and intellectual careers, as Bakhtin maintained, are not. Rather, they are wasteful, producing not only diverse achievements, but also unrealized or only partially realized potential. (Morson and Emerson 1990: 3)

1990. Morson, Gary Saul and Emerson, Caryl. Mikhail Bakhtin. Stanford University Press: Stanford.