INDIVIDUALITY AND POLYPHONY (BAKHTIN'S IDEA OF THE AUTHOR)
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The article concerns itself with the conception of the author developed in early 20th-century philosophy of oral culture in Eastern and Central Europe. Opposed both to the then dominant transcendental approaches with its insistence on the separation of the textual subject from the empirical author as well as to the enduringly popular idea of 'la mort de l'auteur', which acknowledges at best a 'weak' or 'dispersed' authorial presence in the work, this idea found its most cogent expression in the works of Mikhail Bakhtin. The article is an attempt at reconstructing his idea of the author and authorship as it took shape in the context of Russian social and philosophical thought, the changing political situation, and Bakhtin's own life. The reconstruction is based both on his explicit formulations as well as the assumptions and implications inscribed into his whole critical output (the latest, corrected editions of his works have been found of considerable value in this respect). With this updated reading of Bakhtin's texts it is possible not only to reassess his position on some points of literary theory but also to gain a whole range of additional insights.
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