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Writing Medieval History: An Interview With Aron Gurevich

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Chapter Summary

The author became intrigued by Gurevich's position toward Bakhtin and presented a paper at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds,UK in July 2002. Aron Iakovlevich belonged to the World War II generation of scholars. He was understandably wary after a long period of hardship, being denied an academic pension until Vladimir Putin came to power, never having been paid any royalties for book published by him, and being severely handicapped by loss of sight. Gurevich appears to be the first to understood the importance of Bakhtin's concept of polyphony as applied to medieval historiography. In Categories of Medieval Culture, he stresses the utility of Bakhtin's theory in historical studies. Gurevich emphasizes the impact of Christianity as the primary cause in the formation of the medieval Weltanschauung, determining its concepts of time, space, order, monetary relationships, nature and social organization. He also challenged Bakhtin's ideas on popular medieval culture.

Keywords: Aron Gurevich; Bakhtin; concept of polyphony; international medieval congress



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