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Rani Bahtin

Radunović, Dušan



The Early Work of Mikhail Bakhtin engages with the formative intellectual years of the Russian philosopher, literary and cultural critic Mikhail Bakhtin. The volume, which is divided into six chapters, opens with the discussion of Bakhtin’s programmatic essay “Art and Answerability” (1919), and concludes with the account of the Russian critic’s monograph Problems of Dostoevsky’s Creative Work (1929). In addition to introducing the academic public with the hitherto insufficiently elucidated corpus of Bakhtin’s ideas, this monograph also addresses the issue of intellectual (dis)continuity of Bakhtin’s early legacy. By viewing Bakhtin’s early intellectual trajectory neither as a linear continuum, nor as a radical discontinuity, The Young Bakhtin positions itself beyond either of the dominant trends in modern Bakhtin studies. Recoiling from the ways of traditional Geistesgeschichte, the monograph is not pursuing “influences, traditions, and continuities”: rather, it sets itself a task of identifying and evaluating epistemological models in Bakhtin’s early thought. In this manner, Radunović’s monograph reconstructs the developmental logic of Bakhtin’s thought from its early ethical-cum-aesthetic paradigm towards the dialogic cognitive model, and arrives at the conclusion that the scientific growth in Bakhtin’s early creative period occurred through the succession of re-appropriation of his earliest philosophical ideas, and innovation, that is, adoption of new conceptual solutions. Following several attempts to modify his early ethical-aesthetic model in early 1920s, Bakhtin acquires the conceptual model of sociological linguistics in the late 1920-ih, thereby reinventing, but not fully discarding, his initial theoretical framework. Upon identifying this interplay of re-appropriation and innovation, which enabled for the dialogic paradigm to emerge, the monograph concludes that the qualitative transformation of Bakhtin’s thought did not take place in the form of a big bang (as a traditional, Kuhnian model of scientific discovery would stipulate), but rather, suggests that the Russian thinker’s cognitive break took shape through the series of small-scale modifications. Consequently, the present monograph argues that the paradigmatic change that occurred in the late 1920s with the Bakhtin’s acquisition of the organon of sociological linguistics cannot be thought of or assessed in terms of a linear logic of scientific progress. To that end, The Early Work of Mikhail Bakhtin relates the dynamic of Bakhtin’s intellectual growth in the 1920s to Wittgenstein’s theory of family resemblances, according to which the kinship between complex mental phenomena may be established through the series of distantly related qualities, rather than through one, essentialist feature.

Book Type Authored Book
Publication Date 2012
Deposit Date Oct 15, 2012
Series Title Književne nauke
Edition Pojmovnik
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Nov 30, 2011