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Early Soviet research projects and the developments of\ud "Bakhtinian" ideas: the view from the archives

By C. Brandist


[FIRST PARAGRAPH]\ud When the history of Bakhtin studies is finally written, one particularly ironic aspect that\ud will stand out is that an accurate understanding of the development of dialogic ideas has\ud required us to liberate ourselves from a series of monologic myths. Such thinking, to paraphrase\ud Bakhtin himself, 'impoverished' our understanding, 'disorganised and bled' an accurate\ud image of the dynamics of intellectual formation, by 'mixing it up' with 'fantastic'\ud and 'estranged' notions and 'rounding it out' into a 'mythological whole' (Bakhtin 1979\ud [l 936-81: 224; 1986 [l 936-81: 43) Four particularly persistent varieties may be briefly\ud summarised as follows: 1) Bakhtin was a thoroughly original thinker who thought up all\ud his ideas crA mhilo, 2) Bakhtin surrounded himself with mediocrities and there was a unidirectional\ud flow of ideas from him to, say, Voloshinov and Medvedev, 3) Bakhtin was\ud an 'unofficial' thinker who chose to remain outside the dominant trends within Soviet\ud scholarship and was fundamentally unaffected by that scholarship, 4) where Bakhtin was\ud compelled to engage with Soviet scholarship the result was either rebuttal or inner subversion\ud rather than serious engagement. I will refrain from identifying specific works in which\ud these myths are present since they permeated the majority of research in the field until\ud relatively recently and they have receded only gradually. Furthermore, the myths have not\ud uniformly disintegrated, but have retreated unevenly in the face of a varying amount and\ud quality of research in specific areas

Publisher: University of Jyvaskyla
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:2134

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