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Mikhail Bakhtin’s Clique: The Nevel Group

This collection of friends and like-minded individuals all meet in the hardscrabble town of Nevel. They're just a bunch of crazy dreamers, thinking they could change the world with good writing. They're also do-gooders, doing their part for social justice for the people of Nevel (which, um, is kind of a dump). They even give free lectures—you know, enlightening those poor masses and all.

Josif Gurvich

Galvanizer

This guy is a talented artist and publisher of a cultural periodical. But you know what sets him apart? He's a real softie in an era of real, well, hardies. He's way more into politics than Bakhtin (he got into a real lather about the Bolshevik victory), and he's one of those rare idealists who believes artists are going to change the world.

Lev Vasilievich Pumpianskii

"Pumpy" marches to the beat of his own drum, which Bakhtin loves. Get this: he's Orthodox Christian and a Communist. Huh? This guy actually has his own groupies, but he's always committed to the Nevel group.

F.F. Zelinsky

Zelinsky is the face of the Nevel Group, if only because the guy looks so darn good in a hat. Don't let his 13 honorary doctorates fool you—the guy is as smart as someone who has 113. He always brings a piece of reading to get the meeting started. Never in the same language, either, since he speaks a ga-gillion languages, like Polish, Russian, German, and Greek.

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