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[Xmca-l] Re: Voloshinov or Bakhtin? Stylometric analysis


Thanks for posting the piece by Lucien Seve; it's the most interesting
thing I've read all morning (true, it's before breakfast here in France,
but I've been up since five).

In general, I agree completely with his evaluation of the Bronckhart and
Bota book (as Mike says, I reviewed it favorably for MCA). I also think his
response to Serge Zenkine is correct. Above all, I think he is right to
point to the key document in the affair: it is indeed "Towards a Philosophy
of the Act", which everyone agrees is the work of Bakhtin, which shows that
the books in question cannot have had a single author.

But I think that Seve's account errs in three places worth noting:

a) I think he greatly exaggerates the extent to which Christianity and
Bolshevism were ideologically incompatible: there was a whole group devoted
to their reconciliation ("Rebirth" or "Vokresheniye"), which Stalinism had
not yet stamped out. It is interesting that Bakhtin, a professional
survivor, was NOT a member of this group.

b) Seve considers "Mind in Society" responsible for what he calls an
"Anglo-American distortion" of Vygotsky's work. Of course, any
popularization is a "distortion"; we all know that Bowdler distorted
Shakespeare by rewriting him for children. But as Swinburne says, no man
ever did Shakespeare better service than the meddling priest who made it
possible to place a "distortion" of his work in the hands of imaginative
children. It is precisely through such "distortions" that thinkers are
saved from limbo and granted eternal cultural-historical life.

c) Seve seems a little too confident that Leontiev's version of Vygotsky is
the one correct version! See Andy Blunden's excellent garbage disposal of
Leontiev's critique of "The Problem of the Environment".

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

On 3 February 2015 at 22:01, Juan Duarte <juanma.duarte@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello Tom,
> there has been recently edited this book,  Bronckart, C. Bota, *Bakhtine
> démasqué – Histoire d’un menteur, d’une escroquerie et d’un délire
> collectif*, Droz, Ginebra, 2011, where the authors state (and seem to
> probe) that there has been an ideological political operation in presenting
> two different authors (Voloshinov and Bakhtin), as the same (Bakhtin). They
> say that, in doing so, all the richness of the 20s marxism is obliterated
> and shadowed by the controversial figure of Bakhtine.
> I leave here an interesting article about the cuestion, by french
> philosopher Lucien Seve. I have just in french and spanish.
> http://marxismocritico.com/2013/12/30/del-caso-bajtin-al-caso-vigotsky/
> http://www.contretemps.eu/interventions/laffaire-bakhtine-cas-vygotski-marx-penseur-lindividualit%C3%A9-humaine
> Best,
> Juan Duarte
> 2015-02-03 9:36 GMT-03:00 Tom Martin <Tom.Martin@education.ox.ac.uk>:
> > Hello,
> >
> > Reading the "Social memory in Soviet thought" chapter in Harry Daniels'
> > Introduction to Vygotsky, I was surprised to learn that there is an
> > authorship debate around the work of the post-Vygotsky writer Voloshinov
> > (whom, to be honest, I had never heard of before today). Apparently much
> of
> > his work was later attributed to Bakhtin.
> >
> > This caught my interest because I have been playing around with the Stylo
> > suite for R, which does Stylometric analysis. Stylo is being used in a
> > number of interesting projects to make claims about authorship. If anyone
> > sees this Voloshinov/Bakhtin question as being valid and worth pursuing,
> I
> > would be happy to spend an evening plugging the texts into R to see what
> > comes out. The only hurdle for me would be getting digital versions of
> the
> > texts in Russian - unfortunately that is beyond my linguistic and Google
> > skills.
> >
> > Best,
> > Tom
> > Doctoral candidate, Oxford University
> >
> --
> Juan