By Simon Dentith
In Bakhtinian Thought, Simon Dentith offers a lucid and approachable creation to the paintings of Bakhtin and his circle, helpfully taking the reader during the many components in their notion. Dentith shows the numerous issues of competition, hassle and value. The publication not just attracts jointly the usually disparately gathered writing of Bakhtin, but in addition that of Voloshinov and Medvedev, language theorists of commensurable value as well.
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Additional resources for Bakhtinian Thought: An Introductory Reader (Critical Readers in Theory and Practice)
It is immediately clear that this distinction is cognate with that between theme and meaning in Volshinov’s book, in that there is the same 32 VOLOSHINOV AND BAKHTIN ON LANGUAGE fundamental differentiation between language in its repeatable aspect (the topic for linguistics), and the particular linguistic utterance which carries and enacts relationships between actual people. But the choice of term for the study of language in its dialogic actuality—‘metalinguistics’—implies an interesting difference from Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, indeed an ambivalence that marks not only the relations between Bakhtin and Voloshinov but Bakhtin’s writing considered on their own.
At all events, we must now consider the substantial accounts of language and literature that Voloshinov and Bakhtin provide. 1 Voloshinov and Bakhtin on language The major consideration of language produced by a member of the Bakhtin circle is to be found in Voloshinov’s Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, published in 1929. This will form the main topic of this chapter, together with Bakhtin’s own accounts of language at various moments in his writing. What Voloshinov and Bakhtin have to say about language, and the study of language, is remarkable, not only because what they wrote in the late 1920s appears to anticipate some of the directions of contemporary thought, but more importantly because it suggests some exciting and fruitful ways of thinking about language and the manner in which we act and interact with each other through language.
This is a suggestive but also a reductive account of Freud. It should be stressed that the book is a schematic and avowedly popular account of the topic, a large part of which is made up of straightforward exposition of the various phases of Freud’s thought. Its suggestiveness lies in its insistence on the verbal content of both the ‘official’ and the ‘unofficial’ conscious—a suggestion which, in the best spirit of the Bakhtin circle, sees in the operation of ‘inner speech’ the inextricably social coming-to-consciousness of the historical subject.