Sergeiy Sandler

Information about the author(s)

Sergeiy Sandler, PhD in Philosophy, an independent scholar. David Niv 21/19, Beer Sheva 8425625, Israel. E-mail: sergeiys@ gmail.com


September 18, 2016


December 25, 2016




Literary Theory




DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2016-1-3-4-10-28


УДК 1(091) + 82.0


ББК 87.3(2)6 + 83


The role that Mikhail Bakhtin’s book on Rabelais, and the carnival theme more generally, plays in Bakhtin’s philosophy is a perennial concern in Bakhtin studies. Indeed, how would one reconcile such ideas as the carnival crowd, the unclear boundaries of the human body in grotesque imagery, or the notion of a collective ancestral body, with Bakhtin’s personalism, his emphasis on the impossibility of merging self and other into one? However, Bakhtin himself did not see these notions as incompatible. We find them not only separately, in works from different periods, but also adjacently, for example in the 2 nd edition of his book on Dostoevsky. In this paper, I attempt to reconstruct the philosophical context, in which carnival appears in Bakhtin’s work and to place carnival within the development of Bakhtin’s aesthetics. I follow the process in which Bakhtin’s aesthetics and theory of the novel developed from an early focus on the human image examined from another’s point of view, to the carnivalesque image, dominated by the perspective of the I-for-myself. At the heart of this process stands Bakhtin’s study of how the image of a free and creative individual has been forged in world literature. When we compare the aesthetic views and evaluations espoused by Bakhtin in different periods, we sometimes find sharp reversals in his position. Nevertheless, these reversals are part of a continuous process of development in what can rightly be seen as essentially the same philosophical conception that informs Bakhtin’s work in all periods.


Mikhail Bakhtin, Carnival, personalism, theory of the novel, aesthetics.

Works cited

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