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Mikhail Bakhtin

Mikhail Bakhtin

Home Literary Critics Mikhail Bakhtin Disputes The Disputed Texts Controversy

Mikhail Bakhtin’s Dispute: The Disputed Texts Controversy

Bakhtin really started ruffling some feathers after he died. See, because he was so tight with his author-friends—helping out, influencing, sharing thesis statements—some confusion arose over who penned what. Moral of the story: follow the honor code.

Examples? Of course.

Bakhtin's friends Volosinov and Medvedev wrote a few pieces that were later credited to Bakhtin. In particular, these three soon-to-be-feature-films: The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship, Freudianism: A Critical Sketch, and Marxism and Philosophy of Language. Some say Bakhtin wrote all three; others say he was just an intellectual muse of sorts. Still other theories say that because the guy wasn't exactly tight with the Soviet Government (duh—he was exiled), he had to publish his work under a different name.

Bakhtin's biographers jumped on this controversy like white on rice, but even they didn't have final word on the subject. Yet more scholars (yep, they're endless) came in and said "Hey—Bakhtin didn't write that!" Care to weigh in?

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