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If you cite the source again, use the first author's last name with "et al. For all in-text citations, use the first author's name followed by et al. Cite the full name of the group or organization. Moreover, the CMA warned that such assumptions may lead to the return of childhood illnesses like the measles , pp. First, check if there is a group or organization responsible for the content.

Cite in-text as a personal communication; include initials and last name of the person s and the full date. McGill, personal communication, October 12, Peters, personal communication, September 12, If you want to use a source quoted, paraphrased, or summarized in a source, cite or refer to original source s IN-TEXT ONLY and cite the actual source you are using both in-text and in the reference list.

In the References list at the end of your assignment, only cite the source by Smith. Perhaps because Bakhtin, like Dostoevsky, was subject to censorship and had to write indirectly, as when he published under the names of his friends and also according to Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist in their biography , in formally aligning his theories to a certain extent with Soviet Marxism, he has more faith in the perceptibility of indirect intentions than critics in the West who deal with more Although this is a semantic concept which cannot be linguistically explained, Bakhtin does feel that Dostoevsky controls the text and that his intentions are evident throughout the work.

Bakhtin also seems to feel that double-voiced, or indirect polemic, may be more effective than monologic or direct polemic. For example, Dostoevsky leaves it to the reader to intuit that the Underground Man's greatest failure is his inability to relate to other people - that he is "monologic" and not "dialogic" in his relationships with others. The idea of accepting the other as a "thou" is central to both Dostoevsky and Bakhtin. The Notes are incomplete, and this incompleteness of the self, according to Bakhtin, "is the necessary condition of its freedom.

The character in Dostoevsky becomes a speaking subject, for Bakhtin, because for the first time the character is regarded, in Buber's terms, as a "Thou" and not an "It. Dostoevsky allows his characters to speak for themselves because of his profound respect for the other in his otherness; he presents a speaking subject because only a speaking subject, in all its unfinalizability, is a true "other.

To present a character is to present a stasis, while a personality is open-ended. This Bakhtinian view of personality has less in common with materialistic than with transcendental views of the ego, such as that of Karl Jaspers, in which "the individual is seen as this unique existent, the being who freely transcends what he already is and creates himself, as it were, through the exercise of his freedom.

Man falsely imagines that concepts exist prior to language, that we create and control language, and that therefore some reality or "transcendental signified" exists outside of and prior to language, which is the basic fallacy of Western metaphysics. However, perhaps even the conception of the "I" as constituted by lan- For Bakhtin, the self "never coincides with itself" because it is always in the process of becoming, because the final word has not yet been spoken, nor will it be spoken by man.

To Bakhtin, the "I" is an act of grace, a gift from the other, in much the same way that this is true for Buber. Dialogue and interaction are necessary for the "I" to even exist, both for Dostoevsky and for Bakhtin. For example, Caryl Emerson has translated this passage from Bakhtin's Estetika Slovesnogo Tvorchestva : No nirvana is possible for a single consciousness. A single consciousness is a contradiction in terms I am conscious of myself and become myself only while revealing myself for another, through another, and with the help of another Separation, dissociation, and enclosure within the self is the main reason for loss of one's self.

Dostoevsky Studies :: Bakhtin, Dostoevsky, and the Status of the "I"

Not that which takes place within, but that which takes place on the boundary between one's own and someone else's consciousness, on the threshold Thus does Dostoevsky confront all decadent and idealistic individualistic culture, the culture of essential and inescapable solitude, the illusory nature of solitude. The very being of man both external and internal is the deepest communion.

To be means to communicate To be means to be for another, and through the other, for oneself. We can compare this to Dostoevsky: "After Christ's appearance, it became clear that the highest development of personality must attain to that point where man annihilates his own "I", surrenders it completely to all and everyone without division or reserve When man has not fulfilled the law of striving toward the ideal, i. While there are many reasons for aligning Bakhtin with modern critical theory, it is also possible to see in him a deep spiritual communion with the author he spent much of his life studying.

Perhaps he is not stepping outside the Judeo-Christian tradition but taking it back to its roots in the communal vision of the New Testament.


While Kristeva claims, for example, that carnival is "anti-Christian and anti-rationalist" 26 , Bakhtin himself finds carnival elements in Christianity, with dialogism responsible for its birth and a characteristic of its basic texts. The Underground Man speaks "the word with a loophole" which "is the retention for oneself of the possibility for altering the ultimate, final meaning of one's own words" 28 because the refuses to become a character, an "it".

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Every one of his positions can be judged, and is judged, by the author just as in any ironic or satiric work; however, the total personality is not subjectable to any definitive judgment by the author. The Being who "can be neither objectified nor reduced to the conclusion of a demonstration or proof" 29 is, according to Jaspers, a transcendent being, not a "product" of language, ideology, unconscious forces, or social and economic conditions, but a "process" which transcends those forces. Thus to link Bakhtin solely to the atheistic and anti-metaphysical movements of semiotics and deconstruction, or to dismiss him as antithetical to Dostoevsky's high moral seriousness, it to ignore Bakhtin's deep spirituality.

Perhaps Bakhtin 's celebration of the "I" in communion with others can help to bridge the gap between the traditional and Bakhtinian interpretations of Dostoevsky, and show that dialogism 'and the carnivalesgue are not incompatible with moral purpose.


We can remember the existential maxim that not to take a position is to take a position. Not to judge monologically is to make a serious statement about the worth and dignity of the individual and to celebrate the birth, not the death, of the "I", which is - or can be - the result of its spiritual communion with others. Leon S. Roudiez, trans. Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology , trans.

Comments (9)

Stephen Bann and John E. Bowlt Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, , p. Roudiez, introduction to Desire in Language , p. Josue V. Kristeva, "Ruin", p. Volume 8, Thaden, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Mikhail Bakhtin has been given a place in the canon of modern literary theory because, according to Julia Kristeva, he began the deconstruction of character and mimesis, thereby invalidating Russian Formalism's assumptions of representation and transcendence and becoming a precursor of poststructuralism.

The author no longer has complete control over the work, as the result of unconscious forces and the "slipperiness" of language. Since all we have within the text is the Underground Man's vision, since we have no monological authorial voice to explain, interpret, and judge the character, how are we to arrive at a "theme" for the work outside of the main character's thesis? Dostoevsky also controls his discourse, according to Bakhtin, through the technique of double-voiced discourse, whereby the author uses another's speech in another's language to express authorial intentions - this is part of Bakhtin's basic tenet that discourse is always the product of a personality, a speaking subject, in a context.

Perhaps because Bakhtin, like Dostoevsky, was subject to censorship and had to write indirectly, as when he published under the names of his friends and also according to Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist in their biography , in formally aligning his theories to a certain extent with Soviet Marxism, he has more faith in the perceptibility of indirect intentions than critics in the West who deal with more monologic works. However, perhaps even the conception of the "I" as constituted by lan- guage, which Bakhtin at least partially accepts as does Dostoevsky, in Notes from Underground , does not have to take us outside the Judeo-Christian tradition and Western metaphysics.

Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World , trans. Wayne C. Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination , ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics , p. Dialogic Imagination , p. Milton Ehre, "Review of M. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics , p. Michael A. Minihan Princeton: Princeton University Press, , p.