Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Bergsonism in Russia: The case of Bakhtin

  • 108 Accesses

  • 1 Citations

Abstract

“Bergsonism in Russia: The Case of Bakhtin” examines an important question of Russian intellectual history and Bakhtin studies, namely Bergson's impact on Bakhtin, and traces similarities and differences between the two thinkers' views. Bergson's influence on the cultural and intellectual climate in Europe was profound. For a new generation of thinkers, he was a symbol of opposition to traditional philosophy, determinism, and mechanistic science. All major works by Bergson were translated into Russian by 1914 and widely read and discussed in intellectual and artistic circles. The Formalists, Osip Mandelstam, Nikolai Gumilev, Alexandr Voronskii, to name but a few Russian intellectuals, were interested in his philosophy, and so was Mikhail Bakhtin.

Although Bergson's influence on Bakhtin has been briefly mentioned in Michael Holquist's works on Bakhtin, no substantial research has appeared on this subject. This study establishes Bergson as a formative source of Bakhtin's thinking and provides a comparative analysis of their patterns of thought. Specifically, it discusses Bakhtin's and Bergson's theories of the self, their views on time and space, and their approaches to ethics. This paper not only traces Bakhtin's and Bergson's patterns of thought and Bakhtin's polemics against Bergson, it also places Bakhtin within a wider group of twentieth-century thinkers who attempted to create new approaches to knowledge.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Works Cited

  1. Bakhtin M. M. “Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity,” Art and Answerability. Ed. Michael Holquist and Vadim Liapunov. Trans. Vadim Liapunov and Kenneth Brostrom. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1990.

  2. Bakhtin M. M. “The Bildungsroman and Its Significance in the History of Realism,” Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Ed. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Trans. Vern W. McGee. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1987.

  3. Bakhtin M. M. “Epic and Novel,” The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin. Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: Univ. Texas Press, 1981.

  4. Bakhtin M. M. “K filosofii postupka” [“Toward A Philosophy of the Act”]. Filosofiia i sotsiologiia nauki i tekhniki. Moscow: Nauka, 1986.

  5. Bakhtin M. M. “Forms of Time and Chronotope in the Novel,” The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin. Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1981.

  6. Bakhtin M. M. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. Ed. and trans. Caryl Emerson. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1985.

  7. Bakhtin, M. M. “Towards a Reworking of the Dostoevsky Book,” Problems of Dostoevksy's Poetics.

  8. Bakhtin M. M. and Medvedev P. M. The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship: A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics. Trans. Albert J. Wehrle. Cambridage, Massachusetts: Harvard Univ. Press, 1985.

  9. Bergson Henri. Creative Evolution. Trans. Arthur Mitchell. New York: Modern Library, 1944.

  10. Bergson Henri. Matter and Memory. Trans. M. M. Paul and W. S. Palmer. New York: Zone Books, 1991.

  11. Bergson Henri. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. Trans. F. L. Pogson. New York: Harper and Row, 1960.

  12. Curtis James M. “Bergson and Russian Formalism,” Comparative Literature 37, n. 2 (Spring, 1976): 109–21.

  13. Grogin R. C. The Bergsonian Controversy in France: 1900–1917. Calgary: Univ. of Calgary Press, 1988.

  14. Holquist Michael. Dialogism: Bakhtin and his World. London: Routledge, 1990.

  15. Holquist Michael. “Introduction: The Architectonics of Answerability,” Art and Answerability: Early Philosophical Essays by M. M. Bakhtin. Ed. Michael Holquist and Vadim Liapunov. Trans. Vadim Liapunov and Kenneth Brostrom. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1990.

  16. Holquist Michael and Clark Katherina. Mikhail Bakhtin. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1984.

  17. Kern Stephen. The Culture of Time and Space: 1880–1918. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1983.

  18. Kolakowsky Leszek, Bergson. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1985.

  19. Losskii N. O. Intuitivnaia filosofiia Bergsona [The Intuitive Philosophy of Bergson]. Petersburg: Uchitel', 1922.

  20. Morson Gary Saul and Emerson Caryl. Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics. Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1990.

  21. Pilkington A. E. Bergson and His Influence: A Reassessment. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1976.

  22. Shklovskii Viktor. Khod konia [The Knight's Move]. Berlin: Gelikon, 1923.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rudova, L. Bergsonism in Russia: The case of Bakhtin. Neophilologus 80, 175–188 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00212098

Download citation

Keywords

  • Comparative Analysis
  • Comparative Literature
  • Historical Linguistic
  • Substantial Research
  • Traditional Philosophy