In the 20th century, philosophical treatments of dialogue emerged from thinkers including Mikhail Bakhtin, Paulo Freire, Martin Buber, and David Bohm. Although diverging in many details, these thinkers have articulated a holistic concept of dialogue as a multi-dimensional, dynamic and context-dependent process of creating meaning. Educators such as Freire and Ramón Flecha have also developed a body of theory and technique for using egalitarian dialogue as a pedagogical tool.
The term dialogue stems from the Greek διάλογος (dialogos, conversation); its roots are διά (dia: through) and λόγος (logos: speech, reason). The first extant author who uses the term is Plato, in whose works it is closely associated with the art of dialectic. Latin took over the word as dialogus.
Dialogue in fiction, is a verbal exchange between two or more characters. If there is only one character talking aloud, it is a monologue.
"This breakfast is making me sick," George said.
The George said is the identifier. Said is the verb most writers use because reader familiarity with said prevents it from drawing attention to itself. Although other verbs such as ask, shout, or reply are acceptable, some identifiers get in the reader's way. For example:
"Hello," he croaked nervously, "my name's Horace." "What's yours?" he asked with as much aplomb as he could muster.
another example is:
"My name is Peg, what's yours?" I asked.
"My name is William, but my friends call me Will," said Will.
Stephen King, in his book On Writing, expresses his belief that said is the best identifier to use. King recommends reading a novel by Larry McMurtry, whom he claims has mastered the art of well-written dialogue.
Substitutes are known as said-bookisms. For example, in the sentence "What do you mean?" he smiled., the word smiled is a said-bookism.
"Great writers of stage music have always proved themselves to be versatile. In the light of the favourable reaction it received it would have been more than easy for Taylor to follow Wuthering Heights with another show in that same grand scale, but instead he quickly showed his credentials by heading in a totally different direction and in doing so comes up with another admirable piece of work. "Success!" is full of splendid material and is loads of fun." - Mike Gibb, Masquerade, Issue 13, 1993
"An adaptation of the Faust legend, I enjoyed this one very much, and it has some bright, breezy and catchy numbers. I will be surprised if anyone who buys it is disappointed with the standard of the songs." - Terry Wardrope, Words and Music, Issue 17, January 1994.
Success tells the story of two foster brothers—Terence Service and Gregory Riding, narrating alternate sections—and their exchange of position during one calendar year as each slips towards, and away from, success.
Success was widely praised upon publication. The Guardian observed that "Gregory and Terry double the narrative in a way that makes Martin Amis' Success like a kind of two-way mirror"; critic Norman Shrapnel praised the novel's "icy wit" and called the narrative approach "artfully appropriate...[it] builds up an air of profound unreliabiity—entirely fitting, since things are by no means what they seem." In The Observer, critic Anthony Thwaite called the book "a moral homily from which all traces of morality have been removed with the brisk surgery of a razor blade on a fingernail...Success is a terrifying, painfully funny, Swiftian exercise in moral disgust; its exhilarating unpleasantness puts it alongside 'A Modest Proposal.'" Critic Hermione Lee observed, "After Martin Amis' Success...sibling rivalry seems almost as popular as sexual warfare, fictionally speaking." In December 1978, the Observer named Success one of it its "Books of the Year."