Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The Journal of Literary History and Theory
Peer-reviewed Academic Journal


Makhlin Vitalii L.


Acknowledgements. The work was financially supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 22–28–00262 “M.M. Bakhtin’s Philosophical Program in the Context of Philosophy of the 20 th Century”). Absract. The article is an attempt to analyze the fact that Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian philosopher and scholar, did not, and still has no, “scientific biography” in the common sense of the term. Bakhtin actually fell out of his own biography “beginning with the October Revolution”, as he put it himself, retrospectively, in connection to his pre-revolutionary cultural generation. Hence, afateful rupture between his legacy, on one hand, and the reception history of his work, on the other, as well as an important question of the socalled Bakhtin studies: “Where did Bakhtin – eventful put to question 40, 50 or 80 years before. Bakhtin’s case seems to be instructive, primarily, from the point of view of the biography of any creative author. For, in any case, we come to understand and evaluate the work of a philosopher, a scholar or an artist, primarily, against the background of his or her biography including historical, cultural, social, and other contexts of the author’s life. Thus, if we come to know the ontologically-historical rupture between Bakhtin’s historicity and our own, we have to work out a method of reconstructing and reevaluating Bakhtin’s initial philosophical program and the development of that program during the Soviet epoch. What seems to be at stake, in this perspective, is a reconstruction of Bakhtin’s intellectual biography as his response to, at least, three major intellectual revolutions or challenges in the European and Russian culture in the first decades of the 20 th century. These are: (1) an all-compassing historical break in the social and religious consciousness of the modern times; (2) the so-called New Thinking in the philosophy during and after the First World War; (3) a radical turn in the history of literature and the humanities.


biography; scientific-philosophical program; the ontologically-eventful rupture; post-modernity; the New Thinking; intellectual revolutions in philosophy and in the humanities.

For citation

Makhlin, V.L. “The Thinker Without a Biography, or Why Bakhtin Is so Difficult?”. Literaturovedcheskii zhurnal, no. 1(59), 2023, pp. 9–21. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2023.59.01

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