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Art and Answerability

Art and Answerability

M. M. Bakhtin
Michael Holquist
Vadim Liapunov
Translation and Notes by Vadim Liapunov
Supplement translated by Kenneth Brostrom
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  • Book Info
    Art and Answerability
    Book Description:

    Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) is one of the preeminent figures in twentieth-century philosophical thought. Art and Answerability contains three of his early essays from the years following the Russian Revolution, when Bakhtin and other intellectuals eagerly participated in the debates, lectures, demonstrations, and manifesto writing of the period. Because they predate works that have already been translated, these essays-"Art and Answerability," "Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity," and "The Problem of Content, Material, and Form in Verbal Art"-are essential to a comprehensive understanding of Bakhtin's later works. A superb introduction by Michael Holquist sets out the major themes and concerns of the three essays and identifies their place in the canon of Bakhtin's work and in intellectual history. The introduction, together with Vadim Liapunov's scholarly gloss, makes these essays accessible to students as well as scholars.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79213-5
    Subjects: Philosophy, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-lii)
    Michael Holquist

    There is a story to the effect that Queen Victoria was so delighted by Alice in Wonderland that she left a standing order for the author’s next book. The following year (1866) she was not at all amused when she received a formidably technical treatise on logic called Condensation of Determinants by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, which was, of course, Lewis Carroll’s real name.¹ Anglophone readers of Bakhtin may experience something like Queen Victoria’s chagrin when they start working their way through the works in this third volume of Bakhtin translations to appear in the University of Texas Press Slavic Series.²...

  4. Art and Answerability (1919)
    (pp. 1-3)

    A whole is called “mechanical” when its constituent elements are united only in space and time by some external connection and are not imbued with the internal unity of meaning. The parts of such a whole are contiguous and touch each other, but in themselves they remain alien to each other.

    The three domains of human culture—science, art, and life—gain unity only in the individual person¹ who integrates them into his own unity. This union, however, may become mechanical, external. And, unfortunately, that is exactly what most often happens. The artist and the human being are naively, most...

  5. Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity (ca. 1920–1923)
    (pp. 4-256)

    For a proper understanding of the author’s architectonically stable and dynamically living relationship to the hero,¹ we must take into account both the essentially necessary² foundation of that relationship and the diverse individual characteristics that it assumes in particular authors and in particular works. In the present inquiry, we shall limit ourselves to an examination of the essentially necessary foundation of the author-hero relationship. Beyond that, we shall only outline some of the modes and types of its individuation and, finally, we shall verify our conclusions by an analysis of this relationship in works by Dostoevsky, Pushkin, and others.³


  6. SUPPLEMENT: The Problem of Content, Material, and Form in Verbal Art (1924)
    (pp. 257-326)

    The present study attempts a methodological analysis of the fundamental concepts¹ and problems of poetics² on the basis of general systematic aesthetics.

    The starting point for our study was provided by certain Russian works on poetics; their basic propositions undergo critical examination in our opening chapters. However, here we shall not consider and assess trends and particular works considered as a whole and in their historical determinateness. Our principal interest is restricted to the purely systematic value of their basic concepts and propositions. Surveys of works on poetics of a historical or informational nature are not considered in our investigation,...

  7. Index
    (pp. 327-332)