chapter
58 Pages

Form and Image

One of the crucial problems in Bakhtin studies is the question of the unity of the thinker's work. Indeed, looked at together his writings give the impression of being a heterogeneous collection of works with no obvious connection between them. The early, purely philosophical works stand alongside books of literary scholarship; from studying the world of a Russian Christian writer Bakhtin moves to an apologetic investigation of the low culture of the Western Renaissance; Marxism supplants an orientation towards NeoKantianism; and so on. Despite this lack of homogeneity in terms of their content and the world-views which they reflect, all Bakhtin's works are undoubtedly connected by the unity of his creative personality, a unity which any reader will sense intuitively. This self-evident fact needs to be substantiated: a method must be found, and a language developed, which will allow all Bakhtin's works to be described as products of the same creative consciousness.