Talk:Mikhail Bakhtin

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Untitled[edit]

I was slightly surprised to find 'Marxism and the Philosophy of Language' on this list, as it lol was actually written by Voloshinov. Obviously there are rumours that persist over the authorship of the book, but i think it details a very different approach to the one discussed elsewhere in Bakhtin's work. And therefore we should credit Voloshinov as the rightful author of the book.--CJ 18:55, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

---

Let's fill up some concepts folks. I only know Bakhtin's Toward a Philosophy of the Act and Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. Just filled in the part on Dostoevsky's Poetics. Please fill in the Third Period stuff.. --oldseed 7am 27 November 2005

Formalism[edit]

Who is responsible for listing Bakhtin as a formalist or Russian formalist, and what is your justification? As far as my understanding from reading his own works (pretty much everything he wrote) as well as 2 works by Morson (Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics and Narrative & History) I would call Bakhtin an anti-formalist; he was perhaps the strongest critic of formalism in all of the USSR. This is made crystal-clear in Moron's "Creation of a Prosaics", or by any understanding of Bakhtin's general concepts. Unless somebody provides some strong justification for labeling him as a Russian Formalist I will change the article. I can provide citations from Morson's book to support this change. —Preceding unsigned comment added by V krishna (talkcontribs) 01:12, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


Bakhtin was certainly not, as the article currently claims, "among the leaders of the formalist circle in Leningrad." The "formalist circle in Leningrad" would have to mean in the first instance OPOYAZ, whose major members were Shklovsky, Eichenbaum and Tynyanov (see "Formalism (literature)" and "Russian Formalism"). Since Bakhtin explicitly critiques the formalist approach, and these figures by name, in the '29 edition of the Dostoevsky book and then again repeatedly throughout his career -- leaving aside whatever influence he had on Medvedev's Formal Method in Literary Scholarship -- it seems fair enough to call him a critic of formalism. But he was an engaged and "intelligent critic", as Roman Jakobson would later note, which differentiates him from more institutionally-central Marxist critics of the period who tended to be crudely dismissive of formalist approaches. So it's really a glass-half-full/glass-half-empty question. Mapping MB's poetics in relation to (self-declared) formalism and to (more straightforward versions of) Soviet Marxist criticism of the 20s and 30s is tricky, and has been the subject of some rather ideologically-driven framing in both directions over the past three decades. Proceed with care. —Preceding unsigned comment added by HousesInMotion (talkcontribs) 06:45, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

dialogic imagination[edit]

one should note that this collection was compiled after his death and published in english under that name; he never title any of his works so. Dsol 17:02, 27 November 2005 (UTC)


Bakhtin's Influence[edit]

Hi Am2pearc, thanks for your recent contributions. Just one question, I don't suppose you'd like to elaborate on the 'Influence' section? The following troubles me:

  • "As a result of the breadth of topics with which Bakhtin dealt, he was able to influence groups of theorists in the West including Neo-Marxists, Structuralists, and semioticians. However, his influence on such groups has, somewhat paradoxically, resulted in narrowing the scope of Bakhtin’s work. Rarely do those who incorporate Bakhtin’s ideas into theories of their own appreciate his work in its entirety (Clark and Holquist 3)".

Who is being criticised here and on what grounds? Could the same not be said of Clark & Holquist's interpretation? --Nicholas 15:17, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Ethics[edit]

Please do not delete the entire Bakhtin article leaving only the biography. It is unethical as Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. Please feel free to work with me so we can have the best of both of our posts working together for a clear and effective article. The goal is to have a successful, comprehensive article on Bakhtin. Please, lets continue to work together to maintain and improve the Bakhtin article, to make sure all users and researchers have an abundance of information on Bakhtin.

Rabelais and His World[edit]

The section says "According to Bakhtin, the body is in need of a type of clock if it to be aware of its timelessness," but there's no citation. The grotesque body persists through the ancestral body (Bakhtin 322) but I wouldn't call it timelessness or say that this persistence is the most important part of the grotesque. The section lays too much emphasis on Holquist's interpretation and not enough on the text itself. What really needs to be included is reference to the grotesque's incompleteness: "[Grotesque] forms seem to be interwoven as if giving birth to each other. The borderlines that divided the kingdoms of nature in the usual picture of the world were boldly infringed. Neither was there the usual static presentation of reality. There was no longer the movement of finished forms, vegetable or animal, in a finished and stable world; instead the inner movement of being itself was expressed in the passing of one form into the other, in the ever incompleted character of being" (Bakhtin 32). And the importance of eating, drinking, and sex in Bakhtin isn't just that they measure the persistence of the body but also that the demonstrate its incompleteness (Bakhtin 317-18). I would change the article instead of posting here, but I'm not sure how to make Bakhtin's emphasis on incompleteness jive with this bit about timelessness, partly because I haven't read Holquist, et al. Any ideas?

The other thing that's missing is reference to "the material bodily lower stratum," which is pretty important to both popular festive forms and the grotesque in Rabelais and His World (370-1). The carnival and grotesque realism debase the individual to the level of the material bodily lower stratum through praise-abuse, merry violence, scatological humor, turning the world topsy turvy, the underworld, and, as the article says, "a heightened awareness of sensual, material, bodily unity". The reason being is that death and birth form a dual body; the body must be thrown down, debased, and die to rise up, laugh, and be resurrected (435). Jordansc 21:32, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Plagiarism[edit]

Bakhtin is supposed to have plagiarized some of Cassirer's work. I don't really care, but I'm guessing some readers will want to know something about the controversy. Does anybody here know enough to write on it?--WadeMcR 09:03, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it's sufficiently supported to warrant inclusion at this point. Poole is seldom cited. I'm not specifically familiar with the allegation (though I know it's solely derived from Brian Poole's articles - as virtually no one else who studies Bakhtin reads Russian besides maybe Holquist). From what I know, it sounds like it borders on cryptomnesia, if it exists in the first place.
C and B were both Neo-Kantians with semiotic inclinations working at the same time so there was bound to be some unacknowledged overlap, especially after someone from the circle translated C's Magnum Opus (Man and Signs and Symbols, or something like that, I only recall reading his much less complex [and shorter] "An Essay on Man" which touches on similar themes). I'd have to read the original B text after reading Poole's articles (he may be right, but I'd have to do further research).
In short, I don't trust the Bakhtin scholars who cite Poole, but who have not adequately scrutinized the claim themselves. Poole, while he may be a perfectly respectable scholar, is not a frequently cited one, so he may simply be in error - or be a tad overzealous (or he may be right, pending further verification). Also, the fact that the peer-reviewed articles he submitted were to South Atlantic Quarterly (a journal that does not have ANY Slavic Comparative scholars at a department notorious for its laxity regarding post-structural & crit theory scholarship [Duke]) is a tad bit suspect, at least until verified by Holquist, another reputable Slavic scholar, or until I see it myself. I would emphatically not consider any existing Poole cites RS's, seeing as they were submitted to Peer-reviewed journals without anyone on the editorial board capable of reviewing his scholarship. Guinness4life (talk) 21:45, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

If you look at the pages of the Rabelais book cited by Poole in his article and compare them with the relevant pages of Cassirer's Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy (even in the English translation) the plagiarism is unmistakable. While I appreciate the need for skepticism, I think you are being rather unfair to Brian Poole. For several years he was the only non-Russian allowed to participate in the preparation of the authoritative edition of Bakhtin's works by the Russian Academy of Sciences and his work has been praised not only by myself and David Shepherd, but also by noted scholars like Caryl Emerson. Not everyone may agree with his findings, but his credibility as a scholar should be beyond doubt. I find the claim that "virtually no one else who studies Bakhtin reads Russian besides maybe Holquist" puzzling: Emerson, Gary Saul Morson, David Shepherd, Craig Brandist, Galin Tihanov and I all read Russian, to mention just a few. Ken Hirschkop (talk) 19:28, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Fair point on neglecting some of the Slavic Studies folks. Considering the Problems of D's Poetics is on my bookshelf, I really should have mentioned E. She is a frequently cited scholar. Anyway, apologies for that.
Regardless, publication in South Atlantic is odd. I know sometimes you publish wherever you can, but publishing an article on plagiarism in a journal without any Russian speakers? Practically, this makes the article an unreliable source since it was on a peer-reviewed journal without any actual peers. Also it's been cited what - about 10 times? I don't think anyone's seriously examined the claim, assuming there is one. By any standard, it's not exactly a raging debate. By all means though, if you wrote something on it that can be considered a reliable source that's not simply a Poole citation, cite your article or book.
Again, maybe I'm mistaken, however I don't see anyone on the journal the article was published in who is a Bakhtin scholar or who even speaks Russian. Even though I'm sure you golf with the fellow and say he's a wonderful chap (assuming you are the stated individual and that you are acquainted with P or his work, since folks on the interwebs never lie), forgive me for reserving my personal judgment until after I review the material, rather than taking your word for it.
However, my personal opinions notwithstanding, if you have a RS, by all means put it up. I really just don't think the Poole article is one since while it was published in a peer-reviewed journal, it was incapable of actually being peer-reviewed. Guinness4life (talk) 02:54, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm . . . This is a bit odd. Look, if you doubt the claim you can just look at the texts yourself. Otherwise, I'm not sure why, if other people have checked the claim, you're still anxious to hold out on this one. In any case, you haven't correctly represented the peer review process. A journal doesn't only send articles to members of their editorial board; they'll send the articles to whomever they think is qualified to make a judgment on them. If SAQ doesn't have a Bakhtin scholar on their board, they would send the articles in question to some Bakhtin scholar for evaluation. I don't of course know to whom they sent the contents of this particular issue, but that would be normal practice. The fact that there are no Slavists on their editorial committee doesn't mean that the peer review process was in some way inadequate.

I don't play golf, by the way. 76.68.80.9 (talk) 01:57, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

English editions[edit]

I hope somebody can answer this 2 questions:

  • The only English translator of Rabelais and His World [original Russian 1941] seems to be Hélène Iswolsky. Which year did she published it? In the article it says 1993, but it seems too late.
  • At page 6 of the book there is a note on a work by Eleazar M. Meletinskii. It says it has been published in 1963. But in English or Russian? Does any English translation exist for it?

--BMF81 10:14, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

The book Rabelais and His World was published by MIT Press in 1968. It is a translation not of Bakhtin's thesis on Rabelais (completed in 1940) but of the book he published in 1965, which was a revised version of the thesis.Ken Hirschkop (talk) 19:30, 20 July 2009 (UTC)