This seminar will focus on major works by the Russian philosopher, philologist and literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975), including his early philosophical work Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity, his essays on Speech genres and the Bildungsroman, as well as his books Rabelais and His World and Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. We will also read contemporary scholarly studies devoted to Bakhtin and his circle (Clark&Holquist, Morson&Emerson, Tihanov etc.) In the last two weeks of the seminar we will turn to Yurii Lotman, examining his works on semiotics of culture as an original approach to literary theory and semiotics as well as a response to Bakhtin.
The course is open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students. All texts are in English. Discussion and final papers are in English. There are no prerequisites for this course.