20th Century Philosophy

Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin
1895-1975

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Materializing Bakhtin : The Bakhtin Circle and Social Theory
coverThe First Hundred Years of Mikhail Bakhtin by Caryl Emerson

"Caryl Emerson has given us a major book on a major phenomenon, as readable as it is important, one that moves authoritatively from biography through literary and philosophical analysis to the cultural frameworks in which those matters take on their specific and complex resonances."--Donald Fanger, Harvard University Among Western critics, Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) needs no introduction. His name has been invoked in literary and cultural studies across the ideological spectrum, from old- fashioned humanist to structuralist to postmodernist. In this candid assessment of his place in Russian and Western thought, Caryl Emerson brings to light what might be unfamiliar to the non-Russian reader: Bakhtin's foundational ideas, forged in the early revolutionary years, yet hardly altered in his lifetime. With the collapse of the Soviet system, a truer sense of Bakhtin's contribution may now be judged in the context of its origins and its contemporary Russian "reclamation." A foremost Bakhtin authority, Caryl Emerson mines extensive Russian sources to explore Bakhtin's reception in Russia, from his earliest publication in 1929 until his death, and his posthumous rediscovery. After a reception-history of Bakhtin's published work, she examines the role of his ideas in the post-Stalinist revival of the Russian literary profession, concentrating on the most provocative rethinkings of three major concepts in his world: dialogue and polyphony; carnival; and "outsideness," a position Bakhtin considered essential to both ethics and aesthetics. Finally, she speculates on the future of Bakhtin's method, which was much more than a tool of criticism: it will "tell you how to teach, write, live, talk, think."...

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Bakhtin Centre Home Page

ne plus ultra awardMaintained by University of Sheffield.  The premier site for information about Bakhtin and the Bakhtin Circle. In addition to comprehensive information about the research activities of the University of Sheffield's Bakhtin Centre, including the Analytical Database of Work by and about the Bakhtin Circle, the site offers guidance to Bakhtin-related research the world over.  

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Bakhtin and Hypertext

By Douglas Eyman.  

Excerpt:

As an abstract concept, Bakhtinian dialogue is the dialectical relationship between self and other where "self" occupies a relative center, and thus requires the other for existence. Dialogue as I refer to it in this essay is the use of language which allows voices of the "other" to emerge in dialogue with the voice of the individual, as opposed to "monologic" speech, or the use of language which seeks to suppress the voice of the "other."  ...

 

Mikhail M. Bakhtin and Interactive Media

Maintained by Luiz Ernesto Merkle.  Extensive Reference List.

 

Mikhail Bakhtin

By Mary Klages.  

Excerpt:

Bakhtin was not exactly a Marxist, but a theorist writing in Soviet Union starting in the 1920s, and thus he was very much aware of Marxist theories and doctrines, and how they were being implemented. He was also associated with the school known as Russian Formalism, a kind of precursor to our own American movement (in the 1940s and 50s) called New Criticism. (Peter Barry, in Beginning Theory, has a good explanation of Russian Formalism). Bakhtin got in trouble with Soviet regime, was exiled, and did a lot of his best work in exile; because of his political conflicts with the Soviet Union, as well as the problem of translation, and of Western cultures getting access to his texts, Bakhtin's works weren't published (or translated) till the 1970s (after the end of Stalinism). 

 

Mikhail Bakhtin Main Page

By Paula Rosinski.  

Excerpt:

...it was out of a traumatic and politicized historical context that Bakhtin developed his theories about language, literature, identity, and the material body: Bakhtin lived in the Russia between 1895 and 1975, a period which witnessed intense political struggle and tyrannical regularization of the people. With the Russian Revolution in 1917, official ideology forced the narrow role and dehumanizing identity of "worker" upon the collective body of the people. Bakhtin believed that when ideologies and ways of thinking became orthodox, they became totalitarian and essentializing. Therefore, he was concerned with debunking official ideology and its accompanying binary modes of thought which reinforced peoples' subjugation to tyrannical power structures. 

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