MikhailBakhtin aimed to invent a phenomenology of the self-experience and of the experience of the other in his early work. In order to realize such a phenomenology he combined different approaches he called idealism and materialism / naturalism. The first one he linked to Edmund Husserl, but did hardly name him directly concerning his phenomenology. Does this intersubjective phenomenology give a hint that Bakhtin used Husserlian ideas more than considered yet? Or did they both invent similar (...) ideas independently from each other? Both thinkers dealt with the issue of intersubjectivity. Husserl judged statements on other psycho-physical realities as metaphysics in the Logical Investigations II, but in his Ideas I he described the others as enhancing one’s experience through their “experiential surpluses”. In the same way Bakhtin described the unique perspective of the other as a mandatory and valuable part of the world of the act in his Philosophy of the Act and his investigations on Author and Hero. In order to understand the influence of Husserl’s phenomenology for Bakhtin’s early philosophy we need to take a look closer at those contentual parallels as well as some paraphrases yet unnoticed. This gives hint for the question if for Bakhtin Husserl was more than just a name dropped. In this article I reconstructed the relations between both thinkers and answered the question if the dating of Bakhtin’s early work until 1928 has to be re-considered. (shrink)
This book is not only a major twentieth-century contribution to Dostoevsky’s studies, but also one of the most important theories of the novel produced in our century. As a modern reinterpretation of poetics, it bears comparison with Aristotle.“Bakhtin’s statement on the dialogical nature of artistic creation, and his differentiation of this from a history of monological commentary, is profoundly original and illuminating. This is a classic work on Dostoevsky and a statement of importance to critical theory.” Edward Wasiolek“Concentrating on (...) the particular features of ‘Dostoevskian discourse,’ how Dostoevsky structures a hero and a plot, and what it means to write dialogically, Bakhtin concludes with a major theoretical statement on dialogue as a category of language. One of the most important theories of the novel in this century.” The Bloomsbury Review. (shrink)
The language theory of MikhailBakhtin does not fall neatly under any single rubric - 'dialogism,' 'marxism,' 'prosaics,' 'authorship' - because the philosophic foundation of his writing rests ambivalently between phenomenology and Marxism. The theoretical tension of these positions creates philosophical impasses in Bakhtin's work, which have been neglected or ignored partly because these impasses are themselves mirrored by the problems of antifoundationalist and materialist tendencies in literary scholarship. In MikhailBakhtin: Between Phenomenology and Marxism (...) Michael Bernard-Donals examines various incarnations of phenomenological and materialist theory - including the work of Jauss, Fish, Rorty, Althusser, and Pecheux - and places them beside Bakhtin's work, providing a contextualised study of Bakhtin, a critique of the problems of contemporary critics, and an original contribution to literary theory. (shrink)
MikhailBakhtin is one of the most influential theorists of philosophy as well as literary studies. His work on dialogue and discourse has changed the way in which we read texts – both literary and cultural – and his practice of philosophy in literary refraction and philological exploration has made him a pioneering figure in the twentieth-century convergence of the two disciplines. In this book, Graham Pechey offers a commentary on Bakhtin’s texts in all their complex and (...) allusive ‘textuality’, keeping a sense throughout of the historical setting in which they were written and of his own interpretation of and response to them. Examining Bakhtin’s relationship to Russian Formalism and Soviet Marxism, Pechey focuses on two major interests: the influence of Eastern Orthodox Christianity upon his thinking; and Bakhtin’s use of literary criticism and hermeneutics as ways of ‘doing philosophy by other means’. (shrink)
This essay analyses the contribution of the knowledge of Greek culture in Antiquity for MikhailBakhtin’s achievement. It shows how the Socratic dialogue and serious-comic genres contributed to forming the novel – according do Bakhtin’s conceptions – by developing its carnavalized line. It concludes that, although Bakhtin was not properly a Hellenist, he has contributed to Ancient Greece studies, by exploring the literary creativity of Hellenist period.
Bakhtin’s view of the history of the novel, through the lens of Dostoevsky’s writing in his famous study on Dostoevsky’s poetics (1963), has had a significant impact on the way we read Dostoevsky today. On the other hand, Shestov’s original explorations of the human soul, which were drawn on his reading of Dostoevsky and made a lasting impression on his contemporaries, are still relatively unknown to the English-speaking reader. Having traced the history of the regenerations of Dostoevsky’s convictions in (...) his earlier works, in his mature writings Shestov proposed that at a time of deep crisis the human mind may acquire a new dimension, which lies beyond the limits of the comprehensible and the explicable. Building on his analysis of Dostoevsky’s life and work, a transformative shift in Shestov’s own worldview, led to significant alterations in his reading of Dostoevsky in the final years of his life.In this essay, as I draw the two thinkers into a dialogue, I try to look beyond the obvious differences in the two philosophers’ views (though I acknowledge them) and, with respect to both thinkers’ outstanding contributions to twentieth-century European culture, I attempt to discover a number of key developing points in their views derived from their shared love of Dostoevsky’s art. Contrasting Shestov’s interpretation of Dostoevsky to that of Bakhtin’s, I argue that despite their different methods, standpoints, and philosophical views, and despite the seemingly antagonizing nature of their observations, Bakhtin and Shestov arrived at a number of conclusions, which contributed to our present understanding of Dostoevsky’s worldview. (shrink)
In this introduction to MikhailBakhtin, Ken Hirschkop presents a compact, readable, detailed, and sophisticated exposition of all of Bakhtin's important works. Using the most up-to-date sources and the new, scholarly editions of Bakhtin's texts, Hirschkop explains Bakhtin's influential ideas, demonstrates their relevance and usefulness for literary and cultural analysis, and sets them in their historical context. In clear and concise language, Hirschkop shows how Bakhtin's ideas have changed the way we understand language and (...) literary texts. Authoritative and accessible, this Cambridge Introduction is the most comprehensive and reliable account of Bakhtin and his work yet available. (shrink)
In this essay I will argue that verbal dialogue, when realized successfully in a novel and measured by the tools appropriate to it, approximates that moment in real life we recognize as a “quickening of consciousness.”.
All of MikhailBakhtin’s work stands under the sign of plurality, the mystery of the one and the many. Unlike the third eye of Tibetan Buddhism, which gives those who possess it a vision of the secret unity holding creation together, Bakhtin seems to have had a third ear that permitted him to hear differences where others perceived only sameness, especially in the apparent wholeness of the human voice. The obsessive question at the heart of Bakhtin’s (...) thought is always “Who is talking?” It was his sense of the world’s overwhelming multiplicity that impelled Bakhtin to rethink strategies by which heterogeneity had traditionally been disguised as a unity. In his several attempts to find a single name for the teeming forces which jostled each other within the combat zone of the word—whether the term was “polyphony,” “heteroglossia,” or “speech communion”—Bakhtin was at great pains never to sacrifice the tension between identity and difference that fueled his enterprise. He always sought the minimum degree of homogenization necessary to any conceptual scheme, feeling it was better to preserve the heterogeneity which less patient thinkers found intolerable—and to which they therefore hurried to assign a unitizing label.Bakhtin’s metaphysical contrariness has the effect of making at times appear to be indiscriminate, as when he refused to recognize borders between biography and autobiography or, more notoriously, between speaking and writing. But, as I hope to show, these apparently cardinal distinctions are for Bakhtin only local instances of unity that participate in and are controlled by a fare more encompassing set of oppositions and differences. All this places an extra burden on those who seek an overarching design in Bakhtin’s legacy: the apparently unitizing term “Bakhtin” proves to be as illusory—or more illusory—in its ability to subsume real distinctions as any other, if we submit it to a Bakhtinian analysis. Michael Holquist is professor and chairman of the department of Slavic languages and literatures a Indiana University. With his wife, Katerina Clark, he has just completed MikhailBakhtin, a study of Bakhtin’s life and works, forthcoming in the autumn of 1984. He is currently working in Moscow. (shrink)
The Bakhtin Circle’s conception of language is very much still alive, still productive, in the language sciences today. My claim in this paper is that to understand the Bakhtin Circle’s continuing relevance to the language sciences, we have to look beyond the linguistic theory itself, to the philosophical groundwork laid for this project by Bakhtin in what he himself referred to as his philosophical anthropology. This philosophical anthropology, at the center of which stands an architectonics of self—other (...) relations, opens the door for a radical rethinking of what language is and how it works; a rethinking that in turn opens up and coincides with new directions being explored in the language sciences today. Within the context of Bakhtin scholarship, this paper also argues for taking Bakhtin’s early philosophical works more seriously when discussing the Bakhtin Circle’s conception of language. (shrink)
The aim of Language for those who have Nothing is to think psychiatry through the writings of MikhailBakhtin. Using the concepts of Dialogism and Polyphony, the Carnival and the Chronotope, a novel means of navigating the clinical landscape is developed. Bakhtin offers language as a social phenomenon and one that is fully embodied. Utterances are shown to be alive and enfleshed and their meanings realised in the context of given social dimensions. The organisation of this book (...) corresponds with carnival practices of taking the high down to the low before replenishing its meaning anew. Thus early discussions of official language and the chronotope become exposed to descending levels of analysis and emphasis. Patients and practitioners are shown to occupy an entirely different spatio-temporal topography. These chronotopes have powerful borders and it is necessary to use the Carnival powers of cunning and deception in order to enter and to leave them. The book provides an overview of practitioners who have attempted such transgression and the author records his own unnerving experience as a pseudopatient. By exploring the context of psychiatry's unofficial voices: its terminology, jokes, parodies, and everyday narratives, the clinical landscape is shown to rely heavily on unofficial dialogues in order to safeguard an official identity. (shrink)
This paper will focus on the discussion of Tolstoy’s ideas in the late 1920s, right after the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth, by the State Academy for the Study of Arts (GAKhN) (in a collective volume entitled Leo Tolstoy’s Aesthetics, 1929) and by MikhailBakhtin (in his two articles written specially for Tolstoy’s Collected Works). These interpretations were notably influenced by the official commemoration of Tolstoy during the anniversary year and by changes in the prevailing Marxist discourse (...) regarding the creative legacy and ideology of the author of War and Peace. (shrink)