Russian Language Journal


Bakhtin Circle, Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin, Russian theorism


Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin (1895–1975) emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century as one of the most important theorists of literature, language, and cultural theory in the West. The discovery of the thinker in the nearly immediate wake of his death dovetailed with late twentieth-century critiques of language, authorial authority, and questions around the ethics of reading and media consumption. Bakhtin’s biography fueled his popularity: his was a life largely lived on the margins of an oppressive regime, and he wrote prolifically while surviving famine, siege, exile, health problems, and an almost complete absence of professional recognition save for a small circle of disciples at the end of his life.