M. M. Bakhtin and the Russian Symbolists
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Abstract: This article deals with the influence that the Russian symbolists, including Andrey Bely, had on M. M. Bakhtin. His personality formed when the symbolist period of Russian culture was coming to an end. Still, Bakhtin’s generation can be called late post-symbolist. Symbolists made meaningful contributions to the endlessly important cultural field. The work “The Author and The Protagonist in Aesthetic Work” mentions a number of Russian symbolists. To Bakhtin, their aesthetic views provide important and meaningful context. The very idea of seeing literary works through the prism of aesthetics, instead of as a reflection of reality, stems from the French symbolists, and through them it came to Russian symbolists. It is certain that the Russian symbolists, especially those from the second generation, had a specific influence on the scholar. For Russian symbolists, the aesthetic component took precedence over objective reality. In the works of Bakhtin, it will transform into the principle of aesthetic reality. Regarding the topic of the meaning of art, Bely anticipated the connection between space, time and aesthetics proclaimed by Bakhtin. Bakhtin puts the person in the center of the entire aesthetic system. This idea, taken mostly from the French and Russian symbolists (Andrey Bely), predetermined most of the principles in “The Author and The Protagonist in Aesthetic Work”. This is evident from the keywords of the title, “aesthetic work”. Bely also anticipated Bakhtin’s concept of word and language and the ideas of his work “The Word in Life and the Word in Poetry”. Besides, in his research Bakhtin uses numerous words from the symbolists’ vocabulary: “chaos”, “visage”, “guise”, “mask”. The themes of the “veil”, “removing of the veil” are also closely tied to Bely and the nature of symbolism. This and other connections in Bakhtin and Bely’s work serve to corroborate the influence that Russian symbolists had on the scholar.
Key words: Russian symbolism; Russian symbolists; literary creative activity; aesthetic reality; aesthetic views; literary aesthetics
Kling, O. A. (2020). M. M. Bakhtin and the Russian Symbolists. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №4. P. 9–17. DOI 10.26170/FK20-04-01.