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Bakhtin, Mikhail (1895–1975) and colleagues

MICHAEL GREEN


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


Extract

An important group of Russian writers on literature, language and culture. Bakhtin studied at St Petersburg University, reading widely in philosophy and literature at a time of high intellectual and political excitement. Later he taught in Nevel and then Vitebsk, where he worked with many other artists and intellectuals including V.N. V oloshivnov (1894–1936) and P.N. M edvedev (1891–1938). From this circle emerged several T exts which arose from shared debates, touching on important and sensitive issues in the difficult and highly policed early years of the Soviet Union. Voloshinov died of an illness and Medvedev was shot, while Bakhtin, exiled for a period, often ill but extraordinarily hard-working as a teacher and writer, maintained his intellectual activities in the shadows despite a briefly positive reception for his book on Dostoevsky, published in 1929. His dissertation on Rabelais was controversial, and only much later in his life was he recognized and praised in the Soviet Union, even as some of the group's books began to appear in the West, where they have become highly influential. All these circumstances – the need to tread warily, the flow of ideas which were exchanged and discussed, the disappearance of some texts, the emergence of others in translation, belatedly and in a different climate – have unfortunately created continual confusion about the group's work, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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