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Some Aspects Of Aron Gurevich's Dialogue With Mikhail Bakhtin On Medieval Popular Culture

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes some of the essential tendencies in Gurevich's treatment of Bakhtin's theory, which the historian characterized as a "charming myth". Although Gurevich hardly ever mentioned it, his development of Bakhtin's idea of the chronotope or chronotopos was influenced by anthropological scholarship, particularly by Eliade's original ideas on sacred and profane time. The key to understanding Gurevich's position lies in the scholar's attitude toward the collective. In Rabelais and his World, Bakhtin's stance vis-a-vis the collective is unambiguously positive. He ties freedom to the collective popular festival where "life is subject only to its laws, that is, the laws of its own freedom". In contrast, Gurevich deeply distrusts this kind of freedom, as well as the benefits of collective consciousness in general.

Keywords: anthropological scholarship; Aron Gurevich; Eliade; Mikhail Bakhtin



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