Between Philosophy and Literature: Bakhtin and the Question by Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan

By Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan

This can be an unique examining of Mikhail Bakhtin within the context of Western philosophical traditions and counter-traditions. The publication portrays Bakhtin as a Modernist philosopher torn among an ideological secularity and a profound spiritual sensibility, continuously thinking about questions of ethics and impelled to show from philosophy to literature as otherwise of knowing.

Most significant reviews of Bakhtin spotlight the fragmented and it appears discontinuous nature of his paintings. Erdinast-Vulcan emphasizes, in its place, the underlying coherence of the Bakhtinian undertaking, examining its inherent ambivalences as an intersection of philosophical, literary, and mental insights into the dynamics of embodied subjectivity. Bakhtin's flip to literature and poetry, in addition to the dissatisfactions that stimulated it, align him with 3 different "exilic" Continental philosophers who have been his contemporaries: Bergson, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas. Adopting Bakhtin's personal open-ended method of the human sciences, the ebook phases a chain of philosophical encounters among those thinkers, highlighting their respective itineraries and impasses, and producing a Bakhtinian synergy of principles.

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Extra info for Between Philosophy and Literature: Bakhtin and the Question of the Subject

Example text

But also its potentialities. . [He] placed the idea on the borderline of dialogically intersecting consciousnesses. . He extended, as it were, these distantly separated ideas by means of a dotted line to the point of their dialogic intersection. In so doing, he anticipated future dialogic encounters between ideas which in his time were still dissociated. (PDP, 91) This drawing of dotted lines, as Bakhtin recognizes at a later phase of his work, is not the exclusive prerogative of the artistic project.

In Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, the maverick becomes the standard-bearer of a new cultural era, the author of a “small-scale Copernican revolution” (PDP, 49). The second chapter of this treatise, titled “The Hero and the Position of the Author with Regard to the Hero in Dostoevsky’s Art,” is diametrically opposed to the conception of the relationship presented in “Author and Hero,” and the polyphonic principle that structures Dostoyevsky’s work—“a plurality of independent and unmerged voices and consciousnesses” (PDP, 6)—is presented as a radically “new artistic model of the world” (Bakhtin’s preface to the 2nd edition, 1963, PDP, 3).

16 As in the centripetal mode of “Author and Hero,” the literary frame of reference slides into a philosophical conception—centrifugal now— of human subjectivity: like the Dostoyevskian hero, “a living human being cannot be turned into the voiceless object of some secondhand, finalizing cognitive process” (PDP, 58). “As long as a person is alive he lives by the fact that he is not yet finalized, that he has not yet uttered his ultimate word” (59). The foundational principle of human subjectivity is now perceived as a “non-coincidence” of the subject— fictional/literary or historical/real—with itself, or rather, with any “secondhand,” “finalizing” definition of itself: A man never coincides with himself.

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