My latest contribution at the group blog New APPS, first two paragraphs below
Recent reading largely devoted to philosophical aesthetic questions about the form of the novel, have also led me into some thoughts about the idea of Europe. There is of course a very familiar idea of the novel as something that evolves from epic, beginning with Homer, and tied up with the history of Europe. I alluded to this in my last post on ‘Homer and the a-Ambiguities of Europe’. Some reading of Bakthin, as in Mikhail Bakthin (1895-1975) a name well known in literary theory, not quite so much in philosophical aesthetic of a Continental European tendency, but know, and little known outside those circles and maybe some overlapping circles.
So in brief, Bakhtin was a Russian who wrote about philosophy of language and literary history during the Soviet Socialist period, with amazing originality and depth by any standards, and it is an even more extraordinary achievement given that Bakhtin lived through the height of Stalinist terror as art of decades of state enforced conformity in all spheres of thought. He is best know for Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, Rabelais and His World , and four essays (‘Epic and Novel’, ‘From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse’, ‘Forms of Time and of the Chronotype in the Novel’, ‘Discourse in the Novel’) collected in The Dialogic Imagination on the basis of a much bigger collection of essays in Russian.