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


Zhernokleyev D.A.

Denis A. Zhernokleyev, DSc in Philosophy, Senior Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, 37235, USA. E-mail:


The article analyzes a lesser-known text of Mikhail Bakhtin’s “On Flaubert”. While this inquiry pays particular attention to the significance of Bakhtin’s carnivalesque reading of Rabelais for his reading of Flaubert, it also treats the fragment in the broader context of Bakhtin’s philosophy. The article argues that Bakhtin’s approach to Flaubert is apophatic in nature. For Bakhtin, The Temptation of Saint Anthony is the most important text of Flaubert, and through its ascetic aesthetic, he interprets all other novels of Flaubert. The significance of animals in Flaubert emerges as an important theme for Bakhtin, who believes the image of the beast constitutes the unconscious center of Flaubert’s thought. The topic of the beast leads Bakhtin to the theme of pity, which for him is fundamentally different from the sentimentalized and thus inevitably self-centered compassion.


Bakhtin; Flaubert; Rabelais; Dostoevsky; carnival; modernity; apophasis; image; literature; philosophy; religion.





For citation

Zhernokleyev, D.A. “Bakhtin on Flaubert: The Poetics of the ‘All-negating Image’”. Literaturovedcheskii zhurnal, no. 4(54), 2021, pp. 166–178. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2021.54.10

DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2021.54.10


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